Take the leap for a new normal
By George F. Greene
The time we are going through has a name: liminal space, from the Latin meaning threshold. It is that space between what was and what will be. It is a time to act —and we certainly have the time. Will you help change voter consciousness as we transition to a new normal?
Not sure if you noticed, but besides “Wash your hands” and “Are you wearing pants?”, the most enduring phrase to come out of the CoVid 19 crisis is “We’re all in this together” —which, serendipitously, just happens to be the core of our Liberal worldview.
Our worldview is based in empathy and community. We care about one another. We all have value. We are interdependent; every person and every business relies on our public investments in protection and empowerment. The pandemic has revealed these things in stark detail.
Yet our worldview is not shared. A significant chunk of American voters, beguiled by media and dark money propaganda, have a different worldview whose core value has become “Every man for himself”. So myopic and anti-democratic is this worldview that even prominent Republicans have turned away from what the GOP has become.
Ideas are physical. Living brain cells exquisitely shepherd our conscious, and unconscious thoughts across interconnected nodes of ideas. Students of cognitive science know that once a network of ideas is burned into the brain, that network will resist change.
Yet there are rare times when a significant disruption allows a brain to more easily try on and accept new ideas.
The time we are going through is transformative and it has a name: liminal space, from the Latin meaning threshold. It is that space between what was and what will be —and what will be will be very different. Calamities upend not only our physical world but our psychological world. Minds become more open to new ways of looking at things as the world changes significantly. As activists, it’s our job to pull voters toward our way of looking at the world; toward a new normal, the core value of which is now on everyone’s lips.
“The question is not what you look at, but what you see. It is only necessary to behold the least fact or phenomenon, however familiar, from a point a hair’s breadth aside from our habitual path or routine, to be overcome, enchanted by its beauty and significance.”
― Henry David Thoreau
Framing’s power is in unlocking new perspectives. It’s not just finding the right words; it’s looking within ourselves to learn, practice and internalize a more effective messaging strategy. A strategy that not only explains in new ways, but that brings the moral values of our worldview front and center on every issue. One that avoids common and often damaging mistakes. One that spends most of our time talking about the way we see the world rather than wasting time responding to conservative absurdities by raging and flinging facts.
Everything we do as parties, advocacy groups and as individuals is ultimately about influencing others. The basic concepts of framing and messaging are not hard to understand, however framing is a skill that benefits from study and practice. Sitting at home in our PJs, we now have the time to do it.
Environmentalists have really jumped on this opportunity. The proof of a better way of life is literally in front of everyone’s eyes; the air is fresh, water is cleaner and birds can be heard singing where noise had drowned them out; a living preview of what life might be like in a sustainable world.
What is changing now for your issues? What can you illuminate in this new world that opens the door for voters to consider a new point of view? What will you do today to learn what you need to learn about effective communication —and unlearn what doesn’t work? What will you do to build a culture of effective communication in your circle of activists, in your party, in your campaign?
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” ~Alice Morse Earle
More on this liminal moment:
The Coronavirus Is Rewriting Our Imaginations By Sci Fi writer Kim Stanley Robinson