George Lakoff on The Obama Code
Another great post on FiveThirtyEight.com, this time by guest columnist George Lakoff, a professor of linguistics and cognitive science at UC-Berkeley.
Lakoff talks about several issues closely related to this blog that Obama is expected to discuss during tonight's address:
- Values over Programs -- the need to separate what government programs accomplish over the programs themselves
- Empathy-based policy -- governing by acting in everyone's best interests, not just your own (or your Party's)
- Biconceptualism -- finding common ground with traditional opponents and working together on those shared values
- Protection and empowerment -- does government "work" to keep us safe and provide opportunity for all
- Morality and Economics -- i.e. budgets are "moral documents"
- Systemic Causation and Systemic Risk -- consequences, and risk, are not always directly related to actions, but instead are tied to a complex system, be that economic or environmental
- Contested Concepts and Patriotic Language -- "freedom" meant something different when George W. Bush described it while at the same time authorizing domestic wiretapping programs; Obama will try to restore the common meaning
Note in this case I don't think bipartisanship simply means compromising and making concessions to the other side. Certainly that's a part of it, but I think both sides need to dig themselves out of their right vs. left posturing and look at all of our struggles and opportunities from a different perspective that allows them to take a new stock of the situation.