The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Persuaders

Another great episode of Frontline this week, and more timely than they could have hoped. Those of us keeping an eye on what the online politicos are saying after the election are seeing a lot about "framing the debate." Estate tax? Sounds good. Death tax? EVIL!!! Global-warming? Bad. Global climate change? So what!

This show is about modern marketing, and how marketing is used in politics. Particularly, how a political/corporate goal can be framed so that it appeals to people-- even when it isn't something they want.

Visit the site, watch the show, check out the interviews. The portrayal of Frank Luntz made my flesh crawl-- he's responsible for making regressive taxation and environmental damage sound great to ordinary folks, and for selling Gingrich's 'Contract With America.' Naturally, he has no regrets, although he never claims to support any of these positions.

Ironically, I saw this on the same day I received Lakoff's 'Don't Think of an Elephant.' But there's one thing that concerns me. Will the media buy it this time? Or will they start decrying it as hackery, in spite of the fact that they've been letting the GOP get off scot-free for years?

Here's one idea that I came up with:

The Gun Owners' Protection Act. The rights of gun owners, as expressed in the Second Amendment, are in danger of disappearing at the hands of a few activists. Why? Because a small percentage of the population has abused their Constitutional rights. Gun owners are responsible citizens. Sadly, they are put in danger by a few disreputable dealers and manufacturers who want to undermine the Constitution in the name of making a fast buck.

The longer this small group continues to knowingly arm dangerous criminals, the greater the risk that we'll ALL lose our rights. See to it that a few dishonest people aren't cheating the rest of us out of our rights as American citizens.

So that's my pitch. What is the bill? Requiring extended background checks and waiting periods. Would it fly? Doubtful, since the GOP has already managed to defuse this debate to a degree where showing a Democrat with a gun is like showing, say, a Frenchman with a Velveeta sandwich. And a fair number of Democrats would flip out as well, since we don't seem to have the party unity and discipline. I'm just trying to experiment with the idea a bit.