Here is a great example of how Hillary Clinton innovates, teaches, and generates change. A little while ago, her Twitter account tweeted this quote from her speech at Day in Blue today.
For seven years I have posted remarks Hillary has made here in the U.S. and all over the world on issues that I have automatically tagged “women’s issues.” You can search that category here and come up with pages and pages of posts with that tag.
But the truth about these issues is what Hillary said today, and I shall have to create a new, and more powerful tag: NOT a women’s issue.
For many years, George Lakoff, linguist and political commentator, has been busting his suspenders over the way Democrats have allowed Republicans to control framing. Here is a sample. There are many.
OK, so he doesn’t wear suspenders. He just looks like the kind of guy who would. The point is that for decades Democrats have allowed Republicans to control the language of policy-making and legislation.
In Hillary Clinton, Democrats may have the candidate who can change all of that, Hillary is inventive where language is concerned, so much so that when her 2008 campaign site urged us to follow her on Twitter I thought she invented brand-name. It sounded like something she would make up, and I asked her that on Twitter after I joined. Who had ever heard of a “townterview” before Hillary became Secretary of State?
She may not have laid out a platform yet, but Hillary has, since she began her public speaking tour in 2013, been drawing the blueprint, and it involves changing points of view by changing the way we talk about things. Framing, in the end, is really all about how often people encounter issues ensconced in specific terms. We can help change the frequency and the terms.
Today she made something clear. “Pink” issues are red, white, and blue issues. If we adopt her phrase as a tag and a hashtag we can go a long way toward establishing some of the viewpoints Hillary is going to be advocating. In other words, we can help her reframe the issues by adopting her vocabulary.
I have never failed to learn something by listening to Hillary. Her 1000 Days initiative taught us how providing good (and surprisingly inexpensive) maternal and child nutrition over the 1000 days from conception to age two can change the future, not just for families, but also for nations. Her Clean Cookstoves Initiative taught us how cooking over unsafe fuels affects the health and lives of billions of people all over the world.
When Hillary Clinton speaks, there is always something to learn. I have learned today that I can help her reframe how we talk about (frame) and then see things by changing how I categorize them.
P.S. Something else I just learned. I think the hashtag works better if you leave the apostrophe out. #NotAWomensIssue *sigh*