Category Archives: Frame

Distributed solutions

Progressives believe in distributed solutions like the Internet and community organizing. When we have a choice we default to low level, grassroots methods.

  • Micro- renewables vs nuclear
  • Commons based society: p2p foundation

Strike a balance 

Empower and Protect

Sweden: strong centralized Government + workers popular movement

Inequality as barrier

Instead of a “gap between rich and poor,” we’re far better served calling it a “barrier.” A barrier connotes a big, imposing wall behind which a few can hoard the goodies, while those on the other side are left wanting. When you barricade yourself in, you keep others out. Instead of asking to “bridge the divide,” let’s insist on dismantling the obstacles that keep too many from the gains produced of their own hard work.

The metaphor of inequality as a barrier, wall, or other obstruction highlights several critical truths about our economy. It tells us these objects are man-made. This conveys that inequality is not some God-given, inevitable, natural wonder. We have built these barriers, and we can bring them down. In other words, there’s another way our economy can be structured if we elect and work for it.

Conveying that the economic differences we see are a result of differential access to resources and opportunities that we don’t see accomplishes many things:
  • It implies all people are equally capable and deserving
  • It suggests inequality has structural and deliberate causes, “barriers” are generally understood as man made, not natural
  • It suggests a role for the audience, you can further develop and specify, in breaking down barriers
  • It’s tangible and part of lived experience, we’ve all faced impediments

What’s problematic about gap?

Suggesting inequality as physical division makes sense. It’s tangible and visual but focuses attention on
  • Rich and poor live in separate economies; if “two Americas” who cares what happens in that one?
  • Emphasis is on outcomes, not how division came to be
  • Allows audience to fill in what caused the gap

What’s problematic about top/bottom?

Conservatives favor this model and it’s no wonder why. It reinforces things like
  • The top (rich) good
  • The bottom (poor) bad
There’s a ladder so those at bottom are lazy and don’t climb.


Phrases to use

Talk of inequality as a barrier.
  • inequality blocks people from getting resources
  • inequality leads to holding people back
  • set in place obstacles for the rest of the population”
  • those who are excluded from the economy
When you eliminate barriers you create access, helping people go
where they want and enriching the economy overall.
  • access to resources
  • access to opportunities
  • participating fully in the economy

Avoid these

  • Racial wealth gap
  • Divide between rich and poor
  • Deepening chasm
  • Widening inequality
  • Bridge the gulf
  • A more hierarchical society
  • Money flows to the summits
  • Income pyramid
  •  Pull yourself up by your bootstraps


  • Equality
  • Fairness
  • Opportunity


Family Freedom

The abortion issue is really about male control in family life — and in society in general. It also involves the notion that women who engage in immoral behavior, such as sex with partners they do not seek to have children with, ought to bear the consequences of their actions as a “just punishment.” To establish that control, both conservative Republicans and the Catholic Church propose taking a metaphor literally, that A Fertilized Egg Is A Person. Taking the metaphor literally allows for the claim that preventing abortions constitutes saving lives.

For many women the issue of preventing a pregnancy is a matter of liberty, of the freedom to live your life as you want. You can think of it as a pro-liberty issue. It is also a matter of having the family that makes sense to you, and so it is a pro-family issue, a matter of Family Freedom, the freedom to plan your own family.
Women seeking freedom have always, and will always, seek to control development of life within their bodies. Where there have been laws against this, there have always been back-alley abortions, which are dangerous and have led to the maiming and death of women.
Furthermore, protecting human life is a real issue in the United States. Protecting human life is one of the moral mandates of government. The lives and health of infants, children, and mothers – as well as all other Americans – should be protected through accessible and improved health care, pre- and post-natal care, a ban on poisonous food and environmental pollution, a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, and so on.

Phrases to use

  • Family freedom
  • The freedom to plan your own family
  • The freedom to live your life as you want
  • Preventing a pregnancy is a matter of liberty
  • Development prevention

Avoid these conservative frames

  • Partial birth abortion
  • Cells Are People
  • Unborn child
  • Abortion
  • Morning-after pill


  • Freedom
  • Life
  • Responsibility


The Sacredness of Life and Liberty (