Over the past few days, I’ve been writing to elected officials at the federal level about the president-elect’s horrifying staff picks and at the state level about bills filed for the upcoming legislative session. Since I’m writing exclusively to Republicans, I’ve found myself engaged in a sort of exercise in which I try to reframe the issues at hand as those that would concern them. I’m using buzzwords such as “government over-reach” and “fiscal responsibility” again and again.
I haven’t divulged the fact that I am about as liberal as they come here in this red district in a red state. While I don’t think I’m coming across as conservative–how could I be if I’m opposed to GOP-backed policies–I do find I’m sort of speaking a sort of libertarian language that I’m hoping the elected officials will be sympathetic to.
Which leads me to a question about where to find the balance between speaking to my audience in terms they’d be willing to listen to and the real motivation behind why I’m writing to them in the first place.
I’m heartened by the reaction to the US election on the part of my fellow liberals: we’re calling, we’re writing, we’re protesting. But are the elected officials who need to hear us listening? We need to stand up and speak out. And yet in speaking out, are we using the language that will make them remotely willing to listen?
So I fear that some concerns–concerns about fundamental human rights–may get lost in the way I couch them. And that is a problem. As I write, perhaps I’ll find a better approach. In the meantime, I’ll just keep writing.