Jill Klausen Gets Us Started On A “Progressive Lexicon”

I was chuffed to read this post from Jill Klausen (@jillwklausen) last week about how to start taking back our language from the right wing, instead of simply rolling over. She says we need to start taking a lot more care with our language, and not just use the language that the right wing has been using to set their agenda.

1. Never say Entitlements.

  –Instead, say Earned Benefits.

While the word “entitlement” was originally coined by Democrats as a way to illustrate that the receiver of the attached benefits was entitled to them by having worked to earn them, or having been taxed to support them, it has been re-defined by the right as akin to a spoiled child who acts as if they’re “entitled” even though they are not.

“Earned benefits,” on the other hand, cannot be twisted or misconstrued to mean anything other than what what they are: something the recipient has actually earned, as opposed to something they are being given.

A new lexicon is a critical first step in taking control of our language and our communication. For some reason, it seems that progressive politicians have been letting the right wing control the lexicon and communication style of politics, which has not been in anyone’s interest. Jill’s pushing back, and it’s going to make a difference.

Jill has also started to do some great naming of right wing policies, such as calling Paul Ryan’s so-called budget the #PathToPoverty – a name that’s started to get a little traction in Rob Zerban‘s campaign for Ryan’s seat in Wisconsin.

Link: Return The Democratic Majority To The House And Senate in 2012: 5 Words And Phrases Democrats Should Never Say Again

Politics is (Marketing) Warfare – Jim Mintz Seems To Be The Only One Who Knows This In The Blogosphere

I found Jim Mintz’s site Marketing In The Public Sector via a search for “Marketing Warfare politics,” thinking that there would actually be some conversations on the web about how Trout and Ries’ powerful marketing ideas – as expressed in Positioning and Marketing Warfare – can apply to politics. Not much came up, I’m sorry to say, except for Mintz. He’s Canadian, so you have to expect pithy and to-the-point comments like the one below:

Bye bye, Miss American Pie « Marketing in the Public Sector

Just got back from vacation and spent a fair bit of time listening and watching the US news. I have always been a tremendous admirer of the
USA. I love their entrepreneurship and as a marketer have always loved
the  marketing that comes out of the USA.  So it with great sadness that
I see a great nation losing some of its luster for reasons (i.e. the
debt ceiling) that are baffling.

Why does a country that produces the greatest business persons,
entrepreneurs, scientists, entertainers’ athletes etc. produce such
mediocre politicians?

Well, we do have other mediocre stuff here, it must be admitted (e.g., see the Plymouth Aztek), but in general the good seems to drive out the bad – except in politics.

And I hypothesize that a lot of this comes down to extremely sucky marketing – well, not understanding marketing at all, especially the strategic kind of marketing – positioning, and “marketing warfare” – that Trout and Ries covered so well.

In fact, the lack of good marketing except from the extreme
right wing of American politics has contributed in large part to
America’s current level of dysfunction. They’re the only ones telling a
compelling story, but unfortunately it seems to be disconnected from
reality in a significant way. And no one else has a articulated anything
coherent, even though their positions are much more aligned with
reality. But they don’t know how to do marketing, so that’s the
inevitable result.

I’m looking forward to following Jim’s thoughts in the future.

Link: Bye bye, Miss American Pie « Marketing in the Public Sector