A cognitive linguist's assessment of how language works
Trump does not share our common morality or ethical framework. His actions weaponize our common language in violation of our morality and ethics. He is the egregious exception and we need to use exceptional tools to deal with his threat to our common interests. The slippery slope would be to do nothing to stop him.
The authority and power of the speaker is key to understanding the context. If I lie about the election results it is not meaningful because my power and authority in the matter is small. But if the president of the country does so the lie becomes an act because of the power and authority. That is what makes it so different.
This is a slippery slope.
Your ideas make sense. However, do you assume all judges & justices understand the difference between speech & speech acts. After watching some of the televised hearings of some of the judicial nominees who were all Federalist Society members it became apparent that some of those nominees who became Trump appointees barely understood the trial procedures or terms involved in trials.
Some people can’t be made to understand an idea or event if their livelihood depends on their not understanding it.
It ... feels like progressives are talking to ourselves again. What are examples and metaphors that could pull apart different components of Trump's coalition?
Are there videos from The Godfather that correspond to indictments aimed at Trump?
Can we frame the debate as law-and-order vs Trump? Special rights for Trump?
Can we compare him, over and over, to people who are considered by everyone to be traitors and spies?
What phrases might we want to go viral? "Real conservatives: Still tough on crime?" with an image that lets conservatives feel conservative again while removing themselves from his cult? "Are you a Reagan conservative or Trumpist?"
What hashtags do we want to trend? What interferes with the GOP's ability to worship Trump and keep people who'd prefer a more honest conservative — how do we disrupt the fascists and old-school conservatives managing to sweep everything under the rug?
"Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest [vice-president]?" It's just a question-- no harm intended. And a King said it, so there is no recourse. THIS is how we return the great america of yesteryear, where certain people could speak with impunity, while others were not free to speak at all.
Thanks for all you do. Here's a shortened version of my Substack. I am a pro-empathy freedom voting culture diplomat and invite you to embrace this calling. I am committed to this description because it reframes politics and business around empathy, the soul of democracy. In daily conversations, I strive to remember to introduce or describe myself this way to anchor my part of a conversation around empathy and social responsibility. After almost nineteen years since I read George Lakoff’s DON'T THINK OF AN ELEPHANT and intentional practice, speaking differently is beginning to feel normal.
As you've written, "Reframing IS social change." To paraphrase you, thinking differently as culture diplomats requires speaking differently. Thank you for reminding us that there are different kinds of speech, in addition to progressive and conservative speech. You wrote, “Some kinds of speech constitute speech acts.” Speech acts constitute action and contradict the misguided activist notion that thinking and speaking are not acts. We desperately need pro-empathy freedom framing culture diplomatic activism.
Reframing is a social action since all ideas are physically in the human body, i.e., embodied. Ideas don’t exist outside of the human body. For example, ideas leading to commands or expressed desires, questions, declarations, threats, or promises are speech acts that constitute action. For speech to be free speech, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the US Constitution, it must be empathy and responsibility-based speech, i.e., speech that protects and empowers humanity to care for and treat one another with respect for their dignity and freedom.
Mafia Donald and his indicted and unindicted conservative accomplices are masters of hateful speech acts. The job of pro-empathy, freedom-voting culture diplomats is to use free speech acts versus hate speech acts daily. Ours is a high calling that is simple but not easy. In addition to our Zoom forums, the Pro-Empathy Freedom Framing Toolkit² will aid your efforts to speak differently daily - if you use it. Our challenge is to combine our Four Empathy Activities, beginning with inward digestion, with our Culture Diplomacy S.H.O.E.S., an acronym:
S - Show up at public meetings to cultivate empathy
H - Help elected officials cultivate empathy in civic tasks
O - Organize to cultivate empathy in civic tasks
E - Educate about human rights empathy, the soul of democracy
S - Start over each day to publicly cultivate empathy
"we're going to go up to the capitol, & i'm going to be there with you, & we're going to fight like hell" (after knowing the crowd had lethal weapons, & telling the proud boys militia to "stand by")
This is an Extremely important conversation. As we approach the general election language will be the greatest weapons levied in everyone’s hands. Those trained in using ‘weaponized language’ will have the greater advantage. I live in a relatively red county with an entitled like mentality as most good paying jobs are civil service jobs. I live in a senior community highly influenced by media. I see the weaponizing of language now, it’s subtle, intoxicating and it is slowly poisoning.
If your volunteering with your time to save democracy you need support and strategy to counter this method of corruption.
Start speaking and writing in positive outcome language to dominate conversations. It is necessary to cling to a posture of respect in winning. You may not get to hit a moral nerve in everyone but honey and humility are great negotiators in any language.
Seems to me you are introducing a dangerous ambiguity in your definition of speech acts. There is no doubt that actions as the attempts to push election officials in Georgia to overturn the election's results are speech acts: but to include in this category also the big lie that Trump won the 2020 elections seems to me wrong. If we include in the category of speech acts any lie that cause others to believe something false, we are saying in fact that any lie is an action. If this is true, seems to me that any speech becomes a speech act! If a lie has to be punished, this can be acceptable only in specific cases in which the law obliges me to be true, as in a testimony before a judge in a trial. Really we desire put a bar so high on our behavior, similar more to a divine commandment than to a secular statute law?
So the correct question to me is: in affirming he won 2020 elections,Trump was ipso facto violating explicitly a statute law in full force in that moment? If the answer is "no", I think would be better for us not to incriminate Trump, but to enact immediately a law stipulating that for public officials is prohibited consciously and publicly lie in the exercise of their powers, simply as that, without forcing the concept of "lie" in the category of speech acts.
Sorry for my faulty english.