WHY LANGUAGE MATTERS

How we talk about our current political climate will shape how fiercely we fight Trump's terrifying policies. In the last week alone, Trump's slew of executive orders has left our world infinitely less safe. As frightening as it is, we need to be ungovernable. We need to talk in terms that inspire action, sustain hope, and turn our valid rage into vessels of change. 

Herewith, three ways to rethink where we are and what we can do. 

FASCIST VS DEMOCRACY

We are now living in a fascist state. And it's important to call it what it is because it reminds all of us how high the stakes are when we take to the streets, pressure our politicians to have a heart, and advocate for grassroots change. 

PROTECTORS VS PROTESTORS

In Yes! Magazine, David Korten writes: 

Resistance and protest are reactions against an unjust act or regime. Protection is a positive affirmation of what we value, what we hold sacred.

When we call ourselves protectors, we cast our role as fulfilling our responsibility to the community that sustains us—not for our personal benefit, but for the benefit of all.

I value resistance. I think the terms embodies the kind of work we are doing right now to fight for our precious earth and fundamental human rights, But if we are always "reacting" as Korten argues, we risk losing steam. We have to rebuild at the same time as we resist. And that's what I love about seeing our work as protecting rather than protesting—it reminds us of what matters most. 

REGULATIONS VS PROTECTIONS

George Lakoff has it right in this essay on semantics. When any politician argues for the removal of regulations for short-term profit, they are really removing protections that keep us safe from harm. 

 

We have the power to shift the narrative. To tell a story of resilience and renewal and resistance. And that begins by truly reflecting on the words we use and the power that they can gift us.