This isn't really an entry about Schiavo, so bear with me if your eyes are already glazing over.
So, the Schiavo issue has pretty much sucked all the oxygen out of other issues - bankruptcy, judicial nominees, the budget, the environment, even social security.
I don't have much to say about Schiavo. It's very sad. The poor woman has had her feeding tube detached and multiple times by now, and it's just cruel. Being a bit closer to politics than most people, I can identify with the need we feel to express an opinion and act from it. But I just don't have one on this matter, other than a general sense that Congress should just mind their own damn business.
Oxygen, however, is another matter. Political Oxygen. It's all tied in to framing, marketing, and tipping points. To put it simply, the ability to affect change is related to the amount of available oxygen there is.
It's a great metaphor, if a bit abstract. I like to think of three common ways to deal with this kind of oxygen:
When you look at it that way, it's obvious which category is the one we should aim for. However, what we tend to see far too often are people in the first two categories. And too many people see it as a binary choice; you're either one or the other.
It's interesting to go through each of the categories and decide who in the political sphere is in each category. I'd say that most congresscritters, especially weak-spined ones, are in the Air-Conserving category. They too often reject that they can actually create more oxygen. I'd put folks like many radio hosts - and many bloggers - in the Huffing and Puffing category. Nader, too - I can't express how frustrated I was to see Nader offered up as an alternative to the first category.
And, I'm sure many would disagree, but I'd definitely put Michael Moore in the third category. He definitely makes me roll my eyes at times, but that guy's just got a knack for changing the topic of conversation, and creating new interest. He's definitely not a voice crying out alone into the wildnerness. I also think a lot of the movers and shakers from the hard right in the third category. I don't agree with their ideals, but they've definitely taken pragmatic steps to increase their own power.
Posted by tunesmith at March 21, 2005 04:12 PM
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