Friday, August 19, 2005

The 'Grieving Mom' Frame

In broad terms, the success of the 'grieving mom' phrase indicates that Americans are now thinking about the War in Iraq through the frame of the family, rather than thinking about Iraq through the frame of 'terrorism' or 'ideology.'

The implications of this shift from 'terrorism' to 'family' in the country's thinking about Iraq are profound. Not only does this shift forewarn a political tidal wave soon to break on the President's foreign policy, but also of a much deeper, tectonic shift in the strategy beneath all the recent gains in the Republican party.
The great success of Cindy Sheehan's protest, therefore, is no less than the moral authority for the Democratic Party to speak for the American family.

At the heart of the Republican claim to speak for the family is a very narrow idea of marriage, and a reactionary nervousness about 'the culture' as a cause for social problems in America. For the Republicans, the key to translating this claim into political gains has been a broad scale effort to use state legislators to strip homosexuals of the full rights and privileges of American citizenship.

At the heart of the Democratic claim to speak for the family is a broad and powerful idea that the war in Iraq is killing America's children for no apparent reason, and a growing anger than unless American soldiers leave Iraq, America's hard-working and honest communities will be destroyed forever. For the Democrats, the track record for translating this claim into political gains has been very short--so far only one Ohio candidate has applied this claim to political gains.

Bringing President Bush's lies to light is important work and it must continue apace. But the Democratic Party has been searching for some time, now, to find a way to reclaim the moral authority to speak on behalf of American families. As a result of Cindy Sheehan's protest, that moral authority is now with us.

See article here

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