Freedom from fear and want begins with answering cries.
And progressives answer those cries because our care for humanity is strong, committed, and mutually responsible.
Freedom from fear and want begins with answering cries. Research tells us that effective human rights advocates always answer cries for help. Because the simplest research shows that if a newborn infant isn’t picked up after her first cry, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and fed, she will cry herself to silence and then death. Many of us learned freedom from fear and want in our nurturing family of origin. There we, as children, depended on older children and nurturing parents to govern with comfort and encouragement - protection and empowerment. Our family taught us our commitment to empathy for and responsibility to others.
Nurturance Is a “duty” to our communities
Freedom from fear and want begins with answering cries. But the answer must be a nurturing one. Because acknowledging the cry without nurture is, at least, neglect and, at worst, abuse. Progressives in both political parties have an opportunity in rural conservative communities, especially in Ohio, to articulate a nurturing American ideal, nurturing values, nurturing principles, and nurturing policy directions based on a nurturing philosophy. However, a quick check of the local websites of the two major parties in my and surrounding counties reveals that only the GOP name their moral values, upon which their policies are based. Empathy for and responsibility to human beings, the core values of the world’s democracies and internationally recognized human rights, are nowhere to be found.
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The traditional idea of freedom is progressive
Freedom from fear and want begins with answering cries. This traditional idea of freedom from fear and want is progressive,1 according to cognitive scientist and linguist George Lakoff. Lakoff wasn’t the first2 to discover that ALL ideas are physical and are put into human brains by families and communities with language and experience. Progressive freedom traditionally seeks expansion from the cradle to the grave. Thanks to strong, diverse communities of nurturing families caring for each other,3 all of us should progress toward better standards of life in larger freedom.4 However, this progressive freedom is anathema to conservatives,5 which is why they call progressives names and actively dismantle progressive democratic institutions whenever possible.
Progressives repeatedly invite their neighbors to human rights duties
For example, freedom from fear and want begins with answering cries. These freedoms are basic human rights. In 2014, Empathy Surplus Network USA (ESNU) joined a business human rights initiative called the UN Global Compact (UNGC).6 Looking for public human rights education organizations to partner with Fortune 500 UNGC members, ESNU members reached out to our Clinton County Commissioners and Wilmington City Council to see if there was an interest. There was not. Then Commissioner Pat Haley told us, “If I tried to talk about local human rights, people would laugh at me.” And when asked if he wanted to join our Healthcare Is a Human Right Collaboration, Wilmington’s current Mayor, John Stanforth, replied, “Healthcare isn’t a human right.” 7People of goodwill CAN change their minds if they want.
You’re invited to improve your human rights framing
Freedom from fear and want begins with answering cries. And progressives answer those cries because our care for humanity is strong, committed, and mutually responsible. Empathy Surplus Network invites you to join our three 2023 Adult Weekly Forums. We begin January 4, 2023, with Dr. Lakoff’s Whose Freedom? The Battle Over America’s Most Important Idea. Foreshadowing the January 6, 2021, attack on our US Capitol, Dr. Lakoff wrote in 2006, “If Americans are to hold on to freedom as they grew up with it, as they have come to know it and love it, then they have to understand that there is a radically different and frightening notion of what (MAGA Republicans)8 call ‘freedom’ shaping our culture and our political life. You can’t stop it if you don’t see it.”9
Progressives must govern their freedom debate with empathy
For example, freedom from fear and want begins with answering cries. Pat Haley is challenging Mayor Stanforth in 2023. And neither candidate is talking about how to free local citizens from the community’s human rights neglect of (1) the homeless, (2) those suffering from substance disorders, and (3) those of us who want a local climate emergency declared. Conservatism’s answer to one and two is always cruel - it’s their fault, conservatives say, and they should be punished. And to number 3, conservatism’s response is denying our pollution poison emergency. But freedom from fear and want are both internationally recognized human rights. If you are homeless, you are not free, you could die, and you deserve care. If you can’t get treatment for your substance disorder, you are not free, you could die, and you deserve care. And, if we can’t eliminate pollution poison, none of our grandchildren are free from the coming suffering, the human race WILL die at our own hand, and they deserve our care. We ALL deserve care BECAUSE care IS our moral obligation to one another. And to deny care is to be in a state of immortality.
Please visit our website and record your values
Freedom from fear and want begins with answering cries. I also have one last CRY for help. Please consider visiting our website and answering the two-minute non-public survey for our known stakeholders about whether we share a progressive vision regardless of party affiliation. Have a wonder-filled, nurturing holiday season.
Lakoff, George, Whose Freedom? The Battle Over America’s Most Important Idea, Introduction, p. 3, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006 (Conservatives learn different values in their strict father families.)
Lakoff, George, Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, What Unites Progressives, “The Basic Progressive Vision,” p. 137, Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT, 2014.
IBID., Lakoff, Ch. 13, “What Conservatives Want,” p. 125.
IBID., ESNU, you won’t find Haley and Stanforth’s photo in this Healthcare Human Rights Collaboration video - https://youtu.be/zl2x4YH3z0k
Watts, Charles, replaced “extremists on the right” with “MAGA Republicans.”
Lakoff, George, Whose Freedom?, Introduction - The Progressive Mystery,” p. 18