Connecting the Message
What's the Message?
Promoting the Message
Connecting the Message
Issues & the Message
Messengers of Democracy
Threats to Democracy


Bill Clinton meets President John F. Kennedy at the White House in 1963

Words to live by:

"We need a new spirit of community, a sense that we are all in this together, or the American Dream will continue to wither. Our destiny is bound up with the destiny of every other American."
Bill Clinton



It's important to network with other Progressives.  But it's vital to make a connection with people who don't realize what we stand for.  To connect, find out what your audience cares about and talk to them from that perspective.  Check the right side bar for terrific books that help us understand and appreciate the hearts and minds of others different from ourselves. 

You may also be interested in the articles from these sources, Ethics Daily, Understanding Rural America (USDA), Understanding People of Faith,  and Separate Realities of Bush and Kerry Supporters


"We must really participate. We can’t just talk. We have got to act…And we must see improvement for masses of people, not for the little group on top."

Eleanor Roosevelt

  Connecting to Community

Connecting with others who share similar values is a natural part of life.  As members of many kinds of communities  — our families, our neighborhoods, our country, our environment and our world — we share a mutual responsibility to make them strong.  To make them strong, we must take action to support them.  Instead of listing the many worthy organizations that would benefit from your participation, let's consider this discussion a starting point from which you can design your own "Action List".


  Empowering Community:  Building a Bridge to Tomorrow

Here are the top 10 action items that empower our community:

  1. Memorize our shared progressive values or carry them in your wallet. Use them to frame every political conversation and presentation.  Download a copy here.

  2. Drop in on a local grassroots group, try a Democracy for America local Meetup.

  3. Listen to Air America Radio, Democracy Radio and Pacifica Radio on the dial or on the Net.  Tell your friends to do the same.  Advertise progressive radio in your town (create a flyer or freeway banner).

  4. Advance your knowledge.  Take a workshop or in-depth training on topics such as communications, organizing, or interacting with people different from yourself.  Good sources are Wellstone Action and 21st Century Democrats (in cooperation with Latinos for America).  Check local events.  Talk about the program you attended, get others to go with you.  The more we focus our knowledge and efforts, the more cohesive our Progressive community becomes.

  5. Bookmark Recommended Resources (see sidebar), and devote a little time each day to a quick scan.  An population that relies on a single source of news is an easily deceived population.  Broad knowledge is power.

  6. Share your knowledge. Host an house or block party; start an ongoing discussion group at your church or school.  Neighbor talking to neighbor, peer to peer, is the best way to communicate our progressive message.  Keep it local.  If every person took one local action a day, a week or a month to promote and connect our progressive values and vision (aka, the "message") we'd have little trouble in setting the record —and our future— straight.

  7. Blog to get your news quickly —and to make news yourself. If you're so inclined, here's how to set up your own blog.  Ready?  Visit and get started.

  8. Write to the media (often!) to break the endless loop of the radical Republican's talking points.

  9. Join the WiFi community as we gain greater freedom to connect.

  10. If you can't donate time, donate money.


  You're Not Me

Many of us are feeling despair over the recent presidential election.  We see the danger of a money-before-people ideology.  Yet there are millions of other people who aren't worried in the least.  Many people are completely unaware of or uninterested in anything political.  They like shortcuts.  They simply want to know who's the "winning team" and then join the popular group.  There are also millions of others who will fight tooth and nail against progressives because they are convinced of some higher reward in exchange for their loyalty.  The radicals bought that loyalty with divisive words not deeds.  Trusting people were deceived for votes. 

Our intentions are honorable, however, but how do we get through?  And do we even try in some circumstances?  Good questions.

To be understood, start with understanding your audience.  Who is this person/group/audience and what do they care about?  The more you know, the better.  Prompt for more information or make assumptions about the dominant demographic that will hear or see your presentation.  You need this information so that you can choose the appropriate value frame and keywords that appeal. Here's quick advice for dealing with three group types:

1.  Your audience knows this administration is dangerous to our freedom.  Great.  Tell them never to repeat the radical Republican's language.  Explain the idea of framing to them.  Tell them about this website so that more people can begin to use the words and frames that describe what we stand for, issue by issue.  Restate our progressive vision every chance you get.  Bold vision is our biggest motivator.  Repetition is the key that unlocks minds.  Carry an extra values list and give it to them.

2.  Your audience is content to believe what the government tells them but is open to discussion.  Not so bad.  Ask them what concern and pride they hold about America's direction.  Show appreciation for their views and be sure to listen attentively.  When it's your turn, begin your side of the discussion with "Here's the way I see it..." and choose the values frame most appropriate to this person's concerns.  Hopefully, you've spent time getting very familiar with the values, keywords and facts on our issue pages.  Use them.  The more we repeat specific words and phrases, the more we'll be widely remembered.  And please, restate our progressive position every chance you get: Democrats are the Party of the People.  Bold vision our biggest motivator.  Repetition is the key that unlocks minds.

3.  Your audience is certain that heaven will reward them for backing "God's man on earth" or they tout another irrational position.  Wish them well and walk away.  If you want to say anything, repeat our progressive vision with "I believe that..." and look for the exit.

4.  Your audience wants the benefits of the profit-over-people ideology.  Wish them well and walk away.  If you want to say anything, repeat our progressive vision with "I believe that..." and look for the exit.

Tell a personal story:

Personal stories are powerful. 

Newspapers are known for printing small personal stories and big, bold ideas.  We can take a hint from the media to attract our audience.  Tell the person or group a story about yourself that shows why you are a Progressive.  Use emotional words to describe your experience.  People connect with people.  Be real.  And please don't make your audience wrong.  Reframe the issue instead.


You don't say?

Here are non-verbal ways to increase your influence:

When it's your turn to talk, smile while you speak your 80% positive, frown when you speak your 20% negative

When it's your turn to talk, nod your head in agreement with your own words

While you are speaking, touch the person once gently to reinforce your positive point

While in any conversation, position your body as if you are a mirror of agreement to the person you are speaking with


Recommended Resources:


Jim Lehrer News Hour

Truthout Headlines

Google Alerts

Free Press


Center for American Progress

People for the American Way

Google News


Media Transparency

Media Matters


Fact Check

Free speech...

Air America Radio

Democracy Now!

Pacifica Radio

Daily Kos

Reading room (top picks)...

What's the Matter with Kansas?

Don't Think of an Elephant, Know your Values and Frame the Debate

God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It

Art of Speed Reading People

The Republican Noise Machine, radical Republican Media and How it Corrupts Democracy

Worse than Watergate, The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

The Hero with a Thousand Faces a classic from Joseph Campbell



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