How can we respond to conservative attacks on our patriotism?



Hat-tip to Crooks and Liars (of course)

We were recently asked how to respond when confronted with the attack, “Aw you liberals just hate America.”

This is name-calling with a destructive (and false) frame. There are times when it is necessary to have a retort, not for its own sake, but to allow you to shift the frame and say a lot more on any one of many topics. The replacement frame should express progressive views while revealing key truths hidden by the original frame. Here is one strategy:

Aw you liberals just hate America.”

No. We love democracy and we want to return it to America.
You want a presidential dictator.
We love liberty and we want to return it to America.
You want to tap our phones.
We love equality and we want to return it to America.
You think some people are better than others.
We love honesty and we want to return it to America.
You love lobbyists and corruption.
We love fairness and we want to return it to America.
You want to oppress the powerless.
We love openness and we want to return it to America.
You love secrecy and hiding the facts.
We love nature’s glory and we want to return it to America.
You love the profit that comes from destroying nature.
We love community and we want to return it to America.
You want everyone to fend for himself.
We love public education and we want to return it to America.
You want to destroy public education.
We love civilian control of the military and we want to return it to America.
You want to militarize America.

And on and on…

George Lakoff
The Rockridge Institute


  1. rip says:

    I don’t dignify such an assertion with a response.

    Because when the “conservatives” have to resort to questioning your patriotism, they are grasping at straws and you’ve already won.

  2. David Roat says:

    My answer to ‘you liberals hate America’:

    No, we just hate you. And so does the rest of the world.

  3. My opinion:

    We have gotten used to living in a world where most people like to see problems in a black and white way, – good and evil, wrong and right. (it’s easier that way to ignore the truth)

    For those of us who know that we live in a world of shades of gray ( or if you are like me in a multi color reality) it is important to understand how to talk to simple minds

    first reject the premise of the argument by pointing to the usually inherent pre-judging of an issue

    second make the issue personal

    but most importantly do not try to find an equal pre-judging argument for then you play the black and white game and have already lost

    I like George Lakoff but the solution is not to become like the “you are either with us or against us” the solution is to engage in real conversation, through away party politics and create grass roots community based political committees that work on issues

    In Transylvania county it would only take about 200 people in such a group to determine the outcome of most local elections – how many would it take in Asheville? Buncombe County? or where you live?

  4. Paul -V- says:

    In order to feel uncomfortable or insulted when someone calls me unpatriotic, I have to care about their opinion first.

    It’s difficult to care about opinions from the willingly ignorant.

    Liberals are at the forefront of mankind’s struggle to spread the blessings of liberty to all. The historical record is quite clear: From equal suffrage, to universal education, to worker’s rights – Liberals have championed freedom, while conservatives fought reforms tooth-and-nail.

  5. barry says:

    I know it doesn’t help anything, but whenever someone says anything even remotely like that, I accuse them of working to destroy America. Partly I like to just watch them turn purple, but partly it’s to maybe make them think. I tell them that America is partly built on the notion that all ideas are created equal, and the good ones only grow and thrive in a atmosphere of free and open debate, where all citizens know they have an equal voice, and know that even though their particular point of view didn’t necessarily prevail from one day to the next, eventually the best course for the nation will emerge through consensus.

    If you’re trying to derail that process of open debate by intimidation, you’re short-circuiting America’s decision-making process, you stupid fascist bastard.

  6. Drama Queen says:

    Jesus is a liberal.

  7. Jesus is a liberal.

    yes and a hippy, slept mostly outdoors or in other peoples homes, did not work and lived off of others and to top it he was gay – hanging out with 12 male “disciples” oh and don’t forget he was a drunk too, made wine out of water all the time!

  8. Drama Queen says:

    And he married an accused prostitute.

    Or was she just accused of being a prostitute when the established church realized people were honoring Jesus’ babe Mary Magdalene more than the okayed-to-be-worshiped “Virgin” Mary . . .

  9. David Roat says:

    best of all, he wasn’t white.

  10. Drama Queen says:

    Hey, whatchu sayin? The Jesus on the wall at the church I grew up with had blond hair. You’re confused.

    Jesus wasn’t Jewish or Ethiopian or African or anything that right wingers wouldn’t like.

    And what’s with the Santa Hats at Target having black furry trim instead of white. That’s an abomination.