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Richard Tafel: How to Speak Like a Republican
Rich Tafel is founder of The Public Squared, a public policy training program for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs.
For the last decade, Tafel has provided strategic policy advice to nonprofits on a variety of causes, including AIDS programs for Africa, civil rights programs Latin America, and education and health care reform in the United States. He is a guest lecturer in Urban Health and Advocacy at Johns Hopkins University.
Prior to his international consulting, Tafel founded the Log Cabin Republicans in 1993. During his tenure, the Log Cabin Republicans went from an unknown entity to a well-known brand in American political life. At the height of the culture wars, he debated the likes of the Reverend Jerry Fallwell on Larry King Live. He has appeared on most major political TV programs and fought for appropriate AIDS funding and equality for gays and lesbians. He testified before Congress on the need to support the Ryan White Care Act. In 1999, he authored Party Crasher: A Gay Republican Challenges Politics as Usual. Tafel has also been appointed by Governor Weld (R-MA) to manage the adolescent health programs of Massachusetts.
Tafel's work in the public policy arena for social justice causes is inspired by his faith. After graduating from Harvard Divinity School he served at the University Chapel. He is an ordained minister in the Swedenborgian Church. He is a certified coach through Franklin Covey and certified through the International Coaching Association. He's an alumni of the Prince of Wales, Business and Sustainability Program, Cambridge College.
In a ‘Huffington Post’ piece I wrote, oh, over a year ago, I suggested the President needed to learn how to speak Republican because he’s—the Democrats, I think, are unsuccessful so many times,and the truth was it was an attempt to help the Democrats—they’re unsuccessful because they use the language of rights, whereas the Republicans more speak the language of results. It comes back to this whole split between those who embrace the status quo and those who seek to change it. I’ve learned to change things. Almost all my successful change has been from right to left. If I can win over the conservatives, I can win over the left, so I move that way. Most social change movements, because their friends are from the left, they move left to right and they never get there. They always bump up and they say, "These darn Republicans! These darn conservatives!"
When you’re changing a system and people have rights, if you as a progressive come into that debate and say, "I want rights," the impression for the listener is you’re taking something from me. You want something that I have. You want more rights. And that’s not usually true. We’re not taking something from you. A very concrete example, the President was pushing for a universal healthcare mandate for the country, and he kept saying, "Everybody in this country deserves the right of healthcare," and progressives applauded. And I could just feel the conservatives just digging in deeper, deeper, deeper for fear of what was being taken away from them.
And I used as a linguistic way of expressing it, a conservative way of expressing the same goal, would have been to say, "Folks, we have universal healthcare in the United States. It’s called the emergency room, and we pay for it. And we cover people’s healthcare right now who don’t pay into any insurance scheme and you’re carrying them. If you’re paying taxes right now, you’re covering them. Wouldn’t it make sense for us as a nation to just ask those folks to register and get into an insurance program so we can cut their cost, we can be more proactive with their healthcare, and we can avoid the vast growth of healthcare costs?" Now there’s two ways of saying the same thing. One is an appeal to the status quo, the person who’s the more conservative. The other is about rights, and I feel like rights language just by its nature scares people, and I think it’s not usually successful in bringing about change.
I think the issue that divides these two mindsets as status quo versus evolving, I think very often it comes down to a personality. And if you are part of a group that the status quo is not working for you, you’re probably on the -- let’s evolve; I want to change the way gay people are treated; I want to change the way women are treated; I want minorities, people of other faiths, minority faiths. If you’re part of the establishment, it’s a pretty good deal. If you’re part of the status quo, it’s kind of working for you and you don’t understand why anybody would want to change it, and it’s very frightening. So I think it kind of depends on where you fall down in those two areas.
A Democratic rights bill might be something along the line of an immigration bill that says we’re going to give more rights to children who are born in the United States to illegal parents. So we’re going to increase rights to that population. Well, for the conservative mindset you’re breaking the rules. So you’re adding a new group in and you’re incentivizing a process for illegal immigration. Again, a more practical approach in my opinion would have been to say, "We have children in this country who are born here. Under our law, that makes them citizens and they’re born by illegal parents. How are we going to—let’s be practical--to deal with that we need to do this, this and this?"
So again, one of the very practical results-oriented, let’s get these kids registered, do you really want people who are illegal driving around without driver’s licenses because they’re so afraid of being in the system or showing up in the emergency room? So those would be two examples possibly. I think the language of conservatives is more about economics, and economics lends itself more to results. "We’re going to cut the budget. This is what it looks like." It sounds very clear. "We’re not going to raise taxes." That’s a pretty clear result. Or I think on the left, some of the cases that they’re making are more difficult to make in a results-oriented way. But that was always my effort when I was trying to do social change here more domestically, was, how can we make this a result that will come from it as opposed to adding a right that’s going to threaten you as status quo?
Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd
Does President Obama need to learn to speak Republican? He probably will if he wants to be successful in a second term (if elected). Furthermore, you can become a better communicator if you follow Richard Tafel's advice on how to get into the mindset of someone with a different viewpoint.
Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.
- Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
- One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
- "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.