What is our frame for the "Gooey" words and phrases taken over by conservatives?

By Stephen, 20 March, 2023

"Woke" used to be a word with a meaning, in African American vernacular. Critical Race Theory used to mean something. Politically correct (though that word has a complicated history!) Privilege no longer holds the eye-opening meaning that was it's original purpose. 

After GOP messaging:

  • Woke means abolish the police and Biden is woke ... even if Biden doesn’t want to abolish the police.
  • Nationalized healthcare like they have in Sweden is Communism like Stalin ... not like Sweden. Twisting words back and forth between extreme and moderate definitions in order to make the moderate version as scary as the extreme, while also removing anyone who has a radical viewpoint from the conversation entirely. 

This happens over and over, turning words meaningless, and gluing the most extreme examples overtop the main message. Progressives have tended to fail to counter this communication technique, until we lose the words and frames that we originally developed. 

How do we counter it?

1. We need a frame for this. We need a word and hashtag — I don't think "gooey" is the best word, help me think of something better?
2. We need a way to respond when the right does something like glue Biden to "Defund the Police." Right now, they're successfully making Biden seem radical while also erasing any actual radical voices — people keep hearing about "Defund" from Republicans and then Democrats who oppose it, everything is defensive and reactive. I've seen moderate-progressives often desire for the "Defund" message to go away. I think this is the wrong approach entirely, and plays into conservative hands. I think the best counter message is to create a left flank to the Overton window. The counter message should look like this: "Biden doesn't believe in Defunding the Police, here is an article by someone who does...."  

Please jump in and leave comments and examples and ideas. What is your proactive definition of woke?