November 19, 2003

Republicans = Old Testament, Democrats = New Testament

George Lakoff has written about viewing the two major parties in terms of metaphors: the Republicans as strict fathers and the Democrats as nurturant parents. Digby talks about how the distinction is really strict father vs. nurturant mother, which puts the Democrats at a disadvantage. So I would like to propose that we rename the metaphor to Old Testament vs. New Testament.

The Republicans identify with the Old Testament: a strict, judging God, the Ten Commandments, moral rules to live by, an eye for an eye. The Democrats identify with the New Testament: the rule of love trumps the moral code of Leviticus, Jesus hanging out with the oppressed of his time, the message of God's love for all of us instead of God's judgement, forgiveness. The Old Testament is more about reacting from fear, the New Testament is more about reacting out of love. I'm sure those more familiar with Christianity and the Bible can draw the parallels better than me. Looking at recent news events that split the Republicans and Democrats, this split becomes more apparent. The Ten Commandments statue is a symbol of the Old Testament, Leviticus is the Old Testament book that prohibits homosexuality, while Jesus taught about peace and justice, taking care of the oppressed of society.

I think this frame could be very powerful because it speaks the language of Christians, in a way that could point out some of the contradictions of Republicans in their own language. They make such a big deal of being Christian and following the Bible, but they seem to be following the Old Testament more than the New Testament. And Jesus's teachings, the core of Christianity, are all contained in the New Testament. Framing the parties in this way points out serious weaknesses in the Republicans message in the language of Christian Republicans. It's a great sound bite argument that points out the Republican agenda is Old Testament Christianity, while the Democrats agenda is New Testament Christianity. And if a self-identified Christian has to choose, I'd assume they'd choose the New Testament to identify with, right?

Posted by BuddhaBoy at 11:07 AM | TrackBack