One of the basic psychoanalytic distinctions which comes to mind as I listen to the electoral discourse these days, is the imperative to sort out what we, in the listening business, call "manifest" and "latent" content.
Simply said, manifest content is what we say. Latent content is what we do not say which is either the unspoken unconscious message, or the intended message left unspoken, deliberately not verbalized. In psychotherapy we listen for the latent content as that is where the meaning lives for which manifest content often serves as a cover.
Why are we Democrats buying into the manifest content of the Republican message, which is focused on the economy, leaving the latent content regarding "social issues" unrevealed?
The economy is important, of course. But this election is not a case of "either/or." It is "both/and." This election more than any other I can remember is BOTH about the economy AND about everything else. It is about everything the Democrats stand for, have fought for decades to deliver, which Republicans wish to abolish, delete, reverse but leave the issues unspoken, undiscussed. We can name where the Republicans and Romney stand on these issues because they have told us during the primaries. They are just not talking about it anymore now. Bringing these issues to the fore is not their agenda, but it IS OUR AGENDA.
Now is the time for all that to be spoken of in great detail. It is time to respond to the latent content of all the issues they are not addressing: public education, Medicare, Medicaid, rights of women to choose, health care for all, fair and generous immigration policy, and more and more. It is essential that the public come to know the dire consequences to our basic rights should Republicans be elected to any elected office anywhere.
We need you, fellow Democrats, to TEACH US what those dire consequences will be.
Explain each issue. PLEASE.
Educate us, the public, explicitly, before the formal debates begin.
Take your stand. Explain it. And explain all they do not want to talk about so that we thoroughly know what is truly at stake in November.
Not only to the job numbers but to the details of what will disappear with a Republican view of the budget: what is already happening to Planned Parenthood, what will happen to gun rights: what will happen to every safety net: what will be their attitude regarding religion in schools, equality for all, and public education. Collectively, these are referred to as "social issues." We must not yield this territory to their silence.
Just listen for and unveil the latent content of what the Republicans are NOT saying. Make these social issues audible, precisely because our opponents refrain from revealing so many essential policies which will harm the vast majority of our nation.
Then teach us and tell us over and over again aloud what we/you ARE saying. What we need so much to know and to understand.
That which is not hidden. That which needs clarity and voice.
And then PLEASE, President Obama, talk about all that too, not only about "the economy."
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