Last week during a debate with Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at George Washington University, Governor Howard Dean offered a compelling narrative about immigration in the United States:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBk0PuOpTIs&w=480&h=390%5D
I don’t believe we ought to demonize people who are trying to do the best they can… How many people in this hall have American Indian blood in you? Raise your hand… Everybody else is an immigrant! The reason this country is such an extraordinary success is because we got those people who dared to leave their homes, who dared to do something different … who took some risks. And their descendants are all here. Every American family has a narrative about somebody who worked hard, came up from the bottom, scrubbed floors on their knees – and their grandchildren and great grandchildren got to go to George Washington University [location of debate]. We gotta keep that alive!
…When the Irish got here, no Irish needed apply. When the Jews got here, they couldn’t go to the Ivy League. When the Italians got here, they had to labor on the tunnels underneath New York. Everybody had to face this. Isn’t it time we stopped and accepted people who want to make America great, and let them be citizens again?
Why does Howard Dean’s answer resonate? Why is it a potent narrative? What are the narrative components? What emotions and cognitive frames does he prime and connect with?