Sunday, November 08, 2009

Remedial Education for Republicans

Posted by BigDog

Republicans don't go protesting as a rule. They have jobs and families and their religion, if they have one, involves God, not the State. So Republicans are often not too sophisticated when it comes to organizing or participating in political protests, rallies and events. In contrast the Left practices 'activism' from an early age, in high school and college, they have seminars and classes sponsored by various groups endowed with other people's money. My neighbor recently went to Colorado for a 2 week workshop sponsored by MoveOn. Community Organizing is political organizing, and lets not forget unions. Republicans have nothing to match it, and I see the same mistakes perpetuated by Republicans and Conservatives (NOT the same thing!) and even those of libertarian bent.

I am not an expert on this stuff, but the following are a few suggestions.

1 - Do not show up at rallies or protests with a misspelled sign

Nothing says "Ignoramus" than waving around a sign with obvious spelling or grammar errors. It makes you look like a dumbass, reflects poorly on the people around you AND your cause.

Yes, people will notice. Not only will people notice, but the staff of the newspaper or TV station will be looking for it, and you and your sign will be prominently displayed in any news coverage.

Yes, its a big deal. Images are important in media and ideological opponents will focus in any flaw or mistake one makes. Journalists, as a rule, are liberal democrats and they will do their level best to make hay of it. It might even end up on the internet where you will be the butt of jokes.

There are plenty of online dictionaries available, so there is no excuse for not spelling correctly.

2 - Give one sentence to reporters and shut up

Before you go, have a one liner prepared. If a reporter asks you to say something to the camera, you'd better already have that something in mind, don't make it up on the spot. Be ready. If you don't want to talk to a reporter, or haven't thought about it, then politely decline. You will have FIVE SECONDS, no more. No matter how long you speak or how brilliant your point, it will be edited down to 5 seconds, so there not only is no point whatsoever in going on longer. Its a mistake to do so.

I know, it feels good to get it off your chest. Its nice to have someone listen to your opinion. Don't be deluded. The video or audio of your statements will be edited has harshly as possible. Your sentences will be cut short and taken out of context. The only thing you can do is be polite, smile - DON'T be angry or upset, control your breathing - deep slow breaths. Give your one sentence prepared statement of no more than 7 or 8 words. Then thank the nice reporter and zip it.

Do not let the reporter bait you into saying more, they just want you to chatter so they can edit out anything intelligent you have to say leaving the most banal five seconds. They hope you will say something foolish. Resist the lure to chat.

This is hard. Most of us are taught to be polite and friendly from childhood. The reporter will be smiling at you and seem interested. You must exercise your will.

3 - Take a camera and record the event. Count heads

Take pictures of the event and people, try to get a good account of how many people are there. Take pictures of the media and any counter demonstrators.

Media types will make an effort to minimize your numbers, they will focus in on scattered individuals, take shots from a distance and edit it down. They will avoid getting shots of the best signs or most effective chants. Don't let them get away with it. Share your pics and vids with bloggers or alternative media. Post them on Facebook. Get your viewpoint out there. Don't allow J-school graduates to write the history they want people to know.

Get shots of the crowd at its height, if you try for a head count as people are already leaving, then its too late.

4 - Don't mix your messages

If you are at a rally or protest for one issue, don't mix that issue with others. Sure, others might totally agree with you on that second issue, but not everyone will. Even if 90% of people agree, there will be 10% who will not. You're going to annoy or lose those supporters. Don't assume that everyone there for one issue will agree with you on every other position you have. For example, if you attend a Tea Party against government spending, don't start in on Immigration. Stay focused.

Particularly important if you are speaking publicly at the engagement. Remember that Reagan said that a fella who agrees with him on 80% of the issues is his friend.

5 - Make it pithy and positive

Smile. Be polite. Don't be angry, especially on TV. TV is a 'hot' medium and exaggerates emotion. Its one thing to be passionate, but it honestly takes a professional to bring just the right level of emotion. Reagan was a professional. You are almost certainly not.

Be pithy. Don't blather on hoping that something you say will happen to be memorable. Have your thoughts in order and slogans ready beforehand. Don't make it up as you go. Run your thoughts past someone else. Sometimes what strikes you as pointed or funny in your own mind really won't be.

6 - Dress and appearance are important

Show up dressed appropriately. You are going for a 'non-threatening person who could be living next door' look. This works in both directions. Don't show up dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit, it will give liberals and democrats an excuse to play on resentment and be dismissive. Your Brooks Brothers suit will be noted and used against you, just as a misspelled sign. On the other hand, leave the flip flops and t-shirt with a stupid saying at home. Shower and shave. You don't want to look either scuzzy or affluent.

If anyone has something to add. By all means, please do.