Exploring the Rules of Engagement for Healthier Political Discourse, Second Query
Another RoE I have adopted lately is Do It In Person. I’m still waiting for my conservative friends across town to take me up on my offer, and I’m extending invitations to other conservative friends to “talk” over coffee. In December I signed up on Hi From The Other Side, a site that matches people from divergent political persuasions to meet locally and talk about it! I’m still waiting for a match…
In the meantime, I’m still posting stuff on Facebook. I’m exercising more discipline, though–sharing less impulsively, and taking time to add an interpretive (and hopefully thought-provoking) preamble, rather than hitting “Share now” all the time. And I make sure to request of my friends often:
- Read the entire article before commenting.
- No ad hominem (learned this from Fr. James Martin)
- Keep it civil and respectful; I reserve the right to remove any and all shitty comments.
Tonight I worked on a post for a long time, looking up articles and comparing perspectives. It turned out how I wanted it–biased and also a good attempt at objectivity, overall positive in tone. Since I have allowed myself to write about politics on this blog, I wondered if this FB post would be worthy to publish here?
I generally consider blog posts to be more thoughtful and deliberate than Facebook posts. But then, this FB post was both of those things.
So I ask you, my readers and fellow bloggers: Is the piece below worthy of this blog? If so, maybe I can consolidate some work in the future!
Thank you in advance for your kind feedback!
This is interesting.
Fox News is saying that the left is organizing to disrupt and bully at Republican town halls. I lost the link to the video, but here is an article that basically says the same thing.
The Fox and NY Post reports make it sound like Organizing for Action is staging a series of coups at Republican town halls only to disrupt (and presumably not to address concerns that have meaning to people).
The left says it’s taking pages from the Tea Party playbook.
So I Googled ‘tea party protest strategy’ and got a page full of references…
I opened this one first, from August, 2009.
It mentions a Tea party strategy memo, but the link does not work.
But it does include: “The memo, authored by Robert MacGuffie, who runs the website rightprinciples.com [apparently defunct now, from what I can tell], suggests that tea partiers should ‘pack the hall… spread out’ to make their numbers seem more significant, and to ‘rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation…to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early…. to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda…stand up and shout and sit right back down.'”
Then I opened the Wikipedia page on Tea Party Protests.
Under the ‘Tactics’ section:
“Some Tea Party organizers have stated that they look to leftist Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals for inspiration. Protesters have also appropriated left-wing imagery; the logo for the March 9/12 on Washington featured a raised fist design that was intended to resemble those used by the pro-labor, anti-war, and black power movements of the 1960s. In addition, the slogan ‘Keep Your Laws Off My Body’, usually associated with pro-choice activists, has been seen on signs at tea parties.”
Of note, in the Indivisible instructional document, it does say to spread out to make it seem like there is more widespread consensus in the room. It does say to enter quietly and NOT be disruptive, and wait until the floor is opened to questions, so that you are more likely to have a chance to speak. It does say to be respectful, polite, and persistent. It does say to make your comments specific to, and to briefly summarize, a particular issue or piece of legislation, because there are so many bills that not all legislators will know all of them (which I thought was both practical and thoughtful). It does say to ask a specific but open-ended question, such as “What will you do about…” instead of yes-no questions.
So, it looks like these strategies get traded one side of the aisle/spectrum to the other, but each tries to blame the other for being disruptive and disrespectful.
I am so glad I took the time to see what ‘the other side’ is saying. It does not surprise me that they would see the same words I see and interpret them very differently. And, with just a little digging, I was able to see that none of this is new–these tactics have been in use for decades if not longer (maybe all of you knew this, but as my political interest has only skyrocketed recently, I’m still on the steep part of the learning curve).
So let’s not be so quick to judge and vilify, eh? We are all just trying to get seen, heard, understood, and accepted. And when I write ‘all’ I mean we *all*–left, right, up, down, gay, straight, male, female, child, adult–ALL of us!!
If we want ‘the others’ to listen, shouldn’t we *all* try to lead by example and listen well first ourselves?