Attack McCain, not McCain supporters.
I just came across this video from Blogger Interrupted (via Boing Boing), where a cameraman interviews McCain-Palin supporters inviting them to expose their ignorance. (Not unlike similar videos made to denigrade Obama supporters.) It brought back sad memories, and a lesson I hoped Democrats would have learned four years ago: It’s never hard–and never wise–to find a moron who disagrees with you, point at them and say, “Now there’s a prime example.” The morons don’t need your help proving that they are morons, and it just makes you look like a dick.
I worked my ass off for the Kerry-Edwards campaign in 2004, when I still lived in Maryland. During that time, I got to know many hardcore Democrats. Some of them were assholes and ignorami–but most weren’t I hasten to add.
After Kerry conceded, I wrote a piece called It’s the Derision, Stupid. It circulated around by e-mail, and I put it on my first attempt at a blog.
Here is most of it (some of the links have expired):
Are you just about done with your soul searching, blaming, and looking for the silver lining? Good.
Over the past few months, I volunteered a lot of my time to the Kerry-Edwards campaign. I spent many hours riding on buses, and knocking on doors in Pennsylvania. (And we WON Pennsylvania! )
However, if I had a dollar for every time I heard one of my fellow volunteers degrade Bush or his supporters, I could have donated up to the legal limit.
“Bush is an idiot”
“Bush supporters are stupid”
“Republicans are morons”
“Middle America is mindless”
Yes, even amongst yourselves: Stop it!
If we are to take back this country, we need to start by questioning our superiority. Yes, many of our ideas and policies are superior, but that doesn’t make us superior as people.
Start by changing the way we talk about Bush supporters. Change the way we think about them. Change the way we talk TO them.
You are not superior to the citizens who supported Bush in this election. No you’re not. No… you’re… not. As long as you think you are, it will show. And trust me, it shows. On more than one occasion, I found myself having to apologize to a Bush supporter for the behavior of my Kerry-supporting companions.
Make no mistake: This is not a lecture on reconciliation or moderation; Bush and his ilk are the enemies of freedom, peace, justice, and democracy. The Bush agenda needs to be fought and resisted with intensity. We need to minimize the amount of damage that Bush and the Republican majority in Congress can do over the next four years.
I’m not talking about changing the substance of your politics. However, you must change your mindset about the people who elected Bush. “Shed [the] core belief that Bush voters ‘are fundamentally stupid or evil.‘”
The conservatives demonize us. We’re the elite, left-wing, fag-loving, anti-American traitors who want to sell American honor to the French for a glass of red wine and some brie.
“And we’ve demonized them. They’re ignorant, gun-toting, woman-hating, crazed Christian rednecks whose ideology blinds them to their own self-interest.Original source: Newshounds: http://www.newshounds.us/2004/11/03/the_fight_goes_on.php
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from living and working with people from other cultures is this: When other people fail to behave in the way you think they should–even when they’ve been given plenty of information–the defect is rarely in the other people, the defect is in your understanding of their values and motivations.
That’s right, smartypants, the defect is in YOU. If we fix that defect, we’ll start being more persuasive–and maybe start winning elections.
Political campaigns are largely about language and effective communication. The next time I hear someone whine, “They’ve turned ‘liberal’ into a negative word,” I might scream. Yes, they have turned it into a dirty word. And there’s no taking it back, not in the near term. Let it go.
Everybody is now talking about how the election was about “moral values” and what that means for progressives. I want to add this to the discussion: Denigrating half of the country’s voters is not moral. Furthermore, it’s anti-democratic. The charges of elitism will stick to you as long as you continue to act like the self-superior elitist jerks that conservatives say you are. Attack Bush, not Bush voters.