In Defense of a Good Offense 6

For the last 40 years, America has lived George Orwell’s worst nightmare. It was a bit more subtle than Orwell had imagined, but our domination by powerful men was no less complete. We have been fed propaganda instead of news for decades. The interests of Wall Street have long since replaced those of the American people.

We are consumers, certainly not citizens and certainly not informed.

This year represents the first year in my lifetime that a significant number of the electorate seemed to have shaken off their stupor, despite the long national awakening since Bush stole the White House. It took a full-on coup to wake us up and even now the media is trying to shove us back in the Us versus Them framework.

Unity is bad for ratings.

If that’s the way it is going to be, I say fine. Time for progressives to go on the offense. This is the first legitimate shot we have had at the presidency since Jimmy Carter and it is with someone like Barack Obama. He will be as progressive as the country allows him to be, but we need to first explain to the country why that is a good thing. There are hearts and minds waiting to be won if we would quit being to afraid to speak our truth with the same conviction as those that speak nothing but lies.

I am tired of trying not to offend stupid people. I contend that they aren’t bright enough to get a subtle argument, much less sarcasm, so why bother changing the message?

Those who have an open mind are usually willing to listen despite in-artful or inappropriate language. I think they are every bit as angry as we are and are ready for some truth. Perhaps it is only in our individual lives that we start preparing people for the truth that a new President Obama will have to tell them. Until we get it right at the grassroots and push our representatives to support massive changes in how we do things, Barack will be no more successful than Carter was in promoting a progressive America.

It is all on us.

Which brings me back to offense. This is going to be a huge effort taking multiple generations. We need to start, right now, speaking the language of winners. The language of winners is positive and assertive and a tad bit arrogant. Not arrogant in the sense that everyone else is wrong, but arrogant in that how can anything else be considered right. That sort of conviction leads to converts. It’s why Barack won the nomination. He was convinced America could be better and trusted the voter to see through the haze. He was right.

I am betting on the same thing. I am betting on more of us being in a place to hear hard-truths laid out in uncompromising language. I also think we are more ready than ever before to contemplate big, bold initiatives that will take this country in a brand new direction. I don’t think it will be easy or that we solve 40 years of pain and misery with one election. The journey must begin somewhere, though, so why not right here and now? If the journey is to begin, we need as many people moving in the same direction as possible. After all the shit we’ve been fed and continue to be fed, it will take shocking language and absolute certainty to break through the programming.

To do that, some people are sure to be offended. Some people need to be offended. I’m offended on a daily basis when and if I bother to watch five minutes of local or national news. Given the nature of the People’s enemy and the enormity of their resources to use against us, isn’t time we had a good offense for once? Isn’t time we used the same uncompromising tone and moral certitude? Americans respect that sort of bold communication style. They can get their arms around it. Nuanced discussions give the appearance of uncertainty, which is weak, which is un-American.

That’s the feeling I get from speaking with friends who are conservative or former conservatives. The thing they hate most about “liberals” is that they don’t take a stand and fight to the death.  It’s time we showed them a different type of progressive this year. They need to see the capable, type-A progressive. The need to see the Alpha Male progressive (even if you’re female!)

That’s how we win back respect from people who have barely tolerated being in the same country as us for the last forty years. To them we are still a bunch of hippies hanging out in the park with our hand-painted signs.  The RNC convinced them they were right years ago and then didn’t deliver on anything. It’s all bad. Now it’s our turn. We need them to understand that not only are we right but we will prove it to them.

First, though, we need a good offense, because the people we want to convince don’t respect a defensive strategy.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 thoughts on “In Defense of a Good Offense

  • Diet

    I agree we need an offense.

    >Isn’t time we used the same uncompromising tone and moral certitude?

    No, this doesn’t convince people this solidifies people in their beliefs.

    Have you ever convinced people by being an asshole? You might make your friends happy but as for educating your fellow man? You fail. Try again.

    • JasonEverettMiller

      You can be morally certain, assertive in your facts and convinced of your arguments without being an asshole.

      Let me flip it around: Have you ever convinced someone (a conservative) by being uncertain and too flexible in your positions?

      What I am saying is that anyone who can’t be convinced by the truth spoken with certitude and assertiveness will never be convinced by mere politeness alone. That the more understanding and nuanced you become, the less likely they are to be convinced. I am saying that Americans, by and large, don’t do subtle.

      The only time I have ever made a dent in the conservative mindset was by being as passionate in my defense of the truth as they were in defense of lies.

      • Diet

        This might devolve in being an argument over words but I enjoy the exchange 🙂

        >Have you ever convinced someone (a conservative) by being uncertain and too flexible in your positions?

        It’s not about being uncertain or flexible. It’s about being truthful. Why do you think bush has a 17% approval rating? Conservatives are intelligent people they just see things differently. If you want to get them to vote for Obama you need to convince them with facts and figures. Just like any other thinking adult.

        Certainly there are going to be a group of inbreeds that will believe you based on the conviction of your tone of voice but that’s true for democrats and republicans. You’re goal is to convince the thinking man.

        • JasonEverettMiller

          Yes, they are thinking people, but being reasonable isn’t the way it works with conservatives when it comes to changing their opinions. It isn’t just about being right, though that helps. It’s about how you fight for your cause and how you are right that matters.

          Assertive means are appreciated even for moderate ends as we have all seen.

          That’s kind of the point of my blog. To progressives, it seems intuitive to think that convincing people is a matter of being reasonable and being right. It seems to not make sense that we be more aggressive with people who already don’t agree with us. However, as we have seen, Americans will believe the most unreasonable shit based on presentation.

          Since we aren’t going to change that paradigm in the short term, I submit we use it to our benefit.

          Again, I am not advocating telling lies, just being more assertive with the truth. We need to speak truth with the same certainty and conviction as the lies most Americans have come to believe. It’s more than semantics. It is a matter of style and positioning, which is why the RNC (and the DLC as well) have been so successful for so many years.

          Facts and figures aren’t going to convince moderate conservatives to vote for Barack, though I bet the same facts and figures when combined with a little fire certainly will.

  • Hilarym99

    “but being reasonable isn’t the way it works with conservatives when it comes to changing their opinions. It isn’t just about being right, though that helps. It’s about how you fight for your cause and how you are right that matters.”

    Can you really make this claim about all conservatives? Maybe the ones you know…

    Some people listen to reason. Others don’t. Those characteristics aren’t bound by party lines.

    Certain lines of argument and methods of persuasion work better with different people. There is no one way to best argue. You’ve got to know who and what you’re arguing with first.

    • JasonEverettMiller

      I am talking about how it works in general based on the people that most conservatives tend to listen to. Of course not all things work with all people, but we can make some common sense observations based on what we have all seen.

      I am speaking of passion and persuasion for mass consumption, not the individual tweaks you need to make in a one-to-one situation. However, I think it is pretty safe to say that modern conservatives, as a group, tend to respect someone’s opinions if they are passionately held, even if they don’t agree.

      Based on the number of republican votes Barack got in primary, I would say that isn’t too far off the mark. Most Obamicans cite the fact they they don’t agree with Barack on issues but that the man is an eloquent and passionate speaker and shows qualities they are looking for in a leader.

      The reality of the electorate this year and what I have seen with individual republicans in my life makes this observation at least anecdotally true.