Why Compassion is both the Most Important—and Most Difficult—part of the Progressive Path.
By George Reed, for Clean Up On Aisle Four.
This is something of a cautionary tale. It is also a fairly interesting title to be turning up in what is often a somewhat stern blog, eh? Yeah. Want to know what we are doing here, folks? I’ll tell you what we are doing here. We are inserting the reality of how people are drawn to change, how they grieve bad decisions, and how they move forward. That is what we are doing here.
We can make a lot of noise by ourselves, but if we want true and lasting change, if we wish to prevent the worst of the far-right agenda and elect officials who will remember there are 66 million people disenfranchised by the last general election? Well, we’ll have to learn to think, plan, collaborate, and communicate differently. It is easier than you would believe!
Instead of striking out at every obnoxious gaffe coming out of the executive branch, let’s keep our minds, thoughts, and rants targeted to the actual rules, policies, budgets, and laws being promulgated with singular glee by the Republican Government. Focus on changes and outcomes and do not attack the crazy at the top. Everyone already knows there is crazy at the top. Their either are ignoring it or embracing it, but they are aware of it. Telling people what they already know—especially if they are secretly embarrassed by it–does not create an ocean of followers, it creates a crowd of people with fingers in their ears crying “Nanny Nonny, I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!” Not all that productive eh? As much as we want to scream and scold at those who bought into what has turned into the Make America Hate Again road show, we need to remember that the most compelling message never get’s read if it arrives attached to a burning bus.
A different way of approaching these turbulent times is to take the topics and issues one at a time and offer solutions that would be tolerable to both the liberal left and the centrist middle. It should also see to the basic needs of the right, but not necessarily in their favorite flavors. They can go to Baskin and Robbins for that.
Another thing we must consider is always bringing numbers to the table. Back up your point with numbers anyone who has met the consulting firm of Yahoo, Google, and Bing can replicate. Never make up numbers. Never have your budget be off by 3 trillion dollars. (Are you listening Mr. Trump?). Bad data destroys your point and alienates your audience.
When presenting a position on an issue, use a simple formula that has reached many a listener/reader for decades:
- Here is my issue
- Here is my Position
- Here are the data that back me up
- Here is how we do it
- Here is where you go for an exhaustive deep dive into this novel (or not) path forward.
If you use any more than that in the process of introducing your issue and resolution, the audience falls asleep, wanders off, or checks to see who liked their most recent Instagram post.
Get all age groups involved. This means you have to know who they are, where they are, and what they care about. You have to know how to reach them and do so in places and terms they can respect, consume, and engage with. If we fail in this last part we can all go home now, because that is ball game.
Finally, as Conservative voters get buyer’s remorse and start to wander over to our side (We do have better cookies) embrace them—do not chase them. People changing their political minds do it at their own pace and in their own comfort zone. They need to grieve over the bad decision they made, embrace a new way to approaching their needs and self-apply the new path. These excellent folks are like cats. If you chase a cat you either die tired, or you get the ruddy tar scratched out of you and they still escape.
Remember to offer the better cookies, a friendly welcome, and a place at the table.
Have compassion. No one writing or reading this article can ever claim to have never made a decision they did not want back later. Remember how that felt and apply it to your centrists who are tip toeing towards the progressive path.