By Charles Robertson
It was in another endless waste of time meeting when I recalled my Dale Carnegie training; I still have the booklet titled “Meetings – Quicker & Better Results.” They laid out a great plan on how to streamline meetings by showing how to identify problems, find solutions and create a plan of action. The thought hit me that we need to apply this on a much larger scale, as this is exactly what our country needs. This idea started forming while I was listening to WFTL 850 AM’s Joyce Kaufman radio talk show. A caller was going off on Obama when Joyce correctly pointed out that Obama was not the problem. The problem, she said, “was the majority of voters elected a President who was a community organizer with no experience, no voting record, no history of sponsored legislation and no qualifications for the office other than charisma and good speaking skills”. I couldn’t agree more. So then, how do we fix this? This is where the booklet comes in; let’s follow the steps.
Step 1. Ask everyone, “What is the problem?” Getting a consensus on this can take awhile as people are frequently divided on what the problem is. Since I’m holding this meeting in my mind, identifying the problem is easy; it’s whatever I say it is. I say the problem is American values have changed (for the worse). I say this because American’s elect presidents who reflect their values. The candidate’s platform is America’s wish list. Our values shape what issues are most relevant and the politician’s focused group-tested responses are formulated based on what we value. Based on past election results, I’m reminded of a saying that I’d revise to explain our situation. The saying goes, “Second marriages are the triumph of hope over experience.” As applied to politics, I’d rewrite this to say, “Barack Obama represents the triumph of hope and change over traditional American values.” Americans have come to ignore the resume’ and instead focus on the superficial…the feeling. What are the causes of this problem? Well, that’s step 2.
In step 2, everyone offers possible causes of the problem. I hear a lot of voices in my head (getting crowded in there) listing the causes. I’ll start the list:
Hopefully, you’re in agreement with some of these possible causes to our problems, because now you’re being invited in for the more important second half of the meeting, Step 3. The 3rd Step requires you to offer possible solutions. I need you to respond to this blog with your solution(s). I’ll list them, with your name, in the next blog. I’ll list everyone’s solution no matter how crazy it may sound, and then we’ll move to step 4. In step 4, we’ll select the best possible solution, which may be one idea or a combination of several. The final solution becomes our plan of action, because we’re here to act not study. With that in mind, let’s keep our solutions specific, doable, and local. We the people of the Tea Party need to step forward and fight to restore our values that are under attack. You joined to make a difference and now you’re being called to do just that. I’m waiting on your reply. Please, send your responses to: info@theBrowardTeaParty.com
Presentations: "The Broward Tea Party's Mission for the Future: Activism,Education,and Recruitment" "Local Activism,Local Issues,and Planned Upcoming BTP Events...and How We Counter Attacks from the Left" "Recruiting New Members and Getting New Ideas"
By: Charles Robertson, co-founder Broward Tea Party
The event was our neighborhood Thanksgiving potluck dinner. After dinner, the conversation turned to the election, the economy, and the Tea Party; it was a typical Liberal versus Conservative conversation. Two of my neighbors recited the standard liberal talking points… no surprise there. What did surprise me were their comments on the Tea Party.
When the conversation was focused on the economy, there was significant agreement on the causes. I made a strong argument that our government’s problem was spending related, not the need to increase tax revenues. That led to my sales talk and explanation on how the Tea Party came to be. I talked about our single-minded commitment to our 3 core values; free markets, constitutionally limited government, and fiscal responsibility. I also made sure to mention that we primarily focused on those issues, not social issues; my friends looked surprised. When I mentioned that our membership included a large percentage of Independents and Libertarians and even a handful of Democrats, the response was total surprise.
What I heard was, “we thought the Tea Party was part of the Republican Party.” They thought they knew what the Tea Party was about. With all the negative press that’s been directed at the Tea Party, that was understandable. Still, this response highlighted what the Tea Party is up against and what needs to be done. While we’ve been selflessly working for candidates, primarily all Republicans, our Tea Party has been neglected. Valuable time and money was spent on campaigns with little to show for it. That effort was understandable and we’ll no doubt continue this for future campaigns, but now is the time to focus on Tea Party team building and image promotion.
My neighbors were in agreement that we need to get our message out. They support our agenda and would be Tea Party supporters if our image was accurately portrayed. After all, who wants to be tied to a bigoted, extremist, homophobic, racist, bomb throwing organization? That’s how we’ve been labeled and even though most people see through this typical Liberal slander, there still remains a mainstream misunderstanding perpetrated by the relentless negative media coverage. So where is the Tea Party counter-attack? I’ve yet to see a Tea Party TV commercial, billboard, or radio ad. With our economy continuing on a downward plunge, more of our neighbors are growing concerned. They’re a step away from getting involved. If the Tea Party had any marketing in place, we’d become a magnet for this growing group of concerned, disgruntled citizens.
If we were able to manage a major marketing campaign, what would we consider a success? For our Broward Tea Party, drawing 200 members to our monthly meetings would more than double our attendance and no doubt, most everyone would consider that successful. I’d consider it a good start. Think about this, every weekend in Broward County in hundreds of churches and synagogues, tens of thousands, perhaps several hundred thousand people attend services. Now I’m certainly not equating religion with fiscal activism but I do find a striking disparity in what people will do for God versus Country. Our country is in peril, and the Tea Party should be the loudest voice, the most visible advocate for the solution. When our government drives our economy over the cliff and everyone is seeking hope, answers, and leadership, the Tea Party needs to be the “lighthouse” that everyone turns to.
In my head, I have a vision of a Tea Party TV ad. The ad opens with vandals emptying a food store followed by scenes of street violence, bread lines, gas prices at $8.00 per gallon, stock market collapse, prices that show hyperinflation, and unemployment at 25% (same as the Great Depression). The commentary would lay out all the destructive results of fiscal irresponsibility then point towards the cause of the problem. The scene would shift to a montage of politicians, leading the viewer to think they’re the problem. The commentator would say, “They’re not the problem, YOU’RE the problem. YOU elected them to fix this, they’ve failed us miserably, and YOU haven’t held them accountable.” The scene would shift to the Broward Tea Party Members speaking in unison, “We’re the solution, we have a plan, but we need YOU!” Perhaps a slogan like, “Put YOU in Charge” or “Fix America Now” would provide a memorable conclusion.
The idea is to urge people to action and position the Tea Party as the leader and source for positive change. Only months ago, many in our ranks were spurred into action with the excitement and possibilities of political change. It’s hard to replicate that excitement. Following our November disappointment, it’s been even harder to motivate others to work as hard for a cause; people support candidates not causes. That would quickly change in a fiscal collapse; which may be imminent. The time to build our “lighthouse” is now. It’s time to dust ourselves off, roll up our sleeves, and work as we did months ago. We need fundraising efforts to fund our ads. We need creative events to draw attention and boost membership. In short, we need to put YOU in charge to fix America now. If we work as hard on building our Tea Party as we did on campaigns, the payoff will be there; we win, no vote count needed!
Please reference Charles’ other blog postings; they can be found under Recent Posts on the left-hand column.
*The Undecided: 10/24/2012; *The Fence-Sitter: 09/24/2012; *The Strong Horse: 07/22/2012; *Selling the Tea Party, Part 2: 04/19/2012; *Selling the Tea Party, Part1: 03/19/2012; *The Action Step: 03/02/2012; *The Coming Storm: 02/10/2012
“Eyes Wide Open” by Kristin Matheny
“The Day The Line Was Drawn”
When we moved into our new house back in August, we were immediately greeted by several of our neighbors. All of them were the warmest, friendliest people we’d ever had the pleasure of living near. The woman across the street is from India, and she never fails to ask us to “help her” eat all of the delicious Northern Indian food she makes on a regular basis (like she has to twist our arms)! She brings us snacks every few days, and I try desperately to keep up by baking her gingersnaps whenever I can. Other neighbors stand outside to chat with us, have invited us over for coffee, and one recently invited us for a ride in his recently redone 1954 mint green Chevrolet Thunderbird.
We were, however, warned about our next door neighbor.
There is a middle-aged couple that lives next to us, and we were told that they almost never leave their house, and they never say hi or make any effort to socialize. “That’s okay, we used to live in a neighborhood like that,” I kept saying for days. Then, soon after moving in, I was unloading groceries (and my son) from my car one day, and I heard the crunching of grass behind me. I turned around and my reclusive next door neighbor stood a few feet away.
“Hi! It’s great to finally meet you, I’m Kristin…” I began.
“You’re the new family,” he interrupted, without even a hello. “I just wanted you to know that we never had problems with the older couple that lived here before you, and I see that you have a little one…” he said, pointing to John Holden, who waved to him from his car seat.
“Yes, and another on the way,” I said, pointing to my belly, mustering a smile.
“Well, little ones make noise. If you ever decide to have kids over or have a party or anything, let me know so we can leave for the day.” He never cracked even the slightest grin.
I was dumbfounded. “Okay,” was all I could spit out without being rude.
He turned around and trudged back to his yard, yelling “thank you” over his shoulder.
Three or four days later (and a week or two after moving in), my husband noticed that he was peeping through the backyard hedges into our yard as Eric stood on our patio with the dogs. “Can your dogs go to the bathroom anywhere else?” he said, firmly.
“Well no, this is their yard. But I assure you, we clean up their messes every night,” Eric said, confused. “Plus, you can’t really see through the bushes.”
Twenty four hours later, we got three separate notices from our Home Owners Association for various “violations” regarding the dogs…none of which broke any of the rules set forth by the HOA bylaws.
Over the last few months, we have both seen our neighbors spying on us through the hedge. Each time we let the dogs out, each time I take John Holden onto the patio, I see a pair of legs standing, facing me, face hidden behind a thick wall of leaves. I’ve even tried to sarcastically wave and ask “can I help you?” a few times, only to see the legs turn and walk back into the house.
Does this situation sound familiar? It should. Hopefully you have wonderful neighbors, neighbors who are like all the other neighbors we’ve got. It’s almost comical that the people who live, eat, work, play, watch television, and go to sleep at night just feet from where we do all of those things could maintain such a different, contrary existence to our own. Without ever saying hello, introducing themselves, or issuing any sort of a greeting, they instantly managed to forever divide us- not just in terms of the physical boundaries of our yard lines, but personally.
As conservatives, we are privy to this sort of action on a constant basis. We listen more than others, we observe more. We’ve been well-aware for years (maybe for a decade or more) that a “Great Divide” was forming, cracking and crumbling its way through the very foundation of our “Union” like a fault line. We’re aware of its gradual formation, we feel the “tremors”, even a few “earthquakes”, shaking both sides of the fault line to the very core.
November 6, 2012 was the date of the biggest earthquake of all.
On November 7, we were shaken, anxious, surveying the damage from the previous evening’s nightmares. I felt like I had walked right up to the chasm and looked down into a pit of darkness, deeper than anything I’d ever seen or experienced. I was forever on one side with “my group”, and there was an equally-large group on the other side, staring back at us with animosity.
America has somehow managed to divide itself along fault lines that are just too obscure to recognize. If only it was simple enough to say that we were “geographically divided” or divided by income, class, gender, race, background, religion…it’s not so, no matter what the “Other Side” wants you to believe. That sort of division would be convenient and easy, but it’s not the truth.
We are divided culturally, and though we’ve seen this same story repeated throughout our history, it’s the first time within my personal experience that I’ve witnessed this sort of strange phenomenon. My generation- kids who were born in the early 80’s- were born into the economic rebuilding period manifested by Ronald Reagan…but were too young to remember what any of that meant.
Most of my generation is still young, and I’d go out on a limb to say that we are incredibly, shamefully naïve. Many of my friends and the people I grew up with, went to college with, and went to law school with, are not married. They have no intention of having children. They rent apartments and live in big cities “up north”. Some have jobs, but the ones that don’t are still in school…at 30 years old. They will admit to you in a heartbeat that the only reason they decided to stay in school and keep accruing degrees was because they simply did not know what to do with their lives, and they were afraid to take the risk of finding a job and paying for…well…life.
I do have friends who are young parents, like me, who have children, are married (or engaged), pay mortgages, stay home or have decided to go back to work. Only a few of them are politically aware. Most of them live in their happy bubbles, which is okay…until you realize that most of these “bubbleheads” were the source of most of the angry complaining on Facebook and Twitter regarding all of the “constant election news” and the political posts (by friends like me, presumably). Happy…ignorant…don’t want to get involved…claim to be independent…non-committal, not taking sides, not angering anyone…
These people voted for Obama. Overwhelmingly. I know this, I’ve talked to them. The people who are 30 or 35 years old and still in graduate school, or interning, or living at home…a lot of them voted for Obama, too.
I taught high school English and Debate for six years before taking a break to be a stay-at-home mom. I taught hundreds and hundreds of teenagers, the generation directly “below” mine. These kids were technologically inundated, somewhat savvy…and lazy. They cheated their way through school with much more ease and fluidity than my generation. They had access to so much more- smartphones, cars, laptops…shoot, government money for college. Very few had jobs. They talked incessantly about reality shows- “Jersey Shore”, “Bad Girls Club”, celebrity gossip, the Kardashians.
Now, these kids are in school- or freshly graduated- and are living at home, or interning, or searching aimlessly for jobs in a market that is flooded with other college graduates with zero work experience, people just like them.
THESE people voted overwhelmingly for Obama too.
“But why?” we conservatives on our slowly-drifting “iceberg” of America asked for the last four…maybe eight…years. “THESE people, the young family people, the young people looking for work, the young women who are suffering the very worst from unemployment, the college students…THESE people should be overwhelmingly seeing what we see. They should be listening to the news, seeing what is happening in terms of inflation, taxes, home prices- these are the issues that affect them, as they affect us all!”
Were you as frustrated as I was? I lost friends and isolated myself in many circles by trying desperately to draw attention to what mattered.
THE REASON THEY VOTE THE WAY THEY DO IS BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN DISTRACTED. And because of that distraction, they have been duped. And because they have been duped, the rest of us were forced to swallow hard and watch helplessly as that chasm grew and grew into a Great Divide.
If you turned on the radio or tv during this election season, you probably noticed a vast difference between the commercials for conservative vs. liberal candidates. While we conservatives made this election about the economy…which is precisely WHAT this election was about…liberals made it about, well, everything else.
Democrats made this election about uteruses and a “War on Women”. They made it about free birth control. They made it about immigration amnesty. And race. They made it about free phones and “student loan forgiveness” (pardon me while I laugh hysterically). They made it about bringing multicultural issues and diversity to our schools. They made it about gay marriage and foreign policy photo ops. They made it about omitting Judeo-Christian values and proclaiming that these values were intolerant (again, I laugh). They made it about preserving park lands and adding amendments and provisions to our Constitution.
The trouble is not that these things are relevant…the trouble is that they are fun, shiny, dangling objects that all of these young, easily-distracted, overly-technological, overly-sensitized people noticed. They gobbled these up. Women were distracted by the message that the Democrats wanted them to have access to free birth control, Planned Parenthood, whatever. Students and new graduates who can’t find work (hello??) were distracted by the idea that they could keep getting “handouts” and their student loans would be forgiven. Anybody who didn’t subscribe fully to Judeo-Christian beliefs was easily distracted by this faux “all-inclusive” image the Democratic Party projected, as were gays and lesbians who fell in line lock step behind the blatantly false idea that Republicans are anti-gay and “intolerant”.
Regardless of all of the utter garbage that was being spewed, the astounding lack of truth in pretty much every superfluous claim made by the Left, every niche group found a shiny “distraction”, completely oblivious and ignorant about the fiscal cliff- the economic meltdown- that had been building under this President and his cohorts in Congress.
These “issues” never mattered, and they continue to mean nothing in light of the fact that NOTHING can be done, accomplished, or resolved without the entangled, twisted, dire mess of an economy being sorted out. Nothing. Without a stable economy and a tight budget, NO ONE will ever be able to find a job or buy a house. Without serious sanctions on how “Big Government” spends our tax dollars, there will be zero funds available for student loans, welfare, or handouts of any kind. School Districts are “drying up” financially as we speak. Who will be able to get married, adopt, have children, raise a family, or even immigrate to this country if they aren’t able to afford basic necessities like gas, electric, and groceries? How will anyone be able to receive treatment for diseases that the world has deemed “curable” if everyone has access to subpar medical care and doctors cannot afford to practice because government payout is too slow and inefficient? What capable, bright mind would ever want to become a doctor?
The solution is vague so far, but the problem is not within the Republican Party. I’ve been paying attention to every liberal news outlet over the last few days, each calling for “drastic reforms” in the Party, declaring that none of our candidates are electable. Garbage. That is complete garbage. Are we really going to listen to the same people who submarined our candidates in the first place?
The future of our Party- and of an American Comeback- is not in “reuniting”, bipartisan compromises, or simply shrugging and accepting the Great Divide and the horrifying fiscal cliff that has risen as a result. I beg to differ, at the risk of sounding controversial. The problem lies within the culture of America and how we, as conservatives, approach and address this culture of the “Other Side”.
It’s a “Jersey Shore”, “Forgive My Student Loans!”, “Leave My Uterus Alone” Culture…one that has evolved, regardless of anything we tried to accomplish. Despite our energy and keen message, this “Other America” is one that has been successfully distracted by messages and issues that appeal to selfishness. These issues affect smaller groups, have immediate impact, and are interesting to hear about.
No one wants to hear about the fiscal cliff. No one wants to listen to economists and investment specialists. They’d rather listen to professors who have no knowledge of private sector anything, continuing to walk through the “mess on the kitchen floor” without having to pick it up, so to speak. “We’ll just let someone else clean this up…”
Who? Our children? Us…in four years, or eight years, or twenty years?
They simply have not grasped that this problem is the ONLY problem that affects ALL of us, and it is the only problem that will affect us all so greatly in the future that we will have no discernible future to speak of, and certainly no whiff of liberty.
The issue is not the Party, it’s the culture of America. How do we make everyone appreciate the severity of this Great Divide, and the looming financial death on the horizon? Right now, is it even possible?
The problem is that so few of us have had to deal with what is coming our way. I admit that I’ve never had to deal with the kind of crisis that this election will inevitably spawn, but fear and an intense desire to unplug my ears and hear the (real) “inconvenient truth” of what will happen next is enough to jar me into action.
It would make things much easier if my neighbor had been a kinder, more welcoming person. But he’s not. That’s just the way it is. The lines have been drawn, and as much as I hate that, I can’t change it.
All I can continue to do is lead by example. And action. Last night, we decided to take a walk around our neighborhood in the crisp air, and my husband noticed some plastic wrappers in their yard, blown from the garbage can earlier in the day. He stooped to pick them up. I looked at him, confused, and he simply said, “eh, hopefully they saw me do that”.
The issue is not the Republican Party, or the conservative voice…and the issue is not the message. We have a solid message, it’s the only message we can deliver- one of fiscal responsibility and a strong Constitution. The issue is letting the “Other Side” SEE the message, to make it relevant and attractive to them. They’ve been tricked so well, and instead of harping on our own issues, they must understand that they’ve been tricked…for reasons they’ll never understand (and neither will we).
The Great Divide is possibly permanent, but who’s to say that we can’t help people cross the gap and join us on our side?
Our time is limited, but I propose that we start trying. Today.
We need people to Rally on Sunday. He’s speaking at the McArthur High School. Romney victory office needs 100 volunteers to meet on the corner of Hollywood Blvd./Pines Blvd. & 64th Way, directly across the street from McArthur High School (6501 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, FL 33024) West of Turnpike. Between Johnson St. and Pines Blvd. Protest meeting Time: 10:30 AM. Please spread the word and share.
Volunteers needed as Poll Greeters, to make Phone Calls, and for Neighborhood Door-to-Door Walks.
Kevin Cooper: 954-587-3734 at Karen Harrington’s Campaign office.
Rico Petrocelli: 954-931-0242 at the Broward GOP Action Victory Center in Pembroke Pines.
TOTAL WINE & MORE
15980 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, Fl., 33027
Sign-in/Meet & Greet: 7:15 pm
Meeting Starts: 7:30 pm
*Please bring a snack or treat to share; Greatly Appreciated!
**Sodas, water, & coffee provided.
BRING A FRIEND, GUESTS MOST WELCOME!
The Undecided: By Charles Robertson, Co-founder Broward Tea Party
After the last presidential candidate debate, TV coverage on FOX and CNN shifted to focus groups of undecided voters. My thought was, “how in the world can people be undecided at this point?” The two candidates, Obama and Romney, are ideological opposites. What are these people looking for in the debate; style points, a slip of the tongue, maybe some free special offers? I have a beef with these people and some explanations that they won’t like.
The first explanation is laziness; they simply won’t make the effort to learn what the candidate’s platforms are. Their approach is, skip the work and go straight to the Cliffs Notes – the debates. This superficial judgment process ignores the fundamental differences and focuses on the fluff. To these undecided voters, all politicians are the same and whoever looks, sounds, and acts the most presidential wins! Many of these undecided voters will tell you they’re looking to see how the candidates respond to voter questions. Really! I’ve yet to hear anything from either candidate that they haven’t said before. Every question has been anticipated and answered with a canned response that has been crafted by focus groups and a team of PR experts. This may be new to our undecided voters, but only because they’ve just joined the game.
Another reason there are fence-sitters is that they like to feel politically important. These people relish the attention as if their single vote would create victory. They enjoy talking, usually armed with superficial talking points, about the pros and cons of each candidate. Maybe they want others to plead with them for their vote, maybe they enjoy appearing to be an even-handed centrist, or maybe these are the type of people who just can’t make a decision.
No one can argue the importance of the debates. Romney’s poll numbers took off after the first debate. It was as if millions of Americans saw him for the first time. “Where were these people during the primary?” Apparently, Americans like the spectacle of debate, as if it were just another reality TV show. In Round One, Mitt Romney did a great job of laying out the president’s record. What I find amazing though, is that we’ve all been living with that record for the past 3 ½ years. Do Americans need someone to condense our history and feed it back to us in bullet points? It scares me to think how fragile a candidate’s campaign is when one verbal blunder can conceivably destroy their chances. How easily the masses can overlook a candidate’s experience, record, and political philosophy.
My final theory on undecided voters is simple; they’re bandwagon-jumpers. They want to wait until the last minute so they can side with the most likely winner. The “Strong Horse Principle” comes into play; people are drawn to winners because that makes them feel like a winner. Many among us are attracted to a movement that is gaining momentum. For these emotionally invested individuals, their underlying reason for their vote is as simple as – “it felt right.” If pressed, they’ll offer various reasons, but really they’re just following their heart.
As Election Day draws near, I suppose I should temper my frustration with the reality that is unfolding. Those same independents that were swayed by the hope and change of 2008 are now shifting to Romney. I believe Romney will win by a 3-4 point margin and we’ll be faced with a new challenge. Assuming I’m correct, the next Tea Party challenge will be holding our next group of politicians to deliver on their promises, to do the hard work that needs to be done. The Tea Party needs to continue to press on to elect more conservatives that represent our core values. We need a congressional majority to deliver a balanced budget, restore fiscal responsibility, and secure our future. I hate to be a pessimist, but I’ve seen this happen before. Conservatives gain power and Tea Party interest declines as most people think the work is done. This will be the time when the Tea Party needs to grow and push harder than ever to forward our agenda. We will finally have a sympathetic leadership that can accomplish our work. This will only happen if we keep the heat on.
We need to make the most of our time and work smart. Towards that goal, in my last blog I sent out a request to my readers; I asked for replies to measure our readership and I asked for your estimate on respondents. There were 11 replies. Thanks go out to: David Brundage, Tammy Donley, Melanie Marshall, Lee Levin, Kate Andrews, Jim Weber, Sandy, Frank Sarli, Rosetta Bailey, Loretta Hedberg, and Wei Li. Based on the numbers you provided we estimated a 47% response rate which means I’m actually reaching an estimated audience of 17. This tells me I need to shift my efforts to a more productive activity. The only thing that would have me reconsider my decision is if I saw a handful of our readers step up and contribute some blogs, also. Seeing others join your efforts is invigorating and just what our movement needs. We are a team that needs to hear other voices. Please step up and let’s keep this going. You can forward your blog entries to: mail to:email@example.com
“Our success only happens if committed individuals like you make it happen!”
By: Charles Robertson, Co-founder Broward Tea Party
This is a test, but relax it’s not graded and there’s no studying required. The purpose of this test is to measure our blogging effectiveness. I’m going to find out our readership number which is important for several reasons. First of all I want to be sure I’m reaching enough audience to make the effort worthwhile. I’m not a naturally gifted writer, as though I had to point that out, and these blog entries generally take me a few hours each. That’s time that might be better spent elsewhere. On the other hand, if our readership is reaching a sizable audience we can promote that number to attract more writers and expand our outreach.
So how do I conduct this test? The simplest way I know is to ask everyone who reads this to send me an email. Of course for a variety of reasons, not everyone will comply, so I’ll ask your help in coming up with a number. The number I’m asking you for is what percentage of readers will respond. I’ll average this out from all respondents and use a multiplier to estimate the readership. For example, if 35 people respond and the average of their numbers is 50 we’ll assume that to be correct, that we’re getting a 50% response rate. Applying that percentage to our number of respondents, we arrive at an estimated readership of 70. So at the end of this article, my request is this, send me a quick email (email provided below) with your number, I’ll publish the results.
Reaching a large audience is great but who are we reaching? Probably not the ones we’d like to reach. Our blogs and those who pick them up are read by fellow conservatives. So, how do we reach independents and liberals? I’m thinking – trade, we can approach a liberal or conservative blog site and offer an even exchange of blogs to be posted on each other’s sites. I recall Point Counterpoint or Hannity & Colmes; we could pick a topic and go at it. The big question is would we have any impact, would we change minds?
My theory on your political viewpoint is this: You are what you read. Tell me what you read and where you get your news and I’ll tell you your political inclinations. People gravitate to those news sources that support their perspective. We like affirmation and support for our point of view, which is why it is so hard to break through to people with a contrasting ideology. Any information that comes to us from a source outside of our trusted sources is suspect. Statistics can be spun and manipulated to support any position. Even if liberals are reading our words, are they accepting our facts and considering our points? So the challenge remains, would this approach get through, would we change minds?
“The pen is mightier than the sword,” so the saying goes, but this was written at a time before TV, Internet, and Twitter. Is it still relevant? When this adage was coined in 1839, and for a century thereafter, the print media was the primary source of news. Today we get our news wherever and whenever we want it. Unfortunately, to the detriment of society, we’re getting less news and more opinion. A new generation forms their political opinions from shows on political comedy; rather than quoting a TV Anchor, this generation is far more likely to refer to Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, or Stephen Colbert. Not only is print media suffering with newspaper subscriptions declining everywhere, but our traditional TV news sources are losing ground to pseudo sources. Political news is now packaged in funny sound-bites with an overwhelming liberal bias. Go ahead, Google: top 10 Political Comedy. If not for Dennis Miller it would be a 10-0 liberal sweep.
I included Twitter among the listed news sources as this growing trend is symbolic of our media and cultural decline. Let’s start with the superficial limited length of 140 characters. Blogs go slightly further but these are no editorial length pieces that scrutinize an issue in depth. This condensed news delivered in the new fun-size, is crafted for our dumbed down culture and their limited attention span. The other main problem is that with so many media options, political news has become something one must seek out. The problem is we used to get political news by default; it came with our limited choices. Now that you have to look for it, most people don’t. Ironically, there are now more sources for political news (which has become more opinion) and fewer options for unbiased, no spin, factual reporting.
Now that we’ve identified our media problems and limitations, the question comes full circle. Is it worth a few hours to compose a blog entry? Is this the best use of time and the best approach? The answer will come from you and maybe some suggestions, too. Perhaps we should start our own internet radio-talk show; maybe that would reach more people. The only thing I can promise is at least one more blog entry where I discuss the results, share your input, and deliver my future course of action. Please email your number (% who you think will respond to this) and ideas to: info@TheBrowardTeaParty.com
“A Shakespearean Happy Ending (But This One Involves Karen Harrington and Mitt Romney)”
“Eyes Wide Open”, Blog by Kristin Matheny
“Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.”
-Macbeth, Act I, Scene iii
I just had a conversation with my husband about reading Shakespeare.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before he would receive the inevitable “it’s actually really fantastic if you give it a whirl” bit. I spent years convincing video game-loving, “rather be outside on my skateboard” high schoolers that Shakespeare was worth the trouble. My husband, however, has proved himself to be my toughest customer of all. Eight years, no Shakespeare. Not even a whiff of Iago. Or Hamlet, for that matter.
“Look. Start with Macbeth. I chose it as a class reading when I taught ninth grade English for a good reason.” It is my absolute, hands-down favorite Shakespeare work. Not only is it the bloodiest of Shakespeare’s plays (guaranteed to illicit a few “aw, gross, AWESOME!” responses from the ninth grade boys, who were especially tough-to-sell), but it incorporates lots of the paranormal, lots of lunatic characters (Lady Macbeth, anyone?). It’s a wonderfully hot mess!
The best part of the story, though, is the ending. It is, by far, one of the most satisfying endings of any story ever written. Good truly triumphs, and rightful, moral characters retain power and glory. It is the way I wish life was.
My point here is that this conversation had me thinking. Yes, I could stoop to Liberal-esque, sensationalist levels and I could make terrible, mean-hearted comparisons between the more sensationally-depraved characters and various politicians and pundits around the country. But I won’t do that. Instead, I’m going to focus on the idea that Good really should triumph over everything else. It’s about time that we start looking ahead towards our own “Shakespearean Happy Ending”.
I live right down the street from Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The first time I took my 22 month-old son for a walk around our neighborhood, we passed her house and I got a lump in my throat. Her car is plastered with Obama stickers, liberal social issue stickers. “Wasserman Schultz” signs currently lie in piles around her garage, I’m guessing for neighbors to take and display.
I cringed. My stomach actually flipped a little. Somewhere, I prayed that she’d come out to welcome us to our new neighborhood…and I prayed that I’d have the strength to welcome her to MY REALITY.
I devised exactly what I’d say in my head.
My husband, who supports our family because we’ve made the choice for me to stay home with our son, pays exorbitant small business taxes that she voted to raise, time and time again. She practically led the charge with Mr. Obama himself to effectively punish successful, industrious small business owners. Then she completely backhanded the millions and millions of us that suffer and struggle to be the lifeblood of this economy when she emphatically backed up her buddy when he claimed that we “didn’t build that” ourselves. Please.
I’d introduce her to my beautiful son, who is faced with inheriting this ball-and-chain of an economy that is gradually becoming more socialized, less American Dream-oriented, thanks to her policies and the policies of the President and cronies in Washington she so fiercely supports.
I’d say that my husband is Jewish, and we’ve chosen to raise our son Christian (like me), but to love, honor, and respect Jewish traditions and practices. As a conservative who is fervently protective of Israel, teaching my son the same thing will be difficult as our current Administration is, without question, the most anti-Israel of all time. Our relations with our strongest ally have become increasingly strained thanks to her friend Obama’s continuously shameful attitude towards the Israeli people and diplomacy with its leaders…and her constant votes and efforts to deny Israel access to weapons and jets in order to defend itself (and us) against our shared enemies abroad.
I’d also bring up the fact that her track record of voting in favor of limiting state and local law enforcement power and increasing unbridled amnesty for illegal immigrants is essentially destroying the very schools we had planned to send our son to, not to mention that law-abiding, tax-paying members of our society (and in her very own district) are taxed to death, struggling to offset the enormous amount of bleeding our economy is experiencing at the hands of these illegal immigrants. At this rate, there will be no school left suitable for us to send our son to, and no money to enroll him in the type of school he deserves to attend.
(Not that she would know or appreciate any of this, as she rarely visits her home district- yes, I know this for a fact- and she is not actually FROM here, anyway. No one is more phenomenally out-of-touch with their constituents than our very own DWS.)
Then I’d finally interject that the only- I mean ONLY- regret I maintain when it came to having our son was the fact that he was born into an Obama Presidency, in Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s district.
I felt like a Shakespearean character in one of his famed tragedies- downtrodden, riddled with fear. Who wouldn’t feel that way? After all, those of us who live in this country, and in Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s District, have every right to feel this type of misery.
I met Karen Harrington very briefly in March of 2011, right after she had finally made the decision to run against Debbie once again. She impressed me then, but it wasn’t until a year later that I got to know who Karen really is and what she stands for- and why I support her wholeheartedly.
Throughout the primary process, I personally met all of the other Republican candidates running against Karen, and while most seemed personable, Karen’s background, personality, and real sense of “fight” spoke right to my soul. Karen comes from a family-oriented, small business background. She has had to deal with the same setbacks and crippling taxes that that I was all too familiar with. Her values and beliefs are right in line with mine- conservative to the core.
She is the only candidate who can answer any question you throw at her with facts and comprehension, and is much more than a “one-trick pony”. She is unbelievably well-versed in just about every classic conservative AND Tea Party issue, from taxes to tradition. She is staunchly pro-Israel, she is staunchly anti-illegal amnesty. She weathered a barrage of unfounded (and sometimes just laughably inane) attacks from her opponents with dignity, not engaging in smear tactics of her own…only to very decisively win the nomination and continue on to defeat DWS next month.
She has challenged her opponent to a series of debates, which her opponent has declined to address or take part in…
…an opponent who has called herself “an open book” (try not to laugh if you’ve been following her financial and tax-related exploits or any of her tabloid-worthy rants about Tea Party rallies she criticized but never actually attended, among other “fun facts”). She just loves to talk of transparency and her so-called “record of victory”. Frankly, I’d call it a “record of”…well…something else.
You’d think a person with that kind of confidence, three terms in office, and a such high-level position with the DNC would not be fearful of confronting the issues…or her opponent. Right?
I decided to volunteer for Karen’s campaign last spring, and one day I actually got to ride with Karen herself while we went door-to-door. She was laughing right along with me as I told “kid stories”. She went on and on about Davie, about Broward, about how much she loved the place we both call home. She’s from here, she raised her kids here, and most importantly, she would be serving the very community that gave her so much to begin with. She absolutely did not have to “sell” me on anything- I was already a devoted Karen fan- but her tone changed and she became angrily resolved when she talked about the direction in which our country is headed.
It’s easy to forget that you’re talking to Karen Harrington, the person who is trying to (and deserves to) unseat the all-powerful, much-maligned Debbie Wasserman Schultz. There is no snobbery, no unnecessary explanatory tactics, no vocabulary meant to confuse. No smear campaigns with her endorsement, never a razzle-dazzle website meant to spread lies about her opponents. She is wicked smart, seriously funny, truly kind, and genuinely determined future Congresswoman. She relies on her ideas, and she can because they’re great. She’s not afraid to speak her mind. She’s the real deal.
She is the opposite of her opponent.
At the end of Macbeth, the Scottish empire is restored to righteousness from the grip of a greedy, selfish man. I’m certainly not drawing direct comparisons between life and art. Perhaps life is not as dramatic as Shakespeare’s works.
But perhaps it is.
We have our own Shakespearean tragedy taking place, the stage being set in Florida’s very own District 23. Not only are we suffering at the hands of a supremely out-of-touch President, a gang of liberal lawmakers (and even some useless “conservative” ones, too) who push their socialistic agendas- or do nothing to stop them, certainly. Our representation right here in our very own District (and in my very own neighborhood, for crying out loud!) is pathetic and nonexistent. What representation? Who is Debbie Wasserman Schultz representing, other than herself, a tired and backwards ideology, and a Presidency that has been nothing but a series of unmitigated disasters…and, as DNC Chair, a party that will stop at nothing to ignore logic and truth?
I’m now pregnant with our second son, due on January 24th, right after the Inauguration.
Nothing will upset me more than if I have to watch Barack Obama retain the power that he should have never had in the first place. I will not stand for it, and I will not wait around to watch Debbie Wasserman Schultz make even more heartbreaking decisions that further degrade our futures from her seat in the House of Representatives. All our kids and grandkids deserve better than that. A happy ending must come.
I plastered my car and our home windows with Karen Harrington signs, Romney stickers, American and Tea Party Gadsden flags. I ignored our HOA regulations when I saw that Debbie and her neighbors had stuck signs in their yards…and I put a big, glossy Karen Harrington sign in my yard, right next to my big Romney sign. If she won’t play by their rules, I won’t be forced to either. I have no problem admitting that we’re trying to make a point. I freely wear my Karen Harrington for Congress t-shirt in my neighborhood. I wore it proudly with my Romney/Ryan baseball cap today- with my son sporting his brand new “Wee-publican” shirt! I want Debbie to know exactly who has moved into her neighborhood, and I want her to know exactly who will be defeating her in November and taking her seat in Congress shortly after.
By the way, many of my neighbors have expressed their quiet solidarity.
I hope she does come out to welcome me to the neighborhood. I can’t wait. I’d love to have a conversation with her.
I can’t wait to tell her about Macbeth, and about exactly how this Shakespearean tale is going to end.