The Strong Horse: By Charles Robertson, Co-founder Broward Tea Party
The Strong Horse July 2012
By: Charles Robertson, Co-founder Broward Tea Party
At our July 1st monthly meeting, Filmmaker Amar Salgia delivered a memorable presentation titled, “Why the Left Hates and How It Gets Others to Hate”. The lecture delivered a slew of concepts, principles, and examples; for me one stood out and stayed in my head for days. When discussing the characteristics of tribes it was the “Strong Horse Principle” that set me to thinking about how that principle applies to our Tea Party movement and our upcoming national election.
The principle states, “A tribe will quickly turn against a weak leader or ally and switch allegiance to another leader or ally who proves himself stronger, more beneficial, or more powerful.” In other words, people want to align themselves with a winner. In South Florida, we recently witnessed this phenomenon with the Miami Heat. Throughout the season the local interest level remains static but once the playoffs begin suddenly Heat fans emerge from everywhere. At the final victory, thousands of fans who couldn’t name the starting lineup are out in the streets honking horns and banging pots and pans. Quite simply, people get caught up in the excitement of winning, drawn by their tribalistic instincts to the strong horse. We’re witnessing that same excitement for the upcoming election, not necessarily for Mitt Romney, but more of an anti-Obama sentiment.
As a Tea Party leader, I’m continually monitoring the success of our group. The primary means for me to judge our success is by the attendance numbers. Outside of our Tea Party meetings, it’s impossible to measure how much our members are doing or how much impact we’re having. I can’t determine what percentage of our members are emailing or calling their Representatives, recruiting or volunteering in campaigns. Simple math tells me the more members who attend our meetings the more impact we are having overall. Likewise, the more members who show up for events like corner rallies and seminars, the surer I am that we’re making a difference. This is where the strong horse principle comes into play.
Last week at Broward’s busiest intersection, I witnessed our Broward Tea Party projecting our strong horse image. For two hours there were 17 of us holding signs and banners as we sent forth our message to the honking horns and cheers of many. Seventeen of us, though some came and went, let’s say 12 on average, were enough to send the message that our side is fired up; we care enough to hit the streets! There had to be hundreds of independent voters (the ones we’re mainly trying to reach) who may have thought that we were the strong horse that they should align with. It’s psychological, predictable, and worth repeating…people want to align themselves with a winner. We won that day by default; the other side wasn’t there.
As we close in on November’s election, we can count on the other side showing up to challenge us on most every front. Our message needs to be stronger; our dozen at the corner should have been several dozen. I heard numerous comments from motorists like, “keep up the fight”; I was tempted to say, “park your car over there and join us, this is your fight too!”
With the most important election of our lifetime looming, too many so called conservatives are content to let the Tea Party tackle the heavy lifting on our own. They don’t realize that we need more than just their vote. The coming election puts our divided country at a crossroads where roughly half of our fellow citizens wish to depart from the principles that formed our great republic; they’re being led there unknowingly, an even sadder commentary. We need activists to counter the liberal propaganda and we need people of character to counter the attraction to entitlement freebie giveaways. We need to go on the offensive and denounce those who would trade their liberty for dependency.
One of the problems we face is that most people would consider joining our movement a “sacrifice” of their time. Those of us who understand the history of our revolutionary patriots, who demonstrated true sacrifice, must feel that America has gone soft. Setting aside a few hours a month to get involved might be considered inconvenient, but hardly a sacrifice. At that busy intersection, as the cars kept passing, I wondered if these fellow citizens deserved the liberty they enjoy. I was certain there were patriots passing by, those who fought for our country and others who lost family and friends fighting for our freedom. I was just as certain (and heard their comments) that there were many who saw us as the problem with America. I saw a cross section of America drive by, uninvolved spectators in my mind. Just when I started to question why I was working for all of them, someone showed up to answer that question; her name was Tracy.
She too drove by, but then stopped, parked and joined us. Her excitement and enthusiasm was written on her face and came pouring out in her story. She talked passionately about our need to get Obama out of office and re-direct our country. I listened intently as she talked about her husband, a police officer, who risked his life to come to American from Cuba paddling a small leaking boat overcrowded with other freedom seekers. Drawn to the land of opportunity, the strong horse, she and her husband had seen what the weak horse delivered. She gave me her contact info and said she’ll be at our next meeting; I’m certain she will be. She understands the need and the importance of being involved in the political process. When she left, I felt energized and encouraged. I knew our presence on that corner was indeed making a difference. For everyone who reads this, my question to you is simple, “Are you doing all that you can to make a difference; are you sacrificing in this effort?” I hope you answered yes, because freedom isn’t just defended on a battlefield; it can also be fought for on a busy street corner.
**The “Why the Left Hates” presentation is available as a PDF file; please send request mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org