Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our unpersuadeable relatives

How to argue politics with your redneck relatives...or not.

My brother in law is an avid Obama hater. I made the mistake of engaging him in a policy debate over tax reform. After several volleys, and me continually confronting him with the facts, he finally said, "I don't care about the facts! Obama is just wrong! Ok?

Don't confuse me with the facts... you're spoiling my theory! Well if you don't care about the facts, why am I bothering to debate with you in the first place when your final line of attack will be not fact based or rooted in reality. It will be along the lines of "your mother wears combat boots!" It will be personal and ad hominem argumentation, because the facts do not support your position.

There is an old law school adage. .."When the facts are on your side. pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law, When nothing is on your side, pound the table. " That's what Nikita Kruschev did at the UN. He literally took his shoe off and pounded the table with it! Well, look what happened to the USSR along the way. It wound up in the dust bin of history. Table pounding only gets you so far. We will bury you? Yeah right!

So, lesson learned. When you want to argue with your redneck friends and relatives, first, ask them to just ignore those "nattering nabobs of negativity" on daytime talk radio. Ask them to at least listen to the President for once. Listen to him. Just listen.

He makes sense, that President Obama. He does not make sense, that Mitt Romney. He can't even get his jargon right..."Severely conservative?"
What does that say about how , in his heart of hearts, he actually views Conservatism!

Let the Bush tax cuts expire? "That's not class warfare. That's just common sense"...Obama.
He has the ability and the willingness to tweak and fix things... Not just take a dogmatic approach. That's the essence of leadership. He's finally got a grip.

For example...the way he's beginning to define the debate. Take the issue of tax fairness. He is no longer willing to cede the stage to their agenda. and the Republicans have been reduced to name calling. The worst President ever, etc. ...the job killer...etc.

In the final analysis, the genius of our democracy has been the ability of the American public to see through the smokescreen, and to make sense of it all. The American electorate is the ultimate jury, and while they are occasionally swayed by the passion of the moment, it is a dispassionate analysis of the facts, and the search for truth, justice, and the American way which is their ultimate measuring stick . It is just that, at times, the smoke screen becomes so thick, it can cloud their reasoning, but when, and if the thick smoke settles, the American people will see through the fog of pure politics, and will do the right thing. Trust the voters. When all seems lost in a cacophony of negativity..trust the voters to figure it out, and they will.

So , to the 1/3 of the electorate who are not persuaded by the facts , I say, God bless you! I choose not to argue with you. It matters not because your mind is made up, and you are unpersuadable.There is another old adage. "never get in a wrestling match with a pig. The pig will squeal, slip away, and enjoy it, and you"ll just wind up with mud all over you".
I am not going to waste my time.

To the one third who agree with me, I say thanks. Hang in there.

To that middle one third, who will listen to reason, who are fair minded, and just want to do the right thing...hear my plea!

It is that portion of the electorate to whom the President must speak His mantra must be "Let me persuade you with the facts. Let me appeal to your passion for common sense solutions to our problems. Let me engage and enlighten you" . If he does, and if he speaks in a direct, clear, and common sense way...if he truly channels Harry Truman , not Adlai Stevenson, in the final analysis,, all will be well.

Keep your language simple, clear, concise, and direct, Mr. President. Keep saying things like " If everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody plays by the same rules, then everybody will get their fair share. " That is the American way.

Thank you, Mr. President . Keep talking truth to the American people. The curmudgeons will think it's hell. But we, the people, will know the difference. And our unpersuadable relatives? Oh well, we’ll love them anyway!