Last year, Barack Obama's campaign brought literally millions into the political arena that were never activated before. Now, his disastrous policies are bringing millions of conservative-minded folks into the world of political activism that were never inclined to do so. This is a great thing!!! I would guess that there are literally thousands who have discovered RedState in the last 6-9 months (heck, I only joined officially a little over 9 months ago myself). There are probably many more readers than those who have actually registered and commented/posted. There are probably an increasing number who show up for the first time each day to just read the posts. This is a great opportunity to educate folks and to inspire them into action.
However, many of them are not as "educated" in conservative doctrine as are many regular RedState posters. Like many of the folks Obama brought into the process, many of our newbies know only how they "feel" about certain issues or people. Many of these folks have gotten active because they fell in love with Sarah Palin. Many of them just have a gut-level distaste for Barack Obama, making them more inclined to believe the birth certificate conspiracy arguments. (I mention these two issues primarily because they have been the biggest controversial topics of late. There are any number of other issues that will crop up that will be similar emotional catalysts.)
If we want our conservative arguments to prevail, we need a big army! In this army will be officers and enlisted folks, planners and fighters, charge-leaders and back-room dealers. There is a need and room for many. And there will be many disagreements, some of which we've already seen. We must be careful not to alienate or chase away these new folks!!!!! Let me make this clear, I am 100% in favor of factual arguments. You think Sarah Palin has made mistakes or is finished with electoral politics, fine. Make that argument. You think she's great, make that argument. You think Obama's not eligible to be POTUS, fine, make that argument. You think the whole birth certificate issue has nowhere to go, great. Make that argument. (Full disclosure: I remain a huge Sarah Palin fan; and I believe that Obama was born in Hawaii.)
But RedState should not be an elitist site!! We want a big army, we need a big army. If we call Palin fans, especially those who are new and whose opinions are still largely "feelings-based", names (e.g. Palinbots) and ridicule them, they will leave our site (and likely political activism) for good. If we make fun of the folks who genuinely believe that Obama has not proven his eligibility (and believe me, I've met a good number of them, and they are a completely different, and more normal, group than the Paulites) and make cracks about "tinfoil hats", we will lose them as well. And believe me, every person who leaves RedState feeling put down or unwelcome will let their like-minded friends know how they were treated or how welcoming our site is.
So please, Redstaters, let's keep the conversation at this site thoughtful, incisive, witty, and fun. But please dispense with any third-grade name-calling. If I want that, I will go read HuffPo or some other such site.
Ta-ta for now, and see many of you in Atlanta!