Red State During The Political Season: My Lessons Learned
I am writing this post because of some of the posting and especially the commenting I am starting to see here at Red State. I have been here over 5 years. I am not sure exactly when I started. I think it was 2003 or 2004, but I know it was in that time frame. I remember the post announcing Erick being hired full time as the Editor here. So, needless to say I have seen a lot. I just want to pass on some advice or if you will, suggestions based upon all the things I have learned over the years. The Moderators will correct me if I miss state anything since, like our candidates, I am not perfect either.
One of the first rules of thumb is constancy. It is very very easy to go back to last year and find a comment or a post where you take an opposite position on an issue. That can prove embarrassing and will destroy an debate point quickly. The best way to avoid any problems like this is to develop a sound fundamental reasoning behind your positions. If candidate ‘X’ was wrong on a response to an issue and can factually be proved, and they do not take it back. It is okay to say you won’t support that candidate due to that problem. However, if the candidate you are supporting makes the same error will you be consistent? Does that makes sense?
I have also found that there is a right way and wrong way to respond to people with different opinions, and it is okay to have different opinions. Please just adhere to the first rule of thumb when explaining your reasoning. Then the next thing to do is to allow for the fact that you may be wrong and may have to “eat” your words metaphorically. To slam someone with an absolute statement (referred to as using pointy sticks) is a painful thing to swallow if you are shown to be wrong. It is far better to make statements where you say, “I disagree with you because….”, rather than saying, “No, they are just a jerk because ….”, or, “I will take my ball and go home if I have to….”. Well, you get the point I hope.
I have found that this site is very constructive to help me formulate why I believe what I believe. It has allowed me to understand my positions and debate them in face to face discussions. I emphasis the word “Discussions”. One of the first things you learn is that slamming someone with an absolute is the greatest way of slamming the door on communications. If you want to persuade you need to learn how to discuss an issue and the tactic of leaving no room for movement on an issue will lose the person you are trying to persuade instantly. They will become defensive and shut you out. An example is that I am an absolutist when it come to the right to life. I will not budge even a little bit. However, when discussing it I still deliver a soft sell and explain why I believe the way I do without making the other person feel threatened or defensive. This takes practice to know how to do but its worth it.
Lastly, I will recount my experiences with the 2008 election cycle, and for those here who remember that, they can tell you it was a bit intense here. I was a Fred Thompson supporter, I still am for that matter, but he is not running for office. There was a lot of painful back and forth over what a Conservative was suppose to believe, just as it seems to be repeating itself here now. Needless to say, Fred Thompson lost and John McCain won the nomination. That was a bit hard for me to swallow. Even after the convention I was still a Fredhead and disliked McCain. (You can transpose those names to Perry and Romney if you like for the proper illustration. For the record, I am a Perry supporter) I got thumped by the Moderators several times in 2008 and got threatened with banning once. I mellowed out and allowed myself to fade into the back ground and grumbled for awhile. Then I slowly started to come back and started commenting again. Without getting into details, I learned a lot back then. I am finding that it all seems to be repeating itself here again during this campaign. Something tells me it will repeat itself again in 2016. The bottom line, this is the ugliness of how political sausage is made. I definitely learned that you can take pride in the process in all its ugliness and make the best sausage you can and then be proud of the end product. Even if the end product is not exactly what you wanted in the beginning, you can be glad you had a hand in making it. If you don’t participate in the process, the heavy dose of “conservative” seasoning you wanted, will not be added at all.
However, taking your ball and going home is only for those who can’t handle the heat or can’t handle the ugliness. Most importantly, it will only ensure your seasoning won’t be put in the recipe at all.
Remember, its okay to have disagreements. Discuss the reasons why you feel the way you feel and defend them logically and consistently. However, once you walk out of the kitchen and into the dining room to serve the sausage, serve it with a smile, even if it is not exactly what you wanted in the beginning. In the end, it is far far better than that liberal sausage you will end up eating if you don’t get the customer to buy yours (ours).
…and put away the pointy sticks. They are not needed here. This is a team endeavor.