As a Movement Conservative – which Muppet are you?

Felicia Cravens discusses a few of her favorite muppets over at Free Radical Network in her article The Muppet Movement. She loves Statler and Waldorf, they’re snarky and grumpy and funny. I agree.

You remember Statler and Waldorf, don’t you?  The two grumpy old guys who watched from the balcony, and heckled throughout the show, no matter how good it was?  I loved those guys.  There wasn’t one bit of the show that didn’t receive an insult from them.  Rather than be amused by the show, they amused themselves with their own ability to mock the performances.

However, Statler and Waldorf aren’t really helping to put on the show.

Are you part of the production or theater crew?
Are you part of the production or theater crew?

Every production has a whole lot of “parts” that people can play – actors, set decorations, writers, choreographers, supportive audience, electrician, theater manager –  it just goes on and on. Figure out which one of those parts you play, and play it.

Are you part of the audience supporting the success of the show and theater?
Are you part of the audience supporting the success of the show and theater?

So…which Muppet are you going to be? Which role are you going to play in bringing the Conservative show to the theater?

Are you part of the production in some way? Are you part of the theater management or construction? Are you a member of the audience – if so, are you supportive or are you a heckler? Are you part of the promotion for the show? Just as you can easily think of hundreds of ways to make a positive contribution to putting on a show, so too can you find hundreds of ways to be a positive contributor to the conservative movement. Surely there is one that can fit into your daily life. So give it some thought, choose your part.

Each of us gets to choose not only what part we play, but to whom we pay attention.

I want you to start thinking about the voices you hear, the articles you read, the people you see on television or hear on the radio.  Ask yourself whether they are really helping the cause, or whether they’re merely sitting in the balcony, hurling insults and tomatoes at the people on the stage.

I would say that too much focus on the Statler’s and Waldorf’s of the world not only doesn’t advance the cause, it can make YOU into an unhappy warrior. Yes, of course, all perspectives are needed, the criticism is absolutely necessary – but it is not sufficient, nor is it particularly helpful all by itself. So yes, criticize and heckle and have fun, that’s a fine first step. But remember…we all need you to take that second step as well.

Go, read Felicia’s article, she gets more detailed about it.

Great Products HAVE to Have Great Packaging

An excellent product with terrible packaging will lose in the marketplace to a mediocre (or bad) product with great packaging. It is of no use to complain about this fact, or even to protest that the excellent product is better.

If you’ve got terrible packaging, you won’t get new customers, you’ll lose current customers, and you’ll go out of business. You all know these things to be true, you see it when you go to the store, you see it in your own lives. This is absolutely the case with the Conservative movement.

Our product is terrific, demonstrably so. Our packaging, our marketing, our messaging – all pretty well shy of mediocre.

I recently saw a terrific visual example. An attempt at an image+text message, to get people to come to a rally. I don’t know who made it, I’m nut sure what the event is, that’s not the point. The point is that there is a MUCH better way to communicate the message. They’re trying to publicize an event and drive particpation.

This is the original:

before

I posted the image to a private group, asking the other members to provide their input as to what specific elements of the poster were off-target. A smattering of the answers:

  • Too much text
  • Excessive punctuation
  • Colonial outfits communicate crazy to the general voting populace
  • Too much bold, angry, shouting imagery – makes one think the event will just be a bunch of shouting angry people – that’s not enticing
  • American Spring calls to mind the Arab Spring which was a colossal failure resulting in death, destruction, and dictatorships
  • Too many logos, extraneous information, just too busy
  • Where do I get more information? No idea.
  • All white people
  • Hyperbole – a million people? most-important?
  • “force a tyrant out” – reinforces stereotype of violent dangerous Tea Party

Then, one of our members, Lynn Seborn posted an alternative:

after

Lynn’s guidelines in making the alternative:

  • Reframe negatives to positives
  • Move emphasis from looking to the past to looking our future
  • Simplify
  • Emphasize self sacrifice for others
  • Ask question to provoke response
  • Provide a place for viewers to go for more info

All of this transpired in less than an hour, on a workday, with ideas tossed in by 11 people, and the alternative was put together on a smartphone in 10 minutes.

My goal in posting these two images is not to advertise for or criticize any event, individual, or group but to show that we can do better, and it’s actually just as easy to market and publiicize well as it is to do it poorly.

We just have to change our perspective, focus on what the audience wants, what will persuade them, what will appeal to them.

So, what do you think of this transformation? Is this the kind of change in thinking that we can get behind? Is there some unacceptable compromise involved in trying to modify our messaging to appeal to people on a different level?

I think that for a quick illustration of a before and after, this little exercise was quite helpful. We need to do this sort of thing more often. The orignal image was a terrific learning tool for us – it got my little group talking about these things, and it was nice to see how quickly we really got into the idea.

We do have great ideas for how to sell the conservative product, we just need to share those ideas with each other, and implement them.

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Conservatives should be more like Liberals and Progressives

Did THAT headline get your attention? I hope so, There are actually quite a few ways we conservatives should be more like the liberals and progressives. Why? They are successful. How? Lots of ways, actually, today’s post will be about evangelism.

Liberals are successful. As you know, all too well, they control the culture, they control the media, they successfully claim the moral high ground. They win elections, and even when they lose elections, they stil advance their cause. They move forward without mercy when in the majority and extract significant concessions when they are in the minority. That’s success no matter how you look at it.

We must decide to be like these successful liberal / progressive folks.

Calm down.

I know, you’ve heard it a lot:

We need to be more like them, so we need to elect moderate (i.e.: liberal) politicians, adopt moderate (i.e.: liberal) policies, change our platform, and everybody get in line behind the Moderate Establishment.”

Um no. That’s the kind of lazy, shallow, toughtless response and “plan” we get from lazy, shallow, thoughtless people (like our media, a lot of our politicans, and a lot of the political class).

I’m not lazy, I’m not shallow, and I’m not afraid to think. I’m going to assume the same from you.

I don’t want to become a successful liberal. I want to become a successful conservative. So I want to adopt and adapt the successful techniques of the liberals and use them to further my own philosophy of conservatism.

First I have to figure out why they are successful.

They’re successful because they give out free stuff, so we have to give out free stuff! Otherwise we’ll stay the losers we always have been.

Typcial answer, you’ve exerted little effort, little introspection, and very little thought to come up with it. That’s a REACTION not an analysis.

  • If you’re on the “we have to do the same” bandwagon, I’m sure you’ll be a successful political consultant or lobbyist, and you’ll be very wealthy, and the conservative movement will not advance one bit. You are totally self-motivated, you care not for the nation as a whole or your fellow man. Stop reading this now, go away. I wish you well, but see no need for you to be part of my world.
  • If you are on the “we’ll stay the losers we are” bandwagon, I’m asking you to give it a little more thought, analyze things a bit differently, and see if maybe there’s some hope. If I can change your perspective a bit, perhaps we can all work together to make things better. Please hang in there with me.

They’re successful because they are the Evangelicals, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Mormons of the political world.

What? Hmmm. This seems right. They’re always working to gain converts, to preach the good news. They are confident that their belief system is correct, it is the best for everyone, and the path to political salvation for all. By trying to convert you, they are trying to help you. They want you to be saved. What does an Evangelical-type DO that is different from other religious folk?

  • They will postpone their careers and spend a few years on mission.
  • They will form mega-churches with massive outreach communities
  • They will go into the neighborhoods of the poor to try to reach large numbers
  • They will speak the good news to anyone who will listen, and a lot who won’t.
  • Their every phrase is tinged with their belief system – they wish you a blessed day rather than just a good day.

There is a certain percentage of any population who simply want to be evangelical outreach missionary type people. Some do it with their churches, others do it with their politics. there’s also a certain amount of everyone’s day/week/year that we are willing and able to spend evangelizing about our passion.

Conservatives  tend to do their evangelizing and mission work for God and their Church. Liberals tend to do their evangelizing about politics..

Thus, there is a certain number of “default” people and a certain amount of “default” time from others that the liberals can count on, and DO count on, to perform the necessary work. To do the activism. You see it, I know you do. The activism and outreach of the liberal side of the aisle absolutely kicks the butt of the conservative side.

The people with evangelizing tendencies who are conservative, devote their efforts to evangelizing for their church. The people with evangelizing tendencies who are liberal, devote their efforts to evangelizing for their political causes. There’s a massive labor imbalance, massive. Liberals simply have more man-hours devoted to activism.

That’s the imablance. It’s simply an effect of human nature. I don’t expect it to change, and I certainly wouldn’t want people to stop evangelizing for their church.

No, think about this differently, and more deeply.

Accept that we will never match their political outreach, it’s simply not who we are. Our mission-oriented evangelizers (activists) are working for their churches (temples, synagogues, etc).

Understand that the basic comparison, using Christianity, is that Democrats are the evangelicals with the massive churches and the TV stations and the incredible growth. Republicans are the Episcopalians – we go to church on Easter and Christmas (we vote regularly) but the rest of the time we’re busy working and raising our families and stuff. Most of our friends have no idea what we think of God, or if we go to church at all,

Membership in the Episcopal church is declining, rapidly and badly. The influence of the Episcopal Church on Chritendom is waning. The evangelicals have all the juice right now. (Also the Cathloics are resurgent, and many Episcopalians talk about converting to Catholicism, but that’s not part of the point of this post, though it’s kind of related)

As regards our political lives, we can’t keep being like the Episcopalians, we have to be more like the Evangelicals.

  • You know Evangelicals, you know THAT they are evangelical. They have tried to get you to go to their church.
  • Evangelicals wish you a blessed day, not just a good day.
  • Evangelicals are confident, they know they have the right answers, and they want to share them with you.
  • They want to you to JOIN THEM.

Why can’t we do that with our political beliefs? The other side certainly does.

You know what else the successful churches do?

  • They spend very little time talking about the other faiths
  • They don’t focus on how bad the other faiths are
  • They spend ZERO time talking about how bad the other churches are
  • Their message is one of joy, success, happiness, togetherness, friendship, and love
  • They spend their time explaining why someone should join them

So…you have very little time to add “political activism” to your schedule. Make better use of the time you DO allocate.

Be a conservative evangelist. Focus on how great conservatism is, and talk about how great conservatism is, and carry the happy conservative warrior message everywhere you go. Everyone should know that you are a loving, happy person and that your conservative philosophy (not just politics, your life philosophy) is part of what makes you such a loving happy person. Everyone should know that you would be happy to help them to become a loving happy conservative as well.

So, though we may have fewer hours, nationally, dedicated to conservative activism, and that might not change drastically, we can, and must, be more effective with the hours that we do spend. You can’t change anyone else, change yourself. Are your own political activism hours spend like an evangelical? Could you perhaps retune your focus and be a bit more like the evangelicals?

Food for thought. Do with it what you will.