By Jack Tenhet
For nearly a decade I have been a very active member of
the DNC. When I was approached via e-mail to participate in
the DNC sponsored message board "FreeDem", I was at first
skeptical. I initially dismissed it as a waste of valuable
time that could be better spent researching and committing
myself to assisting my local chapter in winning elections.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
On a whim, I signed up. It wasn't long before I found myself
in the maelstrom of the newest form of political activism;
the message board. There I found tools that made my job so
much easier. People were posting links to articles they'd
stumbled across left and right. With one click of a mouse,
I had compiled more research in less than two hours than a
thousand clicks and a hundred hours would have yielded.
The joy I'd felt at finding this place, however, was short
lived. It wasn't long before the Republicans entered the scene,
swarming like locusts. Soon, less information was being handed
out. With their abrasive attitude and facist ideals, these
Republicans had siezed complete control over the board.
It was then that I began paying very close attention to what
was happening. It was clear from the start that their goal
was distraction. If ever an attempt was made to have any discussion
that would lead to activism, they would pipe in with certain
key phrases or topics. I began to notice there was a little
more than method to their madness. They seemed organized.
That was when I came up with a sort of guide to help my fellow
Liberals on that board better equip themselves. The guide
seems to have worked - though the rightist Plutocrats still
try to attack, there is less bite to their bark.
This guide is very simple to follow and allows for complete
freedom to either ignore them or confront them. The guide
goes as follows:
1. Beware of "catchphrases". Remember that these Republicans
ONLY know what they hear from Rush and the right wing media.
Their attention is limited to soundbites and they seldom look
any further than this. You've all heard the catchphrases before,
"get over it", "class envy" or my favorite "it's our money".
These can be ignored easily, disproven even more easily. A
little research can pull the stinger out of any tired catchphrase
However, be warned. Do not engage them unless you're prepared
to go all the way. Even when proven wrong, they won't back
down. This brings us to...
2. Don't trust any 'Pub polls. Remember, the Republicans
have their own message boards, and they rig polls all the
time by sending people to the sites they can cast their votes
on and having them vote as many times as they can. Not only
that, but remember that polls are only as scientific as the
groups being polled. A truly scientific poll would require
a random sampling of around 51% Democrat, 39% Republican and
10% Third Party.
The best example is the recent Gallup poll on Bush II's first
address to the nation. The poll consisted of less that five
hundred people, over 70% Republican (Source, Gallup).
3. Never allow them to claim any "moral high ground". Always
remember, it is far more moral to insure that the poorest
Americans are taken care of than to push a pork plan that
pays back the oil cronies that backed you.
4. Never let them say you are not patriots. Nothing is more
patriotic than to treat ALL Americans with equality. The blanket
of freedom is supposed to cover us all, not just the chosen
few. They hate homosexuals, homosexuals are Americans, part
of America. America is a Union, to hate a part is to hate
5. When all else fails, they'll always bring up abortion.
Either ignore this, or call them on it. Remind them that the
ONLY reason abortion is an issue to them is because it grants
them greater control over women. Their agenda is to keep women
pregnant, in the home, and out of power. Do not fall for any
"sanctity of life" rhetoric from people who support the death
6. Keep yourself more informed than they are. This is needed
whether you choose to engage them or not. It's not so hard
to do if you think about how little actual information they're
getting compared to how much is truly out there. And finally...
7. ALWAYS try to steer the conversation back to liberal ideals
and ways to implement these ideals in the real world. Pass
out information, organize registration drives and protests,
write to Congress, the Senate. Write six times a day if you
As tempting as it may be to debate these thugs, we must not
divert ourselves too much from the task at hand. America is
in trouble and needs our help. We must not get suckered into
pointless circular arguments when we should be using this
digital landscape to paint the portrait of our future.
In the end, it will be up to us how these times are remembered.
It will be up to us to ensure this never happens again.