Defense of Smart Tactics
April 16, 2002
By Ernest Partridge
is a response to Don't Get Smart,
I wish I could say that Mr. Gronewaller is just plain "wrong,
wrong, wrong" about Mr. and Mrs. Average American. Sadly,
Thus there may be less disagreement between us than meets
"Don't Just Get Mad, Get Smart"
was addressed primarily to "the choir" -- those progressives
who are "mad" about the condition of our politics, and the
successful judicial coup that put the usurper regime in the
White House. Accordingly, my piece suggests some tactics for
the struggle ahead.
True, some of those tactics included reasoned arguments aimed
at "recruiting" enlightened Republicans. But the targets of
those arguments would be a small minority of individuals with
large levers of influence: reporters and pundits, lawyers,
corporate leaders, academics -- individuals like John Dean,
Arianna Huffington, George Soros, Jonathan Turley, David Brock,
who have already "crossed over."
These "30 minute attention span" individuals might prove
crucial in getting the message across to the "30 second attention
span" hoi polloi.
I fully agree that it takes brief "push-button" slogans to
turn the mass of voters our way, and thus, of course, we should
by all means use them. Moreover, our message is not outside
the comprehension of Joe Sixpack.
Just tell him, over and over again, that the CEO of his company
earns more in half a day than he does all year; that the tax
evasions that the super-rich have written into the tax code,
cost him several thousands a year; that the average Canadian
or European or Japanese gets better medical care than he does;
that "the Evil Doers" Osama Bin Laden and Mullar Omar are
still at large; that his Social Security fund is being raided,
and so on.
Similarly, the hypocrisy of "the Christian Right" ("Onward
Christian Soldiers," "Kill a raghead for Jesus") is plain
to see. Why Jerry Falwell and his kind are not confronted
with the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes is a mystery
Finally, it is past time for Leno, Letterman and SNL to once
again give Bush's buffonery the disrespectful attention that
it so richly deserves. After all, we are told, the late-night
comedians are the primary source of "news" to most young Americans.
So let's take on this fight with a broad array of armaments.
Reasoned arguments for the "opinion leaders," and "push-button
slogans" for Ma and Pa Sixpack. We must know our audience,
and deal appropriate with it.
After all, that's exactly what it means to "get smart."
Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer
in the field of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He
publishes the website, "The