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In Defense of Smart Tactics
April 16, 2002
By Ernest Partridge

This article is a response to Don't Get Smart, Get Stupid!

I wish I could say that Mr. Gronewaller is just plain "wrong, wrong, wrong" about Mr. and Mrs. Average American. Sadly, he isn't.

Thus there may be less disagreement between us than meets the eye.

"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 to me.

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 Online Gadfly"




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