Saul (From March 2015)

Making it Personal
I hate to be a downer, but do you realize that one year from now a woman could conceive and still have the full nine months to give birth before the next presidential election? Perhaps this is an odd way of saying that the political season, having already started, will go on for a really, really long time.
If that long campaign season resulted in more clarity or, God forbid, discussions that brought better answers to the difficult questions we face, that would be okay. Instead, the Bataan Death March of politics results in mortar attacks of accusation and slander – both within each party during the primary season, and between the parties up to the first Tuesday in November of 2016.
It seems that the minute the calendar flipped to 2015, things started to heat up. People are visiting Iowa in the winter, which makes no sense, other than for politics. Huge amounts of money are being raised to intimidate less well-connected potential candidates.
And, apparently the word has gone out to start making deleterious comments about politicians on Facebook. There are always the Facebook pages like and The Federalist and many others that people read because the sites have a political point of view. But, now that the season has started, Facebook “friends” have started making snarky remarks about possible candidates.
There was a fellow named Saul Alinsky who wrote a book called “Rules for Radicals,” and while any person of any persuasion could use these ideas to further their causes, President Obama and Secretary Clinton have both shown a special interest in Mr. Alinsky.
There are a couple of “rules” in the book that I find discouraging, because they don’t help advance the cause of discussion, and because they are intended to hurt people’s reputations.
* RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
* RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
Think back to people in the political world who have been ridiculed unmercifully over the years, only for us to find after the fact that they were actually solid people. As this political season moves forward, I encourage you to be listening for disrespect and ridicule of people – not for their ideas, but for the people themselves.
Buckle-up, and get ready for the onslaught of this next campaign season. And, if you dare, when somebody says something disrespectful about a candidate, don’t react. Maybe they’ll get the point.


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