I read Steve Gilliard everyday and I like his spirited, no bullshit take on most things. But I completely disagree with him today:
THE NEWS BLOG
I am totally with SusanG on this: annoying our family and friends is where the battle starts. You can't just sit politics on the backburner and be polite about it when your enemy isn't doing the same. I, sometime back, advocated compiling email addresses of all your family members and emailing them news and progressive shit daily. I haven't made good on my promise of compiling another blog of our exchanges, but I have continued to blitz my family with forwards. That is part of why my posting here is so sporadic, because I don't just forward shit, but comment on it and address my audience. But before I go on about this project, some direct commentary on a few of Steve's points:
"Some people approach politics like a bezerker, they want to flail about, swinging wildly and hoping to damage the opposition. Which may be emotionally satisfying, but it is wrong and usually fails."
It wouldn't be effective if this was what all of us were doing, but you know what, it's how the damn republicans won the last election. Spare-no-one, go-for-the-throat, piss-people-off politics aren't pretty, but with this administration and congress you can't dismiss its effectiveness.
"When people get sent the latest rightwing crap from relatives, they are not too happy. What gives you the right to burden anyone who sends you an e-mail with your political views because you think you're right? Huh? Are you so morally superior that you can just impose your politics on people? You have to have the same respect for people as you want from them. E-mail is still mail and it needs to be respected."
Yep, that rightwing crap annoys the hell out of me and I get loads of it, but we have to take the fight to them. We have to push and we have to push hard on all fronts. I'm not saying to just make stuff up and send loads of crap, but you can't shy away from sending stuff which will challenge your audience. I won't send anything without a source and I try to send things which are informative, but I purposely include family members who have polar opposite political views.
I've been doing this damn near daily for most of the last year and I told my family that they were welcome to be pissed off but it was harass the hell out of them and try to show them where I am coming from, or quit talking to them all together. I am still that pissed off about the election and I ain't cooling off anytime soon. And do I feel morally superior? No, but I know I am a hell of a lot better informed and am ready to step up and say why I believe what information I do and why I doubt what I do and what I believe. I come from the deep south, Mississippi and Alabama, and I am writing to people who love rush limbaugh and bill o'reilly and ann coulter and are religious in spades. We couldn't disagree more about who to trust and what to believe, but by throwing stuff out there which often pisses off quite a few of them, we are finding common ground in all the wreckage. I end up in arguments with family members I haven't spoken to in ages, but they are listening and they are hearing things that no one that lives around them is saying. And the liberal relatives are coming out of the woodwork and thanking me for pissing off the other folks and calling bully on all the shit that gets passed around.
Harassing your relatives via email is not spamming them, not even close. SusanG may have resorted to hyperbole, but she is dead on: if you aren't even willing to piss off your friends and family a little to tell them about something you believe in, we aren't going to win this fight.