A difficult civics question:

This short diary is a simple “report” on the results of the product of this discussion held earlier:


Given where we are today, how to sell people on civics?  Is it possible to sell enough of them at this time to make the difference?

I don’t know, but today I’m asking that question and am very curious to hear the responses.

The idea in that diary essentially was, “how to motivate people?” given the generally poor alignment between expectations set during the campaign, and the product of the government post campaign.  Sales type tactics were discussed as an analogy for advocacy techniques.  

I went ahead and applied those over the last week or so.  

After doing some of that advocacy, using the products of that discussion, aimed at convincing people that:

they need to do more civics

, and

voting a party ticket is the best case scenario right now, largely due to GOP stated intent to further their cause of general regression, and track record of success getting that done

, and

not voting Dem, or not voting at all, or voting GOP / third party, harms Progressives

, who:

are currently the only movement of size advocating for a “people first” economic policy, not the entrenched “third way”, “free market”, “Reaganomics”, cheap labor policy we have now.

I saw general success among progressive minded people.  They didn’t always self-identify as such, but did see favorable economic policy alignment.  The older the target of the advocacy, the more successful that set of things was.

Two exceptions were raised that appear to be more potent than our current messaging is capable of addressing:

I don’t have time for this crap

, and

There is too much corruption.

Those people have tuned out.  They do not appear to respond well to honest assessments of the state of things and what can happen.  They are jaded, tired, stressed, experiencing high cost and risk lives, and generally need to prioritize what quality of life experiences they can have over civics.

Many of those people I spoke to were engaged to elect Obama, and did not see what they needed to see to continue to be engaged.

The hows and whys of that are for another diary.  It’s absolutely not a blame game today.  Not that at all. What this diary is about is making the case for continued support for a straight party vote being the best case, and about a greater commitment to civics in general, given the pressure we now face from Citizens United.  

Let’s be absolutely clear on that.  Commentary assigning blame is discouraged on this diary, and will be ignored.  We can only move forward.

My devils advocate position is, “what if we need to experience more pain, for the reality of the civics to hit home?”

It’s a fair question, and one that has troubled me deeply as of late.  It is plausible that the anti-people economic forces in play have mastered the level of manipulation needed to move their agenda forward, secure in the knowledge that the social regressives will vote against their economic interests because they have priorities wrong.  Not letting the gays get married, for example, is worth letting the world burn kind of wrong

, and

the rest of the people, who generally harbor economic desires and needs well aligned with progressive ideas, are easily convinced that the civic effort is futile, and they are best served by simply adapting to the new reality.

So there is that.  What is to be done with these people?

And there it is again, the possibility that we simply need to experience a greater level of pain before these people, who generally decide elections, feel compelled to get involved in a material way.  In very simple terms, they don’t believe it’s going to hurt enough to warrant the activity.

Many of you do.  I do, but they don’t.  What is to be done?


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    • Edger on September 26, 2010 at 22:00

    I think there is a way for people to take control and force results from incumbent democrats (particularly since they have a congressional majority they badly want to retain) to avoid things getting worse, but it would take millions of people acting cooperatively and purposefully to do it.

    I don’t know any way to motivate people to do it other than to make as many people as aware of how bad things are and that there is a way for them to take control.

    There is even a way for Democratic supporters to get better results than they are getting trying to convince independent and progressives who are fed up to their eyeballs with the democrats to get better results than they are getting now, and I talked about that from my own background in sales in Cass’s DD version of his Sales Ethics diary:

    The biggest mistake I see many make when trying to sell the Democrats is to call the prospects stupid, and tell them buying the product is the only way they can stop being stupid, apparently thinking the prospects will immediately reach for their wallets and say “where do I sign”?

    Of course, that result only happens in salespeople’s dreams – and is the reason 90 percent of people who go into sales never make any money at the job.

    There is also a (real life) tried and true technique in sales and marketing that the democrats could try: the top sales producers in any industry constantly critique themselves and ask themselves “If I’m not getting the results I want to get, what am I doing to get the results I am getting?”

    Instead of asking themselves what they are doing to produce the results they are getting (dropping support) – and they are producing those results whether they want to or not – [Democrats and their supporters] are taking the easy route of blaming the voters (their prospects) and treating the voters as if they are stupid.

    Most people can easily see through it when someone tries to “take” them, I think, and they simply hold onto their wallets and walk out of the store. They go looking for someone who will sell them what they want, instead of pitching them on ‘buy from me because the other guys are selling junk’.

    People want to hear why they should buy a product, they want to hear what it will do for them. AND they want a demonstration and a history of it doing what it is claimed it will do. People don’t buy products simply because the salepeople tell them another product is crap.

    Maybe it has to all collapse before enough people will rise up and take matters into their own hands.

    Xanthe in her essay this morning An Odd Thing Happened Last Night also made some great observations that may be representative of many people’s thinking and mindset these (dark) days….

  1. need to be ignored, fought against and generally regarded as the enemy of humanity as a whole.http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/09/15/gordon-duff-is-americas-military-prepared-for-the-israeli-threat/

  2. Civics are the last thing they want in play. The thing is they have nothing at all to offer. the chances that the Democrat’s in power will, once they are reelected, do anything for the people and the laws which bind us are nil. Progressives have no power and they do not use even there voices for civics. They sign odious pieces of legislature and call them landmarks, they mouth the same narrative about terrorist’s going to get you, they make deals with the criminal’s and the lobbyist’s, they refuse to stand up to the machines that run both party’s. They feign powerlessness and yet refuse to implement any power they really do have.  

    There really is not a bit of difference. The whole kabuki is so transparent that anyone with a slight knowledge of civics knows what a scam this is. It’s been a simple case of bait and switch and to my mind at least, the scarrrry right is just this administrations mushroom clouds. Crisis capitalism where both sides keep the eyes of the people off their bad show with fear, of terrorist’s, falling banksters or tea bagging nutso’s.

    Why should anything be done with these people as they did engage and it was futile. What are going to tell them vote or teabaggers will run the show? I don’t think so tea baggers are 26% of the population at most, and they are mainly from states where Democrat’s are not going to get elected anyway. Who will run the country are the same people that run it now and it’s not us or our representatives.

    Citizens United is not just about the right or our ‘two party’ system, it is essentially once again codifying that which is already done. I don’t even think they care about keeping their majority. As a minority it’s not as hard to pretend that you don’t have power to stop the owner’s of the place. They will be as lousy a loyal opposition as they did with the Bushies only this time we have a Democratic administration or do we?  

    As for adapting to the new normal the Democrat’s are while giving the people austerity instead of regulation or relief.. On every level from education to the rule of law they are not offering anything most people are willing to buy by especially if they are civic minded.      

  3. Mr. Ulyanov asked the same question.


  4. got no mansion

    got no yacht

    still I’m happy with what I got…………..

    What to do, what to do?

    Smile at a stranger and^to

    yourself be true……………….

    1st verse Irving Berlin

    2nd verse some nonsense I just threw together

  5. …. banned yet over at a Big Box for using the expression “maybe if we need to experience more pain, for the reality of the civics lesson to hit home ?”

    wow.  they must be getting desperate.

    “what is to be done with these people ?”

    This is a job performance review.

    Just what is it, exactly, that you (your candidates) have done “for those people?”

    empty promises.

    you saw what was going on in the Senate this past year.  You can’t ignore it but you’re telling people to do exactly that.

    “social regressives will vote against their economic interests?”  uh, no, they know what they’re doing, they’re using sex as an issue. They want the tax loopholes for the churches to be continued, and they figured out that church organizations can dictate policy in this country and serve as a tax shelter for the rich to funnel their money thru, all at the same time.   Prop 8 here in CA got a lot of really awful people elected, because it was a very cleverly designed campaign.  

    Why do you think the Chief Executive is so reluctant to end DADT and DOMA ?  

    okay, let me give you another example.  I might have a bumper sticker on one of my vehicles currently.  It may be provoking a reaction.  Is it worth the potential damage from road rage when I’m traveling in wing nut landia ?  How about people losing jobs over this ?  One of the local rt. wing looney tunes commented in the paper recently he was going to go searching for Dem candidates bumper stickers in his parking lots and fire those employees.  Yeah, it’s illegal, but who the hell cares or is going to do anything about it, other than I told the idiot that goes both ways, and his customers should take note and avoid his place of business.

    The fallacy of your “greater level of pain” argument is that you’ve already made the assumption that the President will not veto any bad legislation coming his way.  If he is truly a mole Republican who just ran on the Democratic ticket to get elected, which is possible, and looks that way because of his policy stances which are mimicking a lot of the moderate Republican stances out of the 1980’s, then why in the world should anybody be voting for him or his favored candidates and thinking of them as progressive Democrats, if it is a progressive or liberal Democratic policy that they wanted ?

    “You’d better vote for me or I’ll let the Republicans continue to ***** your over even worse” is not a winning electoral strategy for Democrats.

    I don’t have time for this crap.  that’s correct. welcome to the new economic survival reality for millions.    

    the corruption is overwhelming. yup.  it’s not a tune out, when there is such widespread corruption, anyone can be the next target. why should anyone make themselves vulnerable ?

    I don’t want to hear any more about “he’ll fight for you” or “she’ll fight for you” they are all fighting to get the biggest amount of campaign cash but when it comes time for a vote, all they have to do is threaten to filibuster or do a vote on cloture, and they all fold meekly and shuffle back to their storage pods.

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