Tuesday, August 24


Just returned from a festive gathering of relatives from Florida, Alabama and Washington state. Everyone is for Bush, with the exception of my rock musician nephew from Seattle (you'd know his band if you're between 30 and 50 -- a couple each of gold and platinum albums, at least one MTV award that I can remember, and they still record and tour), who thinks both presidential candidates are crap, but that Kerry wins his vote on the issues. But his wife is a Bushie. (My son and daughter-in-law, also Florida residents, are voting for Kerry, but they don't count here -- my daughter-in-law is from upstate New York, her mother loves her Senator Hillary, and my son was raised by us...they're both in college and see the dangers to themselves in rising tuition costs, reduction in Pell Grant funding, and general loss of safety net programs so important to young struggling families trying to better themselves.)

I tried to get into the heads of all those Bushies without causing a family ruckus.

(1) There is a GREAT DIVIDE. George Bush is a hero for protecting us from further terrorist attacks. He's decisive, doesn't put up with any guff from anybody. Kerry is a wimpy war protestor, he brought the current controversy about his service upon himself and is fair game. His Vietnam War-era protests invalidate his military service record even if it was what he says it was, which it probably wasn't since wimp war protestors couldn't possibly also be heroic on the battlefield. He probably paid off his Swift Boat-mates with his wife's billions.

(2) Nothing is George Bush's fault. EVEN MY TWO NEPHEWS WHO ARE RECENTLY BACK FROM IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN support him without reservation. The lousy things that were done to them (one --aged 38 -- was recalled even though his Guard recall duty period was up) are the fault of Congress, not Bush, in their minds. The other nephew, a career Air Force MSGT in intelligence, retired upon his homecoming and now hopes to get a job as a military contractor. He actually said to me, "A lot of people blame Bush for the things that have gone wrong, but they don't realize that it's actually Congress that passes the law enabling expansion of troop numbers, appropriations for supplies, etc. If anyone is to blame, it's Congress."

(3) Their pastors believe Bush has been anointed by God to lead the USA during these troubling times, to restore a Christian perspective to government. Therefore, they believe the same thing.

(4) This is just like the heady days of Vietnam, it's "America, love it or leave it," or in this case, "Love Bush or leave America."

These people (also MY people) are Bush's base. Obviously, there's no point in spending time or money trying to persuade them differently. He's invulnerable as far as they're concerned. Boy is Bush smart to refute the idea that he's ever made a mistake -- they love him for it! The co-opting of fundamentalist churchgoers has been a brilliant strategy. My family voted solidly Democratic for my entire life until anti-abortion/gay rights screeds became a focus of Republican rhetoric during the time of Ronald Reagan.

But one lesson I took away from this time is that John Kerry MUST strike back, and strike hard, against attacks on his service. I've been almost completely out of touch with the news for the past week, but I gather from what little I've been able to glean around Olympics coverage, which I DID see, that he has begun to do just that. It's way past time to start focusing again on George Bush's military non-service. The press is having a heyday on this Swift Boat Veterans thing -- they're the ones keeping it alive (who else? it's not exactly a groundswell of common-man hysteria since the ads only ran initially in three states and didn't have much of an impact there until the press jumped on the issue). Feed them the juicy details of Bush's service records (since they're too lazy to do their own work). Put our surrogates on every TV program willing to accept them (and only the best and most articulate surrogates, ones with impeccable military service records, people like JOHN HURLEY of Veterans for Kerry).

It's not for the confirmed Bushies I suggest this, but for those swing voters who might be influenced by them...


Blogger Augamire said...

I just wanted to make a few comments or notes here.

It seems to me that family members are always the toughest to speak with when it comes to politics. No matter what side you are on, even if you have no side. We are always caught with a dilemma in this situation. It is similar to evangelizing the lost, except tougher in some ways. We are attempting to have our family join our beliefs but without offending them in such a way that we damage our relationship with them.

If you hope to be successful in this endeavor (IMHO), all you can ever do, in either situation, is to present the information in an unbiased as possible form and then trade on your relationship (Stephen Covey would call this your "emotional bank account") in hopes that the other person will open up their mind long enough to see things from your perspective.

You may have heard that "all politics are local". And that is true. I would like to give you another saying that I believe to be true. All politics are emotional. Unless a candidate can appeal to your emotional belief, they have no shot of getting your vote. NONE. You may challenge me on this point (and as always I encourage this as long as it is not solely for the sake of argument), but I think that no matter what issue you choose, it all comes back to your emotion. How do I feel about millions of Americans losing their overtime pay? Sure I "think" it's wrong, but unless I "feel" that there is an injustice I will never be motivated to do something (such as getting out to the polls) about it.

Thus, logical arguments or statements only hold up to influence us emotionally. And I feel that this is where we miss the boat most of the time. We have to set up logical thought processes that lead to emotional responses or we will accomplish nothing in our bid to, as many religious people would say "show them the way"

I was a Bush fan in the last election. I have never voted for the Democratic ticket. I will vote for Kerry in this election. I can see only two reasons why people will vote for the incumbent. 1. Americans are not educated enough about what is happening in the current administration to have the necessary emotional response or 2. We don't want to take the time to learn (thus we believe - emotional - that President Bush is God's appointed man).

I want to leave you with this final thought about America today. In this post you noted an attitude stirring in this country "love it or leave it" that harkens back to the Vietnam era. I had hoped that we learned our lesson back then, and that my generation wouldn't make the same mistake. Alas, that is not the case. However, here is the thought from one of my Gator message board alums - If the founding fathers of our country were "politically correct”, to this very day, we would all be subjects of the British Crown.

8:25 PM  

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