My previous post about Cindy Sheehan mentioned my frustration that liberal groups have a bad habit of “kitchen sinking” their protests, rallies or celebrations, i.e., we can’t just have Earth Day. It has to be Earth Day plus Free Mumia plus Elian Gonzalez plus whatever. It is so frustrating and infuriating because it hinders our ability to actually make a targeted, insightful, credible statement about an issue, which hinders our ability to be an effective voice of the loyal opposition.
Case in point: Today’s Wash Post article about the September 11th Freedom Walk sponsored by the Pentagon.
"That rally [the protest rally] is being organized...as a major protest against the Iraq war, but other causes have been tossed into the mix, including support for Palestinians and opposition to U.S. policy in Haiti and the Phillippines..."
OMG!!! What is our problem?!!! Is this a "bring the troops home from Iraq" event or is it a Random Foreign Policy Protest event? I might attend the former, but I sure as hell am not attending or supporting the latter. What is WRONG with these people?!! It is politics/activism 101: Ask your supporters to do ONE THING ONLY. Either send money OR call your senator OR fill out this questionnaire OR attend the rally. The more details you pile on, the more you dilute potential support for your primary event or message.
Same thing with the issues: "You cannot sit at home if you oppose the war in Iraq." This is a powerful call to action. Get off your butt and make a statement.
Contrast that message with: "You cannot sit at home if you oppose the war in Iraq and have issues with our policy in Haiti and the Phillippines and want to make a statement about the Palestinians..." Um, what is our policy in Haiti again? Oh, gee, I'm not sure I know enough about that to really comment...oh man, my kid has a soccer game that day...oh--I wonder if Jewish people will be welcome at a rally with a Palestinian component...will it get ugly? Do I want my kid around that? Oh--well, we'll see if we have time to attend. It sounds sort of complicated now that I think about it...
There are several reasons we lose elections and continue to be a political joke. Our inability to FOCUS on one simple message is one of them.