Prepping for state tax day tea party protests tomorrow, liberty-loving blogger TL James at the Colorado People’s Press Collective site warns would-be participants against progressive infiltrators and then sets out rough rules for engagement. The advice boils down to this: Don’t act like the tea partiers who always make the evening news!
Being a Responsible Participant
If you’re not interested in or able to photograph or record the rally, and plan to attend as an ordinary participant, there are a few helpful things to keep in mind – adapted from comments by Eileen Mahony, PPC’s Washington Bureau Chief:
1. Please spell check your posters
2. Check your bleedin’ facts; this includes attributing quotes and citing bills on your signs and in conversation.
3. Leave the conspiracy theories at home. The Tea Parties are about small government, fiscal responsibility, and liberty — not birth certificates or black helicopters. Likewise for social issues.
4. Lay off the references to Nazis, communists, fascists and murderers. No matter how historically accurate your own particular reference may be (or not), it distracts from your broader message: freedom. Don’t be against statism (although you are), be for freedom. Don’t be against Obama, or Congress, or your local elected disasters, be for positive, pro-liberty reforms. Bring a positive rather than a negative message.
5. Go easy on the political flair. You do not work at T.G.I. Fridays. You may think wearing enough bling on your shirt to function as plate mail makes you look ultra-committed. It does not. It simply makes you look as if you were savaged by a roving gang of campaign buttons.
6. Should you be asked for comments by some media outlet, speak in soundbites. DO NOT RAMBLE. While you’re at it, please be aware that not everyone talking to you at a rally is necessarily on your side, and may be recording you in hopes you say something “useful”.
7. Do your homework; if you make a contentious statement and then cannot back it up when challenged, the sum total of your contribution will probably be negative.
8. Screaming is not debate. Trading insults is not debate. Keep calm, stay rational, and if you argue, argue on the facts.
9. Laugh, smile, have a good time. That’s something you rarely see at the excessively earnest, humorless, and anger-filled protests the opposition puts on.
10. Keep your focus on the core issues of the Tea Party movement: small and limited government, fiscal responsibility and accountability, and liberty-minded reforms.
11. Really, please, just spell check your posters.
Special reality credit to TL for this bit under his section “What To Do About Unfortunate Situations”
You may despite everything find yourself in a situation where racist, hate-filled, moronic, or just plain crazy signs are present or speech is being used. Here are some ideas on how to handle it constructively:
* Recognize the fact that not all such instances will be the result of infiltrators – there is, after all, a reason why they think what they’re doing is an effective tactic. You may be able to persuade the person or people in question to stop their objectionable behavior by politely asking them to do so, or by going a step further and explaining why it is both inappropriate and potentially harmful to the movement they claim to support.