DownsizeDC.org
January 10, 2008
Manifesto
By Perry Willis
Today's Downsizer Dispatch . . . Recruit more Downsizers. Share this with others. Quote of the Day: "The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations ... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution." -- John Adams, (1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President, February 13, 1818 Subject: Manifesto A man strings together long chains of poetic but meaningless phrases, such as "the audacity of hope" and "the urgency of now." He speaks constantly of change, but the nature of this change remains undefined. His words are full of "sound and fury," but "signify nothing." Nevertheless, he is hailed not merely as a man, nor as a candidate, but as a movement. A woman almost cries. It is a tiny expression of emotion born of a wounded ego. She fears the loss of the chance to control the lives of millions, and to bend them to her highly personal vision of what they need. Beyond this the tears say nothing, and mean nothing, but thousands swoon and she is rewarded with victory. Another man states a willingness to keep American troops in Iraq for 100 years -- a policy that will inflame the patriotic and religious emotions of a billion Muslims. And yet, he is hailed as a sober man, perhaps uniquely qualified to protect you from the very forces he promises to incite. Many members of the media freely admit that this man's main constituency is the media itself. After all, he has no money, because no one cares to give him any, but the media's cheer-leading is enough to lift him to victory. Meanwhile, another man is largely ignored by the media. He is rarely mentioned in the same breath as the "Audacious Hoper," the "Tearful Egotist," or the "100-year spiller of other people's blood." And yet, he has many millions of dollars, because hundreds of thousands of people cared to give it to him. This man has run for president before. He was ignored by everyone then, but he is supported by many now. The difference is the label he runs under. Only that, and little more. His positions remain mostly the same. Only the label has changed. Look around. Take notice. People vote for reasons having nothing to do with issues, beliefs, philosophy, or ideology. They vote because of poetry, tears, media cheer-leading, and labels. This happens because people do not care for their votes, which cost them little, in the same way that they care for their money. They may not give a man who favors a hundred year war their cash, but they will give him their vote, even when they oppose his war. Votes are treated like bets. They are like cheers at a sports arena. The evidence for this is very clear. And yet, so many of us act as if changing how people vote will change the world. No, changing minds is what will change the world. Invest your time and money attempting to win votes, and no matter how much ground you think you're gaining, at the last minute you will lose your entire investment to poetic sounds, egotistical tears, empty labels, or the sports cheers of the media. And many of the minds you may have changed in the process will snap back to their old positions, because you lost the vote. But invest your time and money to change minds directly, and you will gain the world. The votes may even follow. But be under no illusions, the votes will merely follow, they will never lead. Electoral success will be the last thing that happens in the process of change, not the first. Grasp this fact, or you will groan forever in futile effort and constant despair. This is our manifesto. For centuries African-Americans had to enter buildings through side doors, but now it is possible that an African American will enter the White House itself, through the front door. This didn't happen because people were specifically elected to make it happen. It happened because minds were changed, and the votes followed. For long years a woman's place was in the kitchen, but now her place is anywhere and everywhere she chooses, perhaps even the Oval Office. This didn't happen because anyone was elected to make it happen. It happened because minds were changed. Martin Luther King didn't run candidates and elect them to office. He, and the brave men and women who suffered under the fire hoses and the biting dogs, changed minds through the example of their courage and peaceful suffering. Gandhi didn't elect a slate of candidates to vote the British out of India. Ghandi changed minds, including the minds of the British, and then the British left. The Berlin Wall, and the communist governments of eastern Europe, didn't fall because new legislatures were elected to make them fall. The change happened because minds changed, including the minds of soldiers who decided to no longer obey orders. We don't have cheap air travel and shipping today because someone was specifically elected to make those things happen, we have them because the people in power became intellectually convinced that it would be good to deregulate trucking and air travel. Congressman Walter Jones, a man who supported the Iraq war so passionately that he wanted to change the name of French Fries to Freedom Fries, didn't switch to opposing the war because his conservative constituents re-elected him for that purpose. His policy changed because his mind changed in the face of the evidence. In the long run, people hit only what they aim at. As long as we aim mainly at votes our arrows will constantly pass through a cloud of smoke -- a cloud that is blown this way and that by the gusts from media windbags. But if we aim at changing minds, our arrows will begin to hit home, and cause real, lasting change. This is our aim. And we hope to make it your aim too. We want to change people's minds about what is needed strategically, in order to more effectively cause a change in people's philosophy of government. To change minds we must make the case for small government be seen and heard by everyone, everywhere, every day. It really is that simple. What would it take in terms of time and money to convince the people of the need for things like the "Read the Bills Act," and the "One Subject at a Time Act?" What would it take to convince people to not be afraid of terrorism? The answer to these questions provides the target we need to hit. In this regard we want to bring to your attention the fact that the British government has decided to no longer talk about a "war on terror." This hardly represents a fundamental change in government policy, but it does reflect a change in the beliefs of British leaders. It is a step in the direction of our "I am not afraid" campaign. We need to convince our own leaders to take the same first step. You can push for this to happen by sending your elected representatives an "I am not afraid" message. Use your personal comments to point out that the British government has dropped the "war on terror" rhetoric. Urge your government to do the same thing. You can send your message here. You can also help us to grow to the point where we can make our message heard by everyone, everywhere, every day. You can do that by making a contribution here. Thank you for being a party of the growing Downsize DC Army. Jim Babka & Perry Willis President & Communications Director DownsizeDC.org, Inc.
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