Over and over again, I see opinion pieces thinly disguised as news stories with titles like “The GOP’s SHOCKING problem with racism” or “You won’t believe what this GOP congressman said about minorities! (VIDEO).” Go to Reddit, Facebook and anywhere else and you’ll be inevitably deluged with this flood of recycled news stories from a variety of websites that claim to be liberal or progressive – but the only issue they’re truly “progressive” on is growing their bank account through whatever means possible.
Look folks, we get it. Pretty much everyone on the left and even the middle has grasped the fact that the Republican Party tries to portray itself as being the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower, when in fact they wouldn’t even vote for Ronald “Trickle-Down” Reagan if he was running today. I don’t think there are many people left in this country who aren’t aware of the fact racism, ignorance, xenophobia and misogyny are tolerated by the establishment wing catered to by the fringe politicians. The people who still vote for them are either rich and they don’t care, or they’re poor and they don’t care since we’re sending Obama and the UN black helicopter ninjas to take their guns away and indoctrinate their kids – because that’s what some looney conservative website told them.
Barring some incredible change of heart, I don’t think there are too many voters out there who are going to change their beliefs, and they’re just going to wave off recycled outrage stories as just “more liberal garbage”. You know what? I don’t exactly blame them. As progressives and liberals, we do a damn fine job of preaching to the choir as the saying goes. We have too many people (on both sides of the spectrum) redoing the same old story with just a few changes to the format, recycling the same memes and pretending it’s something new and fresh. Or better yet, posting a quick video clip from C-SPAN or Fox News onto their own “liberal news” site with only a sentence or two to introduce it. Why? Because it’s easy, it doesn’t require much original thought and it sells.
If we are going to change hearts and minds, it’s not going to be by simply bashing people over the head with the same old tired talking points and articles through social media or in person. For every argument, they’ve heard as many or more rebuttals and it’s been drilled into their heads repeatedly. You’re not going to change the mind of your uncle who drives a 20 year old car, works a dead end job and still somehow believes the GOP has his best interests at heart by posting the same tired meme about class warfare. You may never change the heart of your homophobic mother who happens to have a gay son, but I can guarantee you that trying to get her to read a recycled article with a shock headline from some hard-left site will definitely not accomplish that.
As much as we talk about how Republicans run a party of tired old ideas, we need to make sure we don’t fall into the same trap they did. We need to avoid the social media circle jerk of talking about how bad the other side is and start explaining to people how progressive policies will make their lives better. There’s a fair amount of money to be made off just talking about how great Rachel Maddow is and how horrible Rand Paul is, or how “Bernie Sanders just OWNED Wall Street executives in an EPIC rant,” but other than putting some easy money in the pockets of these bloggers, what does that really accomplish? Did that really change any hearts and minds? Did that get a homeless veteran still suffering from PTSD a decade later the help he or she needs? Did that help the single mother who doesn’t have the money to get to the next payday because Wal-Mart put the local store she worked at out of business?
There are important local, state and federal elections coming up over the next few years and simply just talking about what Rachel Maddow or John Fugelsang said, or how Rush Limbaugh is a racist and how Fox News is totally full of crap isn’t going to turn red states blue. It’s fine to talk about what’s going on (preferably with some originality and effort put into how you present your case), but we need more action. We need less sensationalism and more analysis, less preaching and more thoughtful explaining – otherwise we’re no better than they are. Sadly, there are some in the “liberal news” world who would rather not acknowledge this or act on it and change the way they do business – but that doesn’t mean you have to reward their laziness by continuing to give them the easy views they crave.
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