Snake Oil, Skittles, and Bitter Pills; Part Two

Getting the message across…

Where was I? Oh, yeah, the message; and the problem is presenting that message to those whom we know share many of our ideals. The fact is that so many of us don’t understand why the people we try to engage with don’t seem to comprehend what we’re saying.

They don’t comprehend the logic of our arguments because they are no longer even listening.

Are you still wondering what I’m talking about?

Here’s the thing, too many of us have no real awareness of our audience. We have no real awareness of the people we are trying to move in a given direction with logical arguments.

More and more, people don’t necessarily share the same particular views on religion and morality and, just like most of the rest us, they don’t want to be talked down to. They don’t want to feel like the people they are listening to are also trying to convert them to a personal life philosophy while they are in the process of making a political argument or point.

Know it or not, most conservatives do just that to their audience; they even do it to other conservatives who don’t share the same theological belief system. I know very well, as I am one of those people.

Many conservatives tend to make arguments and wrap them around their personal religious viewpoints as to the reason why their argument is correct. Often, they use their religious text as a baseline from which all of their arguments spring. What they don’t realize is that in doing so, they are inherently dismissing and de-valuing the other person’s viewpoint or beliefs. They rarely, if ever, allow for the fact that the person they are speaking to may have arrived at the same moral conclusion without taking the same theological route!

The audience’s viewpoint, theology, or life philosophy is called into question, critically found wanting, and then dismissed all in the same breath; without the benefit of it even being part of the dialogue!

Do you want people to listen? Do you want to engage them in conversation or civil debate? Do you want to refine and strengthen your own viewpoint and maybe get people to understand why things like the ACA and ‘free stuff’ are a horrible idea? Why hard work and merit are a good idea? Why it is bad to give the government more power without the benefit of oversight? Why it’s bad to give the government more power through making more Americans dependent upon it?

If that’s your goal, then stick to the subject at hand. Have the other conversations later if you feel like they are important. Make yourself aware of what you are saying, and be cautious of the judgment you pass on others with your own seemingly innocent words and attitudes. Be aware of your comments and the level of respect you are affording another’s underlying beliefs. Even if they aren’t the same as yours, they are just as valid to them as yours are to you.

Many people believe that there is only one group that it’s still okay to ridicule, deride and publicly make fun of in America. I agree that this group is consistently persecuted. The question is; why has it become generally acceptable?

A big part of the reason is the people in that particular group have reached a point where their very conversation points, while not overtly offensive, can be construed as such; often times due to a passive-aggressive manner that can often come across as hostile. It can sound like they are talking down to and passing judgment on others who do not believe as they do.

The message that comes across is ‘since you don’t have the same theology or read the same text, you can’t possibly fully understand’; that translates to ‘you’re not educated enough to really get what I’m saying.’ People tend to react more strongly to the passive-aggressive approach than to a direct confrontation.

People get tired of being told (or having it implied) that their personal belief system is inadequate and they are not capable of truly understanding the real morality. They get tired of being preached at. Instead of investing the energy in correcting the attitude, they just start tuning out.

This fight is hard enough without our audience tuning us out. Our argument is a good one. We have facts, historical events & outcomes on our side. We can win just on the merit of facts alone. It’s the only chance we have to return this country to its former state of greatness. It just requires some discipline and humility. It requires some thought as to who you might be addressing.

As so very often happens the message is right on. It’s how the viewpoint is presented that makes it palatable or not. Re-form your message. Keep in mind what demographic your audience might fit and wrap your message up in the right paper.

Not doing so comes across as arrogant and judgmental.

To do so is not disingenuous nor is it a denial of one’s belief system; It’s simply good tactics.

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