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PhotobucketWe progressives write to each other a lot here, and that stands to reason. We're here, after all, conversing. We also write to President Obama and other elected leaders. We hope we can reach each other and our elected leaders with our arguments. And sometimes we do, at least in part. But we progressives also need to reach someone else, or at least talk about how to reach him.

We progressives need to reach Fred.

More below the fold....

Reaching Fred (Non-Cynical Saturday)

Yesterday I introduced Fred, a moderate independent, the archetypal 50%+1 voter. The Fredling (his 8-year-old daughter) even drew this picture of him, based on polling data Mrs. Fred was using to reassure Fred that he matters in our national dialogue:


Mrs. Fred had that conversation with Fred because too often our national dialogue comes in two models: (1) one of those blue figures on the left arguing with one of those red figures on the right, each claiming Fred already agrees with him/her to prove the other wrong; or, (2) two blue (or red) figures arguing about who is bluer (or redder).

Neither model dialogue makes much effort to convince Fred, nor even to listen to him. Both rest on the theory that elections are contests of base-versus-base, and thus the winning party should govern to its base and ignore Fred. That's a popular theory among us political junkies, who tend to be in one base or the other. But it tells Fred, "If you want to be part of the dialogue, pick a side."

Whether the base-versus-base theory is factually true misses the point: Fred still exists, and still votes. We need his agreement to truthfully claim "a majority of Americans think/want [this]," and we need his vote to win two-party elections. We need to convince Fred.

Who Fred isn't.

First a clarification. Some comments yesterday implied (to me) that Fred gets his information from Fox News, is a conservative, votes against his own interests, etc. But consider Fred's voting record in presidential elections. He didn't vote in 1988 because he was in college and forgot (very common), but Fred voted for the popular vote winner in every election since: Clinton in 92 and 96, Gore in 00, Bush in 04, and Obama in 08. Four votes for Democrats and only one for a Republican.

It's a mistake to look at that Bush 04 vote as if that alone reveals the "real" Fred. No sitting president in U.S. history has lost a wartime election. Conversely, incumbent candidates won in 1812, 1864, 1916, 1944 (arguably also 1940), 1964, 1972, and 2004. (Correction: Like LBJ in 1968, Harry Truman did not run in 1952.) Not all of those incumbents were popular, and some of those elections were close, but the "rally round the flag" impulse seems to be very strong. Moreover, Iraq-as-complete-disaster was not yet the prevailing narrative in 2004, and many other Bush-era failures had either not yet been reported (e.g.: warrantless wiretapping) or had not yet happened (the Schiavo fiasco, Hurricane Katrina).

Fred usually watches the evening TV news, but he doesn't watch much cable news unless he's in a business where it's on or they're covering a major breaking event. When he gets to choose a cable news channel, Fred usually picks CNN because he grew up with them. He listened to talk radio a bit back in the late 80s and early 90s, but got bored when it all started to sound the same. He's surfed political sites on the internet, and has even visited DailyKos a couple of times. Sadly, both times we were having pie fights du jour, which left him wondering what we had to do with him, Mrs. Fred, the Fredling, or the regulars on his bus. (It wasn't just us; he ran into the same thing on other political sites.) He reads some online news in passing, but as I said yesterday he gets most of his news by listening to and talking with Mrs. Fred, family, friends, neighbors, and the regulars on his bus.

With the regulars on his bus, Fred listens more than he talks, because he's driving and because he can't afford to have heated arguments with customers. Their stories about the news, and more so about their lives, are his "finger on the pulse" of his community. It's anecdotal, and it's not always representative of the nation at large, but neither is it totally unreliable. Fred knew our economy was in trouble long before reporters started using the word "recession."

What Fred wants.

As I said yesterday, Fred is a people person rather than a systems-and-statistics person. He takes life one day, one person, and one issue at a time. So he doesn't have an overarching political theory. He wants government to help him, Mrs. Fred, the Fredling, and the regulars on his bus, or at least not make things worse for them.

On issues where Fred thinks government can only make things worse, he'd rather government stayed out of the way as much as possible. He supports Roe v. Wade, for example, because he thinks government mucking around in those decisions won't make them any easier. But Fred supports health care reform, including a robust public option, because he knows people who needed help and got turned down or went bankrupt because their insurance companies denied their claims. He has insurance through the bus company, but wonders how much of it would cover and worries what he'll do if his premiums, deductibles, and co-pays get any higher.

Fred thinks government had to step in during the economic meltdown, but he doesn't like how it happened. He thinks too many fat cats got too much and he hasn't yet seen enough people he knows get their jobs back, or get relief on their mortgages. He liked Cash For Clunkers because a couple of friends were able to get new cars they couldn't have afforded otherwise.

Fred's not a union driver, because the company he works for isn't a union company. They have the contract for the city bus service, and that's most of their business. With city and state budget problems, they've cut some routes and have talked about cutting more. On the one hand, Fred's heard union drivers get paid better and have better job security. On the other hand, one of his bosses said the company's payroll is basically set by the city transportation budget, so if a union came in and said they had to pay drivers more, they'd have to lay off drivers to meet the budget.

He'd like to make more - he and Mrs. Fred are barely scraping by on their median income - but he doesn't want to get laid off, and he doesn't want to see his coworkers get laid off either. He's heard from passengers (or former passengers) who are upset because routes got canceled, and thinks layoffs would only make that worse. So Fred doesn't know what to do about the union thing, and he's left wishing the city, state, or feds would come up with more money for transportation.

So long as they don't do that by raising Fred's taxes. It's hard enough to pay the bills, and Fred doesn't think he could squeeze much more out of his budget. He gets that government needs money, but feels as if any time government goes for money, they come for Fred's money. He'd like to see rich people pay more, but suspects most of them will always find ways to wiggle out of it.

But oh, those rich people are first in line when the government starts writing checks. Back when the Fredling was born and Mrs. Fred had to stop working, Mrs. Fred applied for the WIC program because the family budget was just that tight. She qualified, and they got the help, and it helped a lot. The hoops they had to jump through made Fred feel like everyone thought he was trying to cheat. Hearing that Wall Street bankers got tons of money with no questions asked really gets under Fred's skin, because he compares that to the red tape he and Mrs. Fred had to wade through to get help when they needed it.

What reaches Fred?

Fred's a people person, and when he talks politics he talks about personal anecdotes: his own experiences and the stories of his family, friends, coworkers, and the regulars on his bus. That's how he talks, and that's how we progressives need to talk with Fred.

Yes, we need government to implement policies that help Fred, Mrs. Fred, the Fredling, and the regulars on his bus. But to build support for those policies, we need to convince Fred those policies will work. One way to do that is by ensuring he hears some success stories, government acting on progressive policies that help people like Fred and others he knows. If we only talk about what's broken or not enough, he won't hear those success stories.

Fred wants government to make things better, or at least not make things worse. Before he'll ask government to help, he needs to believe it can help, or he'll want government to stay out of the way.

That's what reaches Fred. And we progressives need Fred.


Happy Saturday!

Originally posted to NCrissieB on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:21 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for reaching Fred. :) (68+ / 0-)

    If we progressives reach Fred, he'll support more progressive policies and more progressive candidates, and help us move our nation in more progressive ways. If we don't ... we lose.

    As always, ::smooooochies:: to Kula, and ::hugggggs:: to the Kula Krew.

  •  There's more, there's me. yippe toolbar (17+ / 0-)

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:24:50 AM PST

  •  And why Fred is only the start.... (23+ / 0-)

    "Weekly Tracking Poll: New Feature Paints Ugly 2010 Picture"
    by Steve Singiser
    Fri Nov 27, 2009 at 06:14:05 PM EST RIGHT HERE.

    The results were, to put it mildly, shocking:

    Voter Intensity: Definitely + Probably Voting/Not Likely + Not Voting

    Republican Voters: 81/14
    Independent Voters: 65/23

    to which Josh says at TPM

    Watch Out
    Everyone knows there's an enthusiasm gap. You don't even need a poll to tell you. You can feel it. On the one hand you've got very gunned up conservatives, who make up an even greater proportion of the diminished GOP. On the other you've got a mix of demoralized progressives and other Dems who feel like they got the job done in November 2008 and have checked out on politics ... at least for now.

    All together, it points to very, very rough seas in 2010.

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:31:13 AM PST

  •  And where's everybody else? Dangerous (14+ / 0-)

    ....we have the Professor of Analytical Linguistics here and the podium is free. Words are called for.
    The end [of this scenario] is near, and pretty obvious.

    Stop the disaster.

    Comment. Early and then often.

    Also rec. The Rec Algo is watching.

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:33:45 AM PST

  •  Fred needs a union (23+ / 0-)

    If Fred were to organize a union in his workplace, he wouldn't have a lot of the issues he claims. The idea that there would be layoffs to meet the higher wage is nonsense. The last we heard, it was illegal to fire a worker who is organizing. See Wagner Act to make sure that I am right on that.

    If he had a union with any of the transportation unions, such as the Teamsters, Transit Workers Union, etc., he would have a stronger sense of security for him and Mrs. Fred. But more importantly, he would learn about the politics taking place in his country because his union would be fighting for legislation that not only affected him, but hundreds of thousands of other workers.

    It is not impossible to think that Fred one day will wake up and realize that he is not, in fact, independent, that he is co-dependent on how the boss treats him and his colleagues. Perhaps he will identify as the working class, which he is, and come to Kos to tell everyone.

    That's what happened, in some respects, to me.

    •  I actually agree with you. (22+ / 0-)

      I raised the union issue to as much to explain the information that Fred bases his decisions on as to discuss the issue itself. Of course Fred's boss was giving a self-serving argument: "If we have to pay each you you more, we'll have to lay some of you off to stay within our budget." (The tacit implication: profits and management payroll are sacrosanct.)

      But it's not an entirely false argument. While a union would get higher wages for Fred and other drivers, the bus company's income is set by the city's budget (with help from the state and feds). There's only so much more they can pay Fred and the other drivers by reducing profits and management payroll. Fred is right about the bottom line issue: somehow cities, states, and the feds need to find more money for mass transportation. This is also a green energy issue and a lot of other issues, but for Fred it's a personal issue about Fred, his coworkers, and the regulars on his bus.

      I'd like to see Fred's company be a union company, and Fred be a union driver, for the reasons you mentioned. But we have to convince Fred that can help and won't hurt.

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

      •  Good Morning and Huggs, Want a Cup of Coffee? (16+ / 0-)

        Just made a full pot.

      •  What Fred needs to understand is that (15+ / 0-)

        money is like the oil in his engine, but the money managers have been treating it like fuel--shutting it off periodically to slow the economy because, like their representatives in Washington, they're basically obstructionists.

        That money men and speculators are aiming for success is a myth.  They've discovered that they can accumulate a lot more wealth by causing everyone who's not a friend to fail.

        They talk about "saving" because that has a nice religious connotation.  But, what the money men are really into is sequestration--holding money back from all the undeserving to show them who's really boss.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:04:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with you, but again ... (11+ / 0-)

          ... that's a systems-and-statistics argument and Fred is a people person. To make that argument, you need to show Fred (if you can) that the management of his bus company are getting (too) fat and happy while he and the other drivers are barely scraping by. It has to be personal.

          Good morning! ::hugggggs::

          •  So, you know all managers are rolling in dough (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Orinoco, i know, NCrissieB, BlueJessamine

            while the peon workers are feeling the brunt of it?

            This is the same old stupid far left socialist line that will bury the Democratic party this coming year.

            You don't know jack, Crissie.

            The managers are hurting..

            The owners are hurting..

            The owners are sometimes taking no salary at all just to keep their businesses alive in this economy.

            But all you can see is the opportunity to rabble rouse the Fred's of the world into believing everything is a class struggle.. and that all management is the enemy.

            fat and happy my ass..

            "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

            by Skeptical Bastard on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:40:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Dear Skeptical Bastard (11+ / 0-)

              I work for a publisher which is the only arm of an international megacorp which is making money (i.e. the publishing arm is raking in huge profits, the rest of the company not).  They even announced to the press that their publishing sales are up 32%.  In the pursuit of keeping their profits up, they are squeezing their authors, lying about sales figures to individual authors, and just generally grinding us into dust.  I am quite sure that management and the board have not yet sold even one of their several chateaus or yachts, and management has not taken a pay cut.

              The boss of my daughters megacorp announced he was suffering along with them when he cut their pay and laid off yet another 10% of the work force.  Yeah, he took a pay cut too, so he's suffering on a 1.25 million a year rather than 1.5 (stock options and bonuses intact).

              There's a matter of degree here... one you are apparently oblivious to.

              "No man is my enemy, my own hands imprison me, love rescue me." -- Love Rescue Me/U2

              by winterbanyan on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:56:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  When a person announces that he "shares" (8+ / 0-)

                others' suffering, it's a pretty clear signal there's a deprivator bloviating.  In a sense, he's "rubbing it in"--making people feel even worse.  Clinton "sharing" people's pain was always a turn-off.  Kissing bobos is fine if there's no blood; if there is, soap and water and a bandaid are much preferred.

                How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

                by hannah on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 07:03:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Note the "(if you can)" and "(too)." (13+ / 0-)

              The parentheticals matter; they indicate that we can't make the argument unless we have the facts to back it up. If the management at Fred's bus company are not "fat and happy," and profits are at a bare minimum to keep the company afloat, then Fred's boss is right: with their income fixed by the city budget, the only way to pay drivers is to pay fewer drivers.

              That's a business-by-business, fact-based analysis, and I quite pointedly did not make the assumptions you're rebutting.

              Regardless, for Fred the analysis will need to be personal, not systems-and-statistics based. That's how Fred processes information, and wishing it were otherwise is an exercise in futility.

              Good morning! ::hugggggs::

            •  Middle Managers and Small Business Owners (12+ / 0-)

              are in the same position as peon workers, especially middle managers and owners of traditional companies -- single retail outlets, small manufacturing, professional services, and so on.

              Maybe Fred's company is owned locally, runs all 28 buses on the city's five bus routes, and contracts maintenance to a local shop. In that case, the owners and managers may be hurting just as much as Fred.

              But there's also the possibility that Fred's company was taken over in a buyout back in the 90s, and the holding company is taking a flat 20% of the revenue for "overhead," and hasn't got any intention of reducing that amount, especially since there's no real competition for the city bus contract. In that case, the "overhead" is likely fat salaries and stock options for a few executives at the top, dividends to the owners, a handful of whom own 90% of the company, and perks that get written off the company tax bill.

              No one is saying all management is the enemy, but if you don't think there is a class struggle going on, you're not looking hard enough.

              "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

              by Orinoco on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 07:15:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Great comment, Orinoco :) (7+ / 0-)

                Hugggs and good morning!

                "No man is my enemy, my own hands imprison me, love rescue me." -- Love Rescue Me/U2

                by winterbanyan on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 07:38:06 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The possibility? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Do you know what the possibility is?  About .03%.

                99.7% of businesses in this country with employees are "small businesses".  They are not mega corporations.

                No, I don't think there is a class struggle.. everyone is hurting right now, except for the fat cats on Wall Street.  This so-called class struggle is a construct created for political purposes.  For all intents and purposes, it doesn't exist.

                Try this read for a reality check.

                Unprecedented times call for extraordinary action
                Small business owners are not taking this recession lying down. Many are finding new resources to tap and new ways to manage costs beyond the traditional steps of laying off staff or cutting back on staff hours. Nearly half of business owners (45%) are open to bartering for new products or services with customers or suppliers and nearly one-quarter (23%) report their barter activities have increased due to the economic environment.

                Additional steps include:

                   * 48% have instituted hiring freezes
                   * 30% are no longer taking a salary
                   * 27% have a family member working pro bono
                   * 25% are renegotiating leases and supply contracts
                   * 16% have cut benefits
                   * 18% work a second job

                Among the 18% of entrepreneurs working a second job to manage through the recession:

                   * 43% are in the services industry
                   * 41% describe their location as a home-based business
                   * Have been in business for an average of fifteen years
                   * Have average annual revenues of $620,000
                   * Employ an average of seven people
                   * Are an average age of 48

                It behooves the left to keep putting business owners and management in the role as ogres.  It is not reality.

                And that is why Fred, the Independent (like me) can see through the bullshit and will either not vote, or vote against the party that is hurting the economy through policy after policy that will destroy small businesses.

                "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

                by Skeptical Bastard on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:48:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  And that, my friend (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JanF, NCrissieB

                  everyone is hurting right now, except for the fat cats on Wall Street.

                  is the very definition of the class struggle we are currently engaged in, and we are not doing too well.

                  When Home Depot moves in and the independent hardware stores are forced out of business, and Home Depot's suppliers are forced to supply schlock merchandise because the independent hardware stores who used to stock the good stuff have gone belly up, that's class struggle.

                  When an independent baker can't get a loan to expand to a larger bakery because mega-bank's money is tied up in the latest mega-corp merger and there's nothing left over for mister baker, that's class struggle.

                  When the small handful of people who own a majority of the wealth in this country stop investing in brick and mortar and people and put their money in casino ponzi schemes and bubbles and derivitives, and the money in the Main Street economy dries up, that's class struggle.

                  Your "reality check" is exactly why I say

                  Middle Managers and Small Business Owners are in the same position as peon workers, especially middle managers and owners of traditional companies -- single retail outlets, small manufacturing, professional services, and so on.

                  Trust me, if some lefty comes along and tries to say the owner or manager of a main street business is the enemy, I will personally help you pull his head out of his ass.

                  "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

                  by Orinoco on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 07:57:35 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Presumably, a bus driver would understand (9+ / 0-)

            that failing to lubricate the engine of his vehicle will eventually cause the working parts to seize up and putting more gas in the tank won't help.  Who's job is it to see that the engine is properly lubricated?  Whose job is it to see that the maintenance logs on a plane are properly kept?  It's the pilot or driver who's got the final responsibility.  It's good for Fred to be a people person.  But, that's also got to mean that his first interest is his passengers' safe transit from one place to another.  He's not on that bus to kibitz on their conversations and if he's not paying close attention to his vehicle, he's falling down on the job and the managers will be doing their job if they hire someone else.

            How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

            by hannah on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:57:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  You did a great job with the Fred family, (7+ / 0-)

        and with the hypotheticals. You're absolutely right, we need to start fighting evil stories with good stories. That's a real 'failure' of a WH media team that seems rather overstretched and under focused right now.

        •  The White House press office can't ... (5+ / 0-)

          ... possibly be aware of every success that happens. As some have noted in comments, a lot of the success stories are "little" successes if judged by standards of national impact, but they're big successes for the people whose lives are improved. We have to help find and share those success stories if we want Fred to believe government can help people like him.

          Good morning! ::hugggggs::

          •  Finding success stories (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JanF, NCrissieB, kktlaw, FarWestGirl

            AS always, MF serves up a tasty batch of ideas and conversation this morning. I was late for the party, but decided to make a request anyway, in case NCrissieB or Jan might read later.

            I could really use some help in identifying, personalizing, and adding meat to those success stories so I'd have more stories at the ready. Have you, Crissie, considered adding "Success Stories" as a feature to MF?

            Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

            by SoCalSal on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 11:10:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  SoCalSal - That is an interesting comment (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NCrissieB, kktlaw

              I have not been around these parts all that long (only being a Morning Featuretteer for about 3 months).

              I think that Morning Feature does include a lot of those stories in the comments from the people who post here. I learn something new every day by reading about other's personal experiences or the experiences of their family or friends or co-workers.

              These spontaneous stories resonate with me. I would worry that anything more formal would feel "forced".

              That said, I am all for more Success Stories.

              Much of life is knowing what to Google

              by JanF on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 12:53:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I understand this (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JanF, winterbanyan, NCrissieB, kktlaw

                These spontaneous stories resonate with me. I would worry that anything more formal would feel "forced".

                The free-low conversation and spontaneity makes up a big part of the enjoyment of MF. Don't mess with success!

                Ok, I'll work some more on how to communicate with Fred Archetype, how to turn some of the broader statistics into personal anecdotes. I could use a new skill!

                Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

                by SoCalSal on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 02:10:37 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  In this case, I don't think Fred is a leader (14+ / 0-)

      so asking him to organize a union probably is going to turn off his hearing. Would he follow an independent union organizer. Possibly.

      " In our every deliberation,we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations" From the great law of the Iroquois confederacy.

      by flatford39 on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:54:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fred doesn't like Unions (9+ / 0-)

      At least that is my experience with Fred.  He does not trust them because they take a cut of your pay and call strikes that put you out of work.

      Note: Those are most of the Freds I know talking, not me. I live in Texas.

    •  Agreed! (6+ / 0-)

      Our president is headed for Oslo. Their president is headed for the Hague.

      by CitizenJoe on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:04:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you ... (5+ / 0-)

        ... but the people you need to convince are non-union, median-income employees in non-union jobs in your area: the Freds. :)

        Good morning! ::hugggggs::

        •  True, (5+ / 0-)

          and almost all of the Freds I meet are viscerally anti-union. I've never been a union member, even though I worked construction in college. But I've been pro-union since my political conscience was born, and I've never understood the antipathy so many Freds have; they seem to have been sold--and bought!--the Republican party line.
          Apropos the theme of your diary, how do you sell Fred on unions? Or do you even try to bother?

          Our president is headed for Oslo. Their president is headed for the Hague.

          by CitizenJoe on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 10:23:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That may be your region. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JanF, kktlaw

            Nationally, ~50% of Americans support unions, which is why I put Fred on the bubble. That percentage is actually low - it's usually nearer 60% - but that it is lower than its historical norm is not uncommon for where we are in an economic cycle. When unemployment falls in a recession, unions take an early hit and then rebound as it becomes clearer that unions weren't the reason the jobs were lost.

            Good afternoon! ::hugggggs::

    •  Teamsters (10+ / 0-)

      The Teamsters have organized more 20,000 bus and transit workers in the last three years. Tell Fred to visit

      •  Do they have an Archetypal Local? (8+ / 0-)

        Because Fred is an archetype, not a real person. I agree with you, and I support unions, but it's not a matter of us convincing each other. We need to be (and I'm sure you are!) reaching out to non-union, median-income working people - Freds - whom we know personally.

        Good morning! ::hugggggs::

        •  Reaching out (9+ / 0-)

          It is a good point. On Kos I mainly post information about the union movement, and more often than not, the Teamsters union because it is where I work. I also publish a web site called and have, for many years, worked on spreading union news and views to both organized and unorganized workers. I welcome you to join me, too.

          •  In light of today's diary you might want to (5+ / 0-)

            start a section of your outreach that focuses on how individual lives have been enhanced since they joined the union. Those personal stories and testimonials may be more useful than the fairly abstract overviews of how many percent new members' income has increased by. Just a suggestion.

            Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

            by FarWestGirl on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 12:50:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is a good idea (6+ / 0-)

              I remember, a long time ago, how hard my job was without a contract. I had many nonunion jobs- usually driving or loading trucks. I'd been discriminated against for being white, hanging out with black people, and once for being Spanish, which I think was the most interesting. I also had shifting work rules to contend with. Sometimes you can park "here" other times you were randomly written up if you parked "there." There was no telling what was going to happen from day-to-day. Once I was told to deliver a load of unmarked boxes to a flower shop (we weren't delivering fresh flowers where I worked) only to find out that the warehouse managers were stealing goods and reselling at markets.

              When I began working union jobs -- things changed, especially the corruption, ironically. I had set hours and set rules, and that alone enhanced my life (and that of my family). My work really proved it, too. I was good at what I was doing and without all the bullshit to contend with, I was left alone to do the best that I could.

              When I got my first office job, it too was unionized. We had rules and regulations that allowed us to do our best work, I felt good at the end of a busy day. Interestingly enough (or not), our contract was frequently questioned by management. It was like they were above it all and could care less. Somehow in the midst of my yelling and screaming I was unanimously voted in to be the shop steward of my department. For nearly five years I protected our contract tooth and nail, and even sat in on committees that would eventually write better language.

              Throughout my working life I became more and more active in the union movement. For the last six years, I moved my activism online. Online organizing and in-person organizing is more or less the same, except I work to reach a lot more people then I could in person. My intentions have been the same all along: To give others the opportunity to see what work would be like with a collective bargaining agreement, with a union behind them, with a grievance process. I became a cheerleader, really -- leading by example as best I could.

              Cheerleading for the union movement is not always all that easy, but as I am writing this comment I am thinking of the endless stories of friends who might share their own. You can read a lot of that stuff at my site, but I will definitely reach out to see if anyone wants to be interviewed for my posts. Promise me that if you meet some rank-and-file workers in your day, you'd do the same.

              •  Will do. I think Dems in general need to start (6+ / 0-)

                approaching our outreach and manage our messages with more of this sort of focus. I agree with Crissie's assessment that most of the people we need to reach and count on more in elections would respond better to this type of approach and we're totally falling down on providing it. We're doing good work and making differences, we need better PR to let people know about it.

                Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

                by FarWestGirl on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 01:52:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  What a great story, Union Review! (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JanF, Union Review, kktlaw

                That's exactly the kind of very personal story I've been talking about as making up Fred's "database." It isn't about systems, statistics, theory, etc. It's about "This is happened to me." Fred hears those stories all the time, and regardless of whether the personal stories he hears from people he knows are a representative sample of American life, they are Fred's "finger on the pulse" and the database on which he bases his decisions.

                Good afternoon! ::hugggggs::

        •  Sorry. Can't help it. Coffee Spew Award Nominee. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NCrissieB, kktlaw

          I know this is serious but I had this picture of an Archetypal Local float up in my brain and it made my afternoon beverage of Pure Spring Water spew at my screen.

          The Archetypal Union Hall and the Archetypal old greybeard telling the young guys what it was like when they used to have to hitch up their horses to their busses.

          (I will go away quietly now)

          Much of life is knowing what to Google

          by JanF on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 12:58:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  So how does Fred hear those stories? (25+ / 0-)

    President Obama is getting slammed from right, left, and center because he's either doing too much and "ruining the America we grew up in" or not doing any of the things he campaigned on, like single payer (oops, he didn't campaign on that) or getting out of Afghanistan (oops, he supported that war and said he'd pay attention to that again). We had eight years of running this country into the ground, but it seems that everyone wants it turned around in eight months.

    So if all Fred hears is criticism from the media and even from President Obama's supporters, then where does Fred learn about progressive values? About the things that actually have been acheived so far? It's not getting reported. Even LBJ had some support from Republicans on issues of the day. But now the Republicans are blocking every single thing just because...

    It's scary to me that so many seem to be angry over the preceived failures of the Obama administration and swear they won't work for his reelection or to keep the majorities in Congress. And then what happens? President Palin? Eeeeeek!

    Sorry, it's non-cynical Saturday.
    Good morning and Huggggggs to Crissie and the Krew!

    There is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action ~ Goethe

    by theKgirls on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:39:25 AM PST

  •  Top of the Morning (.........) (16+ / 0-)

    (TotM is a featurette of Morning Feature – a meta recap of the previous day’s blogging and a stopping off point for catching your first breath. Feel free to join in or hang out.)


    Coffee Spew Award™

    Gustogirl in a discussion about rich foods makes this confession observation:

    Wow, interesting.
    And welcome news, since my favorite food group is butter and mayonnaise!


    Top Typo Award – The Sticky (Icky) E Key

    LaFeminista started the day by channeling Dan Quayle (and forgetting pluralization rules):
    I may be making a potatoe pancakes

    Then Jim W chimes in with this subject line: Left overpotatoes

    Note: We are not sure if this comment was teasing LaFeminista or actually made the same mistake. But it did coin a new word which led to riverlover’s comment:

    this could be the best typo of the day. Overpotatoes, OMG we all understand that. There are also left overgrits, left oversweetpotatoes (that one has nuances, doesn't it). Pick your own left [fill in this space], perfect for this diary.

    (Note to peeps: JanF loves "JanF!!!" shout-outs)


    TotM Quick Tech Tip – Redux 2
    (I will be repeating this throughout the weekend because it seemed like a lot of people did not know this trick).

    Very often TotM is linkie rich, asking you to pause in your reading to look at other DailyKos comments, follow threads from the previous day’s MF or look at a Pootie picture. Remember, there are two ways to follow links if you use Internet Explorer:

    1. Clicking the link
    1. Right-clicking the link and choosing Open New Tab or Open New Window

    I prefer opening a new tab because then I don’t lose my place in MF. Directly clicking the link (and then returning) wipes out the history of which comments you have read which makes following your friends more difficult and can lead to unintentional slights  ("wahh. why didn’t he/she read my comment?").


    From High Impact Diaries
    h/t jotter

    From Thanksgiving Day Hot List: Morning Feature: Thank You! by NCrissieB

    rank nrec ncom tators cnx viewers
    17    71    249   47   86  235

    So that is 71 recs, 249 comments from 47 commentators, 86 connections and 235 viewers.
    (Number of connections is the total of commenters and recommenders, without duplication).

    Much of life is knowing what to Google

    by JanF on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:39:25 AM PST

  •  A minor point.,, (10+ / 0-)

    Truman didn't lose the election in 1952. Adlai Stevenson was the Democratic nominee. Truman, like LBJ in 68, didn't run for re-election.

    "Let's remember, we should care about people even after they are born." Representative Alan Grayson

    by irate on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:42:32 AM PST

  •  We don't know who Fred's passengers are (18+ / 0-)

    so we really don't know what he is hearing, do we?  Don't bus passengers cut a slice through all income, social levels?

    Once Katie Couric replaced Dan Rather at CBS, we switched our nightly news to NBC, but quickly became disillusioned with what we heard there, so we no longer get our nightly news fix, but do have CNN on as background noise during the day.  And even CNN paints the hard news in negative colors.  And, if you look at the diary titles this morning, the majority of them are 'FAIL' in tone.  

    That the job stimulus packages have not resulted in more jobs being created is a hurdle most of us can do nothing about.  Once work is more available, Fred's passengers will cheer up a bit.

    •  Some of us may be Fred's passengers. (13+ / 0-)

      Alternatively, you probably know other Freds. Here at Casa Crissie we know several, and elements of their lives are reflected in the archetypal Fred of this series. They're median-income roughly-40-year-olds whose jobs bring them in contact with a lot of people, and they tend to bond with their regulars. Yes, those regulars do cut a reasonable (though not representative) cross-section of our society. In talking with them, I've been surprised by how many are like the Fred of this series, including that voting record.

      They are not progressives in the sense of having a unifying progressive outlook and adopting issue positions that are consistent with that outlook. But their core values are surprisingly progressive - they care about and want to help people - and they're willing to support progressive ideas if we explain how those ideas will help people like them and the people they know.

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

    •  Passengers on Fred's bus (11+ / 0-)

      in my town would be mostly minority, some college students, and mostly poor.  In other communities, they may differ, but in my town, that is who they would be.  In my community, the majority of Fred's passengers would vote Democrat or not vote at all.

      "in the wake of Sept. 11, a frightened nation betrayed one of its core principles -- the rule of law -- for the fool's gold of security." Leonard Pitts

      by gulfgal98 on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 05:56:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think this is why I'm having trouble with (9+ / 0-)

        the Fred analogy.  The working class here is either minority or rural white and very conservative.  The bus riders are mostly college students since all the buses hub to the University.

        Those that I know that are registered Independent are very far left and were Nadar voters.  Or they are very well educated Conservative voters who became disgusted with W.

        I'm living in a very Southern town but the University is large enough to provide a large cultural and liberal overlay.  But it's a polarized place with very little middle ground.

        •  There aren't hoards of Freds ... (5+ / 0-)

          ... but the data suggest there are as many Freds (nationwide) as there are progressive Democrats ... about 22% of each. About 11% of the electorate are moderate Democrats. We Democrats are only 33% of the electorate, and that's not enough to win elections. We need those 22% who are moderate independents ... the Freds.

          Good morning! ::hugggggs::

          •  There's probably not an even distribution (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JanF, Orinoco, NCrissieB, FarWestGirl

            of the Freds.  Any idea about the distribution in the Southern states?  

            Good morning and hugggs.

            •  I cited the poll on ideology ... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JanF, Orinoco, Dichro Gal, FarWestGirl

              ... in yesterday's diary. It's a Gallup Poll, and they may have published the regional crosstabs that you can access at their site. I didn't check, but you may find it there.

              Good morning! ::hugggggs::

              •  Thanks for the link (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JanF, NCrissieB, FarWestGirl, sjterrid

                I didn't see a breakdown by region.  But I did note that a number of the questions dealt with social issues rather than economic issues.

                Another theory for Fred's voting pattern might have been Clinton in 92 because of the economy. Then Clinton is the incumbent and Gore was heir apparent.  Then Bush 2004 is the incumbent during a war and Kerry was very successfully painted as being out of touch with the average person.  And 2008 was definitely an election about the economy.

                Most people that I know that describe themselves as "moderate" or "centrist" say that they are liberal on social issues but conservative on fiscal issues.

                A successful jobs bill would be a very good story for Fred.

                •  You're right. That would help a lot. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JanF, Dichro Gal, FarWestGirl

                  Gallup usually offers detailed crosstabs in links somewhere or other, but they may not have in this one. And there are legitimate questions about how they liberal-moderate-conservative responses. Still, that was the best statistical data I had, so that's what I used for ideology in the Fredling's drawing. The party identification data came from a Pew poll (cited yesterday).

                  Good morning! ::hugggggs::

      •  That's true in some communities. (6+ / 0-)

        This archetypal Fred drives a bus in a larger city where the bus attracts a wider cross-section - and that's why I chose that profession for him - but in many communities you're right. He's only one of many Freds, though, and you probably know others: people person, takes life one day-person-issue at a time, willing to support progressive ideas if you explain how they'll help him and others like him, but whose support we can't take for granted.

        Good morning! ::hugggggs::

  •  Good morning Crissie, (15+ / 0-)

    I am really glad you stayed with the Fred theme this morning, as since yesterday I have been thinking about a very hypotheical question or two. Say we are successful in reaching Fred. Is there a finite number of Fred's out there and what happens if we reach them all??? What would be left??? Somehow I suspect new "Fred's" come in an endless supply, but that is perhaps a topic for a different discussion.

    Thanks for provocing thought, it is a gift.

    " In our every deliberation,we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations" From the great law of the Iroquois confederacy.

    by flatford39 on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:49:34 AM PST

  •  So we ride the bus (14+ / 0-)

    when we have a success story to share. ;^)

    Seriously, we may not find Fred on his bus, but there are other ways to connect with Fred.

    Fred may also read the alternative press. Not Mother Jones, but the throwaway advertising supported local community rags. Many of these get a lot of readership, partly because they are free, but partly because they have a community calendar and entertainment section. People want to know when and where their favorite local band is playing.

    Fred also has a local watering hole. He doesn't go often, but does show up on "Boys Night Out" which he negotiated with Mrs. Fred a few years ago. It's probably not the bar you go to, where the professionals hang out, but it's not a total dive, either. There are regulars, and some of them get listened to. Unlike letters to the editor, though, you can't just show up once, get on a soap box, and expect to reach anyone.

    Fred may also belong to a fraternal organization. He's not a veteran, so you won't find him at the local VFW, but he might be an Elk, or a Moose, or an Eagle.

    Good morning! and ::huggggggggggggggs:: to the Kula Krew, and Fred. ;^)

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:53:11 AM PST

    •  Fred goes to Cheers (14+ / 0-)

      where everyone knows your name, until a stranger walks in and then everyone stares at you, and then you leave...

    •  Yes, and as noted above ... (8+ / 0-)

      ... we probably already know a Fred or three, in some other walk of life, perhaps in one of the venues you talked about. They want government to help where it can, and we need to find and share government success stories with them so they'll believe government can help.

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

      •  We need to FIND government success stories... (8+ / 0-)

        and therein lies the problem, methinks.

        How in the hell did all the monuments to our human potential get built? How did the Capitol building get built? How did the metropolitan areas build effective sewage systems, and water distribution systems, etc., etc? How did the highway system come into being? How did the transportation systems in Chicago and New York get created? When I think about what it would take to completely refresh JUST the elevated system in Chicago (where I live and run my Small business) it boggles the mind. I highly doubt it could be done at all even under the best of conditions, totally in the face of the fact that I am certain that it could be physically done.

        "Government" is not making it easy to find positive stories of government success. And while the processes involved in the escalating decay of governments’ effectiveness, efficiency and credibility are many, complex and have been going on for a loooong time, I cannot help but think that the hope we were looking for in President Obama was that he was going to straightforwardly investigate and champion methods and means to begin correcting government waste, fraud and abuse. I am quite sure that I pay closer attention to the news than does Fred, and I cannot come up with much at all when it comes to easy to understand positions advocated by the President and his teams of so-called leaders that could help our ability to tell Freds everywhere encouraging stories of government success.

        Anecdote: An obvious wingnut and his forty-something daughter walked through my t-shirt shop yesterday (where we had the best "black Friday" we have had since I assumed ownership of our family business four and a half years ago BTW... We ARE hoping that will carry on throughout the season!) and after quietly walking the length of my store the daughther noticed something that made her laugh that crazy, incredulous wingnut laugh. The dada did not see it and she pointed out a particular rack of shirts that I could not see from the counter. Dad realized what she was pointing at and guffawed robustly "No, no, no! Ha, ha ha.!" I moved to see what they were on about and it turned out to be the sparse rack of the remaining Obama t-shirts we have left from the election. The two of them bee-lined for my door, and would have been running I’m sure if the old man had not been walking with a cane.

        Now I could not give two shits (I AM sorry Saturday morning, please excuse my not so deep surliness really) about these two potential customers. I do not need their business, and frankly I do not care to share this planet with them. But there is nothing I can do about that. My point is that it is so much easier to find stories of government failure than of success that most everyone anywhere in the vicinity of Fred is getting bombarded with stories of how government is bad, and not many messages that government CAN BE (forget "is") good.

        I can only put that on the President. He is the brightest of the bunch. He asked for and was given the highest position of leadership there is. And someone please point out for me and Freds everywhere which are the top five stories of government success... let’s say in the last half century or so?

        And that is why is say again and again and again things like: Let’s bring the troops home and put them, along with those currently unemployed to WORK building THINGS, like bridges, and transportation systems, and smart grids. And let’s CHAMPION and eliminate the destructive and enormously expensive (in both lives and money) so-called drug war! Where is he on this? We will no longer use the feds to bust medical marijuana users? That will not cut it by a country mile. It represents virtually no change; though don’t get me wrong, I am glad this FIRST, marginal step was taken.

        Also, when there may be stories of government success, maybe the President should hire people like the writers from the Daily Show, or Colbert to fashion the news in attractive, easy to digest ways. In spite of his great oral skills, the President is a pretty bland character, no?

        Arrrggghhhhh... what am I going on about anyway??? I ought to go find a pootie diary!

        Sorry for the dissolving line of thought there. I like the idea of reaching Freds. I like it a lot. Actually, I try to do it a lot. But you can only lead horses to water, and it is harder still to try and lead mules.

        Thanks for the great effort Crissie! Smoochies to all you peeps! What a great day it looks to be! least in Chicago.

        I don't wish to be cynical, but I find it hard not to be. "Bullshit is the glue that binds us as a nation." -George Carlin

        by The House on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:20:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree it would be easier ... (9+ / 0-)

          ... if the success stories were abundant and abundantly reported in the media. The success stories aren't abundant yet, and I'm not holding my breath on them ever being abundantly reported in the media. But on the other hand ...

          ... you just told one here, and buried it in parentheses:

          (where we had the best "black Friday" we have had since I assumed ownership of our family business four and a half years ago BTW... We ARE hoping that will carry on throughout the season!)

          That shouldn't be a parenthetical "by the way." That's a success story suggesting our economy may be starting to turn around at least a little. "Worst Black Friday in four-and-a-half years" would get a lot of attention. "Best Black Friday in four-and-a-half-years" needs to be more than a parenthetical with a BTW.

          Good morning! ::hugggggs::

          •  Can't attribute the success to government tho (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JanF, Orinoco, NCrissieB

            If fact, they seem to work against me most of the time, that is when they do try to do something. For example, once a year (and only for the last three years out of 33 in business mind you) a fire dept. official comes by to order us to upgrade our fire extinguishers. Of course I am all for fire safety. But if the government is going to order us to do something then they must, to remain ethical, provide us with the means through NON-PROFIT services.Or else they should SUGGEST that we update our extinguishers, not order us to.

            It should have been the same with safety belts. Government should have made it the responsibility of the Corporations to make cars with automatic shoulder belts, if they want us to wear shoulder belts so much. They should not place the onus on the driver/citizen, which not incidentally give the "authorities" the right to stop you if you  should neglect to use your shoulder belt.

            Let us hear about removing government from our private, personal matters. And let government get serious about truly necessary oversight, self-oversight as well as corporate oversight.


            I don't wish to be cynical, but I find it hard not to be. "Bullshit is the glue that binds us as a nation." -George Carlin

            by The House on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 07:06:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So we attribute no successes to government ... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JanF, Orinoco, FarWestGirl, SoCalSal

              ... and all failures to government ...

              ... and wonder why Fred thinks government can't do anything right?

              Good morning! ::hugggggs::

              •  Not so much that "we" don't. I know I don't... (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JanF, Orinoco, NCrissieB, FarWestGirl

                attribute no successes to government, that is I try not to. But that is what Fred gets from his sources. I say that kinds of things here that are blunt and direct, and how I wish I could say always correct... things I don't get too deep into with those I meet through work, and not even with my friends and family as much as I would like to feel able to. I am working on that.

                I am happy that what the president has done with the economy seems to have stopped a true disaster. I do talk about that with my employees co-workers as well as with many of my customers, you know, those who seem open to having a real discussion.

                But I crave greater positive action from the President and the congress. More fool me. Our municipality just raised our property taxes by nearly 25%, and they appear to be expecting an additional 20 something percent next year. This has STARTLED this life-long Democrat come left leaning social libertarian!

                Could we ever make OUR messages popular? I like to believe we could. Daily Shows and Real Times help, and I am grateful for them. But we need more. I am getting close to making a transition I have been working toward for some time, one where my business will operate profitably, without much of my attention. I am investigating what kinds of work there may be for a person like myself in the world of positive message distribution, and I am excited thinking about the possibilities. So, while  reality still rules, and no matter how bothered I may get at times, I am really looking forward with great optimism to what the future will bring.

                Happy Saturday one more time!

                I don't wish to be cynical, but I find it hard not to be. "Bullshit is the glue that binds us as a nation." -George Carlin

                by The House on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 07:49:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I have to disagree (8+ / 0-)

              Fire safety and automobile safety are not "private, personal matters." The public has an interest in a possible fire in your shop not spreading, and has an interest in reducing the damage to your person should you be in an auto accident, since we pay for the emergency room you would be taken to.

              Whether it is ethical or unethical to ORDER rather than SUGGEST is wordchopping, a mandatory suggestion seems to me an awful lot like an order.

              Fire inspectors follow the law, written by representatives of voters. If the law provides for at-cost fire extinguishers then that's what you'll get. If the law simply says buy them in the marketplace and pay another merchant a profit, you'll get that instead.

              You can argue in the public arena that mandates should be fully funded, or non-profit, and many people do. But it isn't fair, or reasonable, to take it out on the fire inspector who is, after all, just the legislature's messenger.

              "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

              by Orinoco on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 07:38:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't take anything out on the inspector. I am (5+ / 0-)

                strictly talking about a fundamental principle that prevents the appearance, and hopefully the act of government/corporate collusion. I don't think what I said is mincing words.

                Perhaps with a suggestion the law could say that if you do not keep up to date equipment then you could be more liable in the event of a fire. And I would rather have this fire safety thing be mandatory. But if we are going to try and take "government" serioiusly, then it must abide by certain principles. Otherwise, whenever we water down our fundamental principles we invite scorn and contempt for the Law.

                Government must try to be very careful, just as we citizens must be.

                I don't wish to be cynical, but I find it hard not to be. "Bullshit is the glue that binds us as a nation." -George Carlin

                by The House on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 07:54:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Woulds and shoulds and coulds (6+ / 0-)

                  are the purview of the legislature. You're writing as if the government is something "out there" with its own agenda. The government is us. At least, that's the theory.

                  The principles the government is supposed to abide by are written in the Constitution, which provides for a legislature to write the laws and an executive to enforce them. I know you know this, and I don't mean to sound condescending.

                  What the law should say, what fundamental principles must be followed, that's politics. Reasonable people may disagree.

                  Have we got too much corporate influence in our  government?  I think so, and rail against it. If it comes to torches and pitchforks, I know which side I'll march with. But in the meantime, I try to use the system to change the system, just as the other side does.

                  "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

                  by Orinoco on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 08:36:20 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I appreciate your thoughts, and agree I think, at (5+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JanF, Orinoco, NCrissieB, FarWestGirl, sjterrid

                    least in general. I too try to use the system to try to effect positive change. I don't think I am very good at it though. I suspect that most of us are not, or else things would be better than they are.

                    I don't wish to be cynical, but I find it hard not to be. "Bullshit is the glue that binds us as a nation." -George Carlin

                    by The House on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 09:32:03 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Amen (8+ / 0-)

          Finding the stories is a prerequisite to telling the stories.

          I'm not sure they all have to be stories of great heroic endeavors like building canals or skyscrapers or dams. Or the Loop.

          My friend, the accidental cop, told me she spent an hour or so convincing an alcoholic that he might just be an alcoholic. She works for the county court system and he was up on charges of domestic abuse while under the influence. She writes up a report for the judge to use in sentencing.

          So he beat up his girlfriend while drunk because she wouldn't have sex with him. The girlfriend called police, crying and hysterical (there's more to that story, but it's pretty graphic.) She withdrew her charges the following day (which is not uncommon for domestic abuse) but the prosecutor had enough other evidence to press the case.

          So my friend has him in her office, pressing him on the alcoholism issue. Yes, he goes to court ordered AA meetings from a previous DUI, but doesn't take it seriously. Yes, he gets into arguments with his girlfriend, a lot, and yes, it happens when they've been drinking. My friend spends an hour going round and round the denial and obfuscation until the guy finally has a little epiphany: he might just be an alcoholic.

          He might just start taking that talk at his AA meetings seriously. He might just give up the booze. He might just manage, after 17 years of drinking (he started in his teens, he's now 30) to get a handle on his life, his aborted education (he didn't go back to school when he started making a living as a bartender,) his relationships.

          So it's a little success story, one guy, one girlfriend. One government employee, taking the time to get that one guy out of his alcoholic rut.

          Now, maybe in Fred's circle, there's an alcoholic who pounds on his girlfriend when he's drunk. And everybody knows that she really didn't get that black eye by falling on the floor or running into a door. And maybe Fred wishes someone would talk to that guy, but whenever anyone he knows has tried, they've run into the denial and given up. So here is a story of a government bureaucrat, with the time, the training, and the experience, to get through.

          Good morning, The House, and you've got a great sig line! ::hugggggggggggggs:: :)

          "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

          by Orinoco on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:54:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Your comment struck me (10+ / 0-)

      Unlike letters to the editor, though, you can't just show up once, get on a soap box, and expect to reach anyone.

      The same argument could be made about letters to the editor, or joining in the demonstration du jour. Who are you trying to convince to see your enlightened view of things?

      I looked at the local obituary list this AM (weirdness, yes, but my sister does it, too, in another state and city). And it came to me, L to E is kinda like writing an in memoriam ad to your lost loved one, who do you think is reading it?

      As I said yesterday, face-to-face discussion, with no debate course training showing,is what might convince some of the Freds out there that they agree with us more than they realized.

      Good morning, Orinoco.  

      Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry. F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby

      by riverlover on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 05:33:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think a well told story (9+ / 0-)

        published as a letter to the editor might have a one-off effect. On the whole, though, I agree with your point: you need to be seen as a respected authority in Fred's circle to have an impact.

        Now I don't mean you need to be Mr. AnswerMan. A respected authority is simply someone who has established some credibility and authenticity (no debate course training showing.)

        As NCrissieB pointed out, Fred is not a statistics and numbers man, he's a people person. He will listen to, and empathize with, a well told story, but a discussion attempting to convince him to change his mind will generally raise hackles and turn him off.

        So we need to learn how to tell stories. Stories get past the affective filters people use to protect their belief systems. The stories needn't be personal stories: cartoons are short, punchy visual stories, and political cartoons do have an impact.

        And we need to learn how to find stories to tell: we can't rely on the "if it bleeds, it leads" media, for obvious reasons.

        Good morning! riverlover, and ::hugggggggggggggs:: :)

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:22:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good morning Blogistan! (12+ / 0-)

    I was up early, published a piece on Associated Content, worked on the draft of Daily Kos University, and am now here!

    What's up?

    BTW, belying the stereotype, while both Mrsplf and I are liberal Democrats, I am probably MORE liberal.  And the same holds for my brother and his wife.

    We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

    by plf515 on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:55:14 AM PST

  •  We should also concentrate on Fred Jr. (16+ / 0-)

    who just turned 18.  He's thinking of not voting, because it doesn't really matter, isn't cool, and none of his friends are doing it.

    But young people tend to be Democrats/liberals, and once someone starts voting, they are likely to keep voting

    We all differ in ways that matter. But we're all the same in the ways that matter most.

    by plf515 on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 04:57:01 AM PST

  •  Fred receives LOTS of forwarded e-mails (20+ / 0-)

    from the "red" side of his circle of friends and family.  Othen they're full of falsehoods or half-truths, but they're written passionately and they tell Fred about gays wanting "special rights" and immigrants threatening to steal his job and his taxes paying for lazy welfare-queens and the War on Christmas and other foaming mouth talking points du jour.  There's "no shame in their game" -- receive, read, forward, repeat.

    Fred usually recognizes these e-mails for what they are, and promptly deletes.  Others make Fred scratch his head and agree "yeah, there's some truth in that."

    Fred's "blue" friends and family don't mass-forward e-mails of a controversial or political or controversial political nature quite so much.  Fred's "blue" friends receive many of the same "red foam" e-mails, and curse the stupidity before deleting.

    Fred has signed not a lot of on-line petitions, so he's not receiving Democracy Now or Courage Campaign or OFA e-mail blasts.

    As a result, Fred's e-mail in-box colors Fred a little on the pink side of the purple spectrum, whether on social issues (God, guns, gays) or economic ones (big government, taxes).

    Maybe Fred's bluer friends, this one included, need to take the risk, step out on a limb, and hit "reply all" instead of delete on the more egregious of the "red foam."  Those bluer friends would need to take a deep breath first, arm themselves with documentable facts, and the steel-resolve to maintain the moral high ground while also risking alienating family members and/or long-standing friendships.

    Such well-reasoned arguments can help in the tug-of-war in getting Fred back on the blue side of the pit, while also making him more likely to recognize future "red foam" for the fringe falsehoods they invariably represent.

    And nothing beats face-to-face honest intelligent discussions of the matters of the day.  Poll after poll has shown that folks are more likely to support gay rights if they have had positive interactions with gay friends, family, and/or co-workers.  So it would seem logical that progressives similarly need to "come out of the closet" and be more willing to express their progressive values (whether by e-mail, on the bus, in the pew, or wherever).

    My two cents - take it to the bank!

    Good morning -- hugs y'all.

    •  This is very true, CDH. (8+ / 0-)

      Fred is a people person, not a systems-and-statistics person, so his reasoning is grounded his own values, experiences, and observations of people he knows. If he gets input that is generally consistent with his values, experiences, and observations, he'll usually accept it as true. If he gets input that is plainly inconsistent with his values, experiences, and observations, he'll usually treat it with suspicion.

      We could argue all day over whether Fred should see the world through that lens, or accept that he (like most people) does see the world through that lens, and try to be part of what he sees. The ideas you raised are excellent ways to do that.

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

    •  I tried this recently (17+ / 0-)

      with a nicely worded reply correcting the misinformation with two links showing that it was bogus.  I ended my reply with that I thought the sender and others on the email list might want to know that this email was full of misinformation. I also suggested that each time they receive one, it might be in their best interests to fact check it through one or more of three linked sites that I provided.

      What I got back in return from the sender was a vicious rant about how poor people are milking the system already and how the sender was "damn sick and tired of it all." The sender further stated that providing healthcare to everyone was simply a socialist plot and that since they already had theirs, they were not about to support people who prefer to earn unemployment rather than get a job.

      I was so taken back, that I simply ignored the response.  The fact is that I personally know how unemployment insurance works since a family member became unexpectedly unemployed without cause many years ago.  It was not an easy process to go through and the money was considerably less than what they earned working.  

      The original sender of the email I responded to is a college educated childhood friend who is upper middle class, living in a gated, probably mostly white neighborhood.

      That response was the first time, I was ever attacked back for simply correcting the email with documented facts.  What I have generally found is that when I send back something correcting one of these emails, the sender usually just deletes me from their list.  There is no way to reach people who do not want to be reached and yet they continue to dictate the information stream with misinformation and disinformation.  

      People like Fred probably are not going to spend a whole lot of time fact checking these emails and once someone like me is deleted from the information stream, there will be no fact based rebuttals.  

      "in the wake of Sept. 11, a frightened nation betrayed one of its core principles -- the rule of law -- for the fool's gold of security." Leonard Pitts

      by gulfgal98 on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:17:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Facts are pesky things and most of the (8+ / 0-)

        people who send those emails are not interested in them at all.

        As you discovered.

        Much of life is knowing what to Google

        by JanF on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:20:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  True enough... (9+ / 0-)

        and your experience is likely very typical.  And yet, if your reply was a "reply all", you still may have had the positive effect of prompting others on the sender's e-mail list to start doing their own fact-checking.  Any maybe, just maybe, after your e-mail address was deleted, one of those other fact-checkers found the courage to "reply all" to the next one from that same sender, and so on.

        So, you did the right thing.  The sender might be unreachable, but if Fred is rational and witness to the exchange, then I believe we'd come out ahead in instances such as these.


        •  I agree. (5+ / 0-)

          In fact, if you are interested in continuing to receive e-mails to rebut (a challenging hobby, to say the least,) you could reply-all but, before you send it, delete the original sender from the address list. That way everyone else who got the email gets the rebuttal, but the original sender does not, and, unless he hears about it from someone else, will have no reason to delete your address.

          "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

          by Orinoco on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 07:52:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oooh, very good! Stealth rebuttals! lol Edumacate (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JanF, NCrissieB

            'em in spite of themselves.

            Great idea, Orinoco, I'll have to try that with a friend of mine who's started forwarding that stuff.

            Good afternoon! :::Huuugggsss:::

            Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

            by FarWestGirl on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 01:19:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have my entire family on email blacklist (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NCrissieB, FarWestGirl

              Just kidding, but I have made it clear that I do NOT want any of the forwarded stuff. Every once in a while, one of them forgets and I get an email that makes me want to smash my head against my desktop over and over again.

              First, because a human being had to have written it and I do not want to have a bad opinion of the human race and second, because someone who shares my DNA thought I would want to see it.

              Good afternoon, FWG! Nice to "see" you here today. I had to leave early and missed what appears to have been a very lively discussion.

              Much of life is knowing what to Google

              by JanF on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 01:27:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, I really hope I can get back to earlier (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JanF, winterbanyan, NCrissieB

                posting soon. ::sigh::

                As a way of keeping track, the whole 'opposition research' thing, I can see its value, but it's hard to wade through and not feel furious, slimy and disgusted. ::sigh::

                Good afternoon! :::Huuugggsss:::

                Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

                by FarWestGirl on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 01:56:42 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Just in case Fred is here, Pie is over there (15+ / 0-) the latest, but alas, not the last discussion of the White House gate crashers.

    But the bottom line is found more quickly over here.

    Their Limo was first denied admission

    They walked to the door from that check point (or joined another on foot check point, which is not clear), stopping to have a hair and makeup check done in public, a public that included Brian Williams (giving him a chance to be reporter for the first time in a long time).

    Their names were not on a check list but they were allowed to procede by an officer who was not a member of the USSS, the United States Secret Service  (and not the SS, which was the Nazi elite organization).

    They could possibly face both Federal misdemeanor charges.  The misdemeanor one is interesting, as it is pretty new...The question of intent is pretty clear, as per having a tv crew with you for seven hours while preparing for the event....But there is no case law on its application.

    h/t Ben Masel It's a misdemeanor. 18 US Code 1752

    (a) (1)
    (a) It shall be unlawful for any person or group of persons—

    (1) willfully and knowingly to enter or remain in any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting;

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 05:01:32 AM PST

  •  Great diary. I love it! (15+ / 0-)

    Much to think about.  I'm concerned that Fred just doesn't vote. He's been disallusioned by past pols that promise a lot and don't deliver. How do we convince him to get out and vote?

  •  Noise versus news (15+ / 0-)

    Much of what pretends to be news today is simply noise. Or should I say NOISE? Fred is not the only person experiencing this "where's the news of things that work?" phenomenon.

    I check out Obama's weekly video and radio addresses. I check out the site. But stories I would share with Fred...hmmm where would I find those?

    GM and huggggs

  •  I met Fred's auntie at Safeway 5 years ago. (12+ / 0-)

    It was at the checkout line.  She's an older woman buying you-know-what, et cetera...  somehow chat between she, the checker, and me waiting behind turned to Bush/Kerry.  Fred's auntie said that she was a life-long Democrat, but she was voting for Bush because "he has kept us safe".  

    She was terrified of those Islamofascist Boogymen force-fed into her reason-starved mind by mainstream patriotic-drenched pseudo-news.

    I responded to her with something about structural violence and Bush administration oil-based strategy... but she was oblivious to the soundbite I offered in that 30-second interaction.  She had been coopted by a larger rightwing SurroundSound program and wasn't interested in a conversation.  Unfortunately, I think she was one of those easily swayed by bullshit graphics and "immediate" sexy audio-visualpackaging such as one associates with FOX and other (e.g., CNN) media.  If it appears "IMPORTANT/NEW!/BREAKING!/SEX!/DEATH!/VIOLENT!" on the teevee, it's bound to seduce the gullible... and, really, these "folks" are out there and comprise a good part of the electorate.  How doth one reach these without simplifying subtle differences into comic book form?

    Or is that what needs be done?

    "You go to Thanksgiving dinner with the relatives you have... not the relatives you might want or wish to have at a later time."

    by yojimbo on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 05:16:05 AM PST

  •  You're rec'd so I can go, g'day all n/t (10+ / 0-)

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 05:16:57 AM PST

  •  I think activists, on both sides, stay involved (14+ / 0-)

    in the process and are dismayed by the lack of attention from the general public. I don't think that it means they won't turn out though. Merely that they get tired of the rhetoric and tune out.

    As the election nears and their particular concerns are in jeopardy or being ignored by one side or the other, they will probably engage. I have a number of friends like that. A month before the election they suddenly want to talk politics.

    I think Fred's like that. He'll look around as the election nears and then make a decision. Until then, it's just noise.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 05:16:58 AM PST

    •  That's true in terms of voting ... (13+ / 0-)

      ... but we also need Fred's support in public opinion polling between elections. I think the public option would long since have been dumped from health care reform, were it not consistently showing support from 2/3rds of those polled. Getting Fred's support does not guarantee we'll get the progressive policies he supports, but losing Fred's support makes it all but impossible to get those progressive policies done.

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

      •  Media a factor, but people still talk, heh... (7+ / 0-)


        Clearly, commercial mass media propaganda has significant effect, among a substantial sector of the population, and is a legitimate issue and concern...but with just a few more Progressives, and a few less Blue Dogs and Republicans in Congress, the present tenuous balance of power, which now barely hangs by a thread, will shift a lot more in our, toward meaningful media and campaign finance reform, for example (not to mention all the other issues).

        I think it's important to remember that despite 40 years of monopoly corporate fascist commercial mass media propaganda blitz, 24/7, on all channels, ratcheted up to an hysterical, draconian frenzy before the election, the American peoples, yet and still, stepped up and elected Obama and a Progressive Caucus majority, within a Democratic Majority.


        Meanwhile, I think we need to pay a whole lot more attention to those who are not "likely voters".

        "Swing voters" and "undecideds" who are too opportunist or confused to make up their minds between the Republicans and Democrats from one election to the next are more or less subject to just go with the perceived flow.

        What we need is a veritable flood of new (and return) voters, enthusiastically stepping up to finish what we've started, to seize the power in this country, to implement real democracy...That is what swept Obama into power, and it needs to be sustained, to purge what remains of the criminal murderous right from all levers of power, to suppress the anti-democratic traitors, to the greatest extent possible, democratically, electorally, in 2010 and 2012.

        The right has consistently mobilized their entire wing-nut constituency these many years, to just barely seize and hold power, mainly by suppressing likely Democratic voter turnout by hook and by crook.  The right has no electoral reserves to call up...they are all in.

        But some 100 million eligibles refused to vote, even for Obama, mainly due to disgust with the Blue Dogs, and a perception of "no difference" between the parties.

        While the Diarist's proposal, that we need to bring the good news...along with accurate, principled, incisive analysis of the bad...applies to all demographics, I think that huge latent pool of mostly progressive-leaning non-voters is the real ticket to victory.  

        I think the bottom line issue, and the rhetorical point that needs to be made, whoever you're talking to, including "left" and "progressive" elements, as well as the low income, less educated, marginalized, disenfranchised elements, who most often sit out elections, is that there really is a difference between the parties, and that there is, in fact, hope for real change, if enough people will just step up and engage the enemy in the arena the pigs hate and fear most...the electoral arena.

        The main problem with the Democrats is the extent to which so many of them do tend to emulate and capitulate to the Republicans.... but the corruption and treason emanates from the right.  

        Remove that corrupting influence of the Republicans (and Blue Dogs), and there's nothing that can stop the people of this great nation from achieving that which we all need and desire: actual real democracy.

        We really need to find ways to break through the cynical defeatism that sows demoralization and risks stalling out this historic revolutionary popular democratic insurgence, for 2010 and 2012.

        It's not over yet.

        Bring the Better Democrats!

        All Out for 2010 and 2012!

        All Power to the People!

        "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

        by Radical def on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 07:27:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with you, however ... (8+ / 0-)

          ... the party and ideological breakouts in the Fredling's drawing are actual data: ~22% of the electorate are progressive Democrats (the two blue figures), another ~11% moderate Democrats (the dark purple figure), ~22% moderate independents (the two pink-purple figures with dark purple caps), ~22% conservative independents (the two pink-purple figures with red caps), and ~22% conservative Republicans (the two red figures). The links are in yesterday's diary. Fred is an archetype, but he's not a complete fiction.

          We need to be cautious about Great Silent Majority arguments that assume there are a whole lot of other people out there who really are like us - progressive Democrats - but who somehow aren't getting counted.

          Good morning! ::hugggggs::

          •  No doubt, my own rhetoric may be...too harsh (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Orinoco, NCrissieB, FarWestGirl, sjterrid

            And may need to be...somewhat modulated, for general public discourse, heh.

            I would just point out that most polling and sampling that derives such figures as you cite are aimed at regular and "likely voters", including people with telephones (or now, computers), and those whom they are able to catch at home..,.and they tend to ignore non-voters.

            There are still a lot of people, especially the very poor, who don't have phones or computers, or who are so busy working several jobs, that they are not as available to the pollsters. Also, the less politically engaged, most marginalized or demoralized, are much less likely to respond, even if contacted.

            I think polls only somewhat reflect actual mass public opinion, more or less.

            Also, exactly how poll questions are phrased can make a big difference in the response, of course.  Labels like "progressive" or "independent" are somewhat...nebulous, to say the least, and substantially skewed by conventional perceptions of what those terms might actually mean.

            While very few people may be willing to self-identify as a "radical leftist", I do think the poll I cited above is a more accurate reflection of actual public opinion...This is NOT a "center/right" nation, no matter how much Faux "News" spews that meme, lol.

            When it comes down to the nuts and bolts issues, public opinion is moving left, at an accelerating pace.  The right is no longer politically correct in this country.

            And the ultimate poll of the masses, the last national election, demonstrates that people were able and willing to see through the commercial mass media hype...which would be further greatly facilitated by serious media reform that makes overt lies and unprincipled slander by the present commercial mass media substantially less prevalent.

            The really significant aspect of Obama's election was that so many new voters stepped up and participated, effectively swamping the polls in overwhelming numbers, significantly reducing the impact of the usual propaganda and dirty tricks.  

            Republican strategy relies mainly on low Democratic voter turnout, which makes it possible for their cheating to barely "win", by just shaving a tiny sliver of votes off the results.  With massive turnout, that's not anywhere near as easy or effective, heh.  

            The more people who vote, the more the results tend to go Democratic, historically, statistically.

            A vast majority of people earnestly want justice and peace, to save the planet...and nobody with a brain thinks that monopoly corporate fascism is going to deliver any of that.  

            However it may be phrased, I think that's what it all really all comes down to, ultimately.  

            Either we have anti-democratic fascist corporate elite rule, for their own profit, against the public interest, or we have popular democratic self-rule, by the people.

            All Power to the People!

            "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

            by Radical def on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 08:33:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You make several good points ... (6+ / 0-)

              ... most notably that Democrats tend to do better in high-turnout elections, not surprising as we have a 3:2 advantage over Republicans. But that advantage is ~33% to ~22%, with the rest being independents, so we can't win unless we get the moderate independents as well. I agree there are legitimate criticisms of how the Gallup poll (cited yesterday) identifies liberal-moderate-conservative voters. Still, it's the best data I could find, so that's what I used in "helping" the Fredling draw "her" picture.

              Good morning! ::hugggggs::

              •  Agreed...those polls not entirely irrelevant... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                NCrissieB, FarWestGirl

                And I have no problem with working hard to win over those more "moderate" elements, who may still need to be shown the alternatives in action, to fully believe and accept them as viable and necessary.

                I would just have to draw the line at those self-conscious Blue Dogs who would opportunistically, selfishly, deliberately, choose to ally with the Republicans, against some perceived "communist" threat of democracy, out of an irrational blind faith in the "rewards" of a dictatorship of monopoly corporate elites, racism, sexism, eco-rape, murderous corporate ripoff and imperialist wars of colonialist aggression.

                That jive is no longer politically correct, and it must not be "tolerated".

                We don't "need" a fifth column of anti-democratic, fascist, traitorous "opposition", to be democratic.  

                We have them way out-numbered, and they are either going to have to change their ways, or else be subject to revolutionary justice.

                "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

                by Radical def on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 10:45:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  We are still engaged (6+ / 0-)

              in that great struggle, to see whether government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth.

              The fascist aristocracy believes that liberal democracy is an artifact of cheap energy and excess leisure. They foresee a future similar to the Middle Ages, with feudalism, royal families and peasants, and are trying to position themselves to be on top when the oil runs out.

              We foresee a sustainable future of renewable resources harvested with a long term view of the future. Where the dignity and worth of all human beings is nurtured and cherished.

              We need to clarify this picture, to show it to Fred, because we know that if he sees it too, he will stand with us, for a sustainable future.  

              "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

              by Orinoco on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 08:52:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Right? NOT about "going back to stone age"... (6+ / 0-)

       the Chamber of Commerce hacks always say...

                This is not going to be a matter of "giving up" our "standard of living", except in the sense of abandoning the most harmful and wasteful aspects.  Our "standards" of "living" will be vastly improved.

                It will, in fact, not only be cleaner, safer, more healthy, affordable and sustainable, but also more satisfying, comfortable and aesthetically appealing, in every way.

                I think once we really get the green paradigm rolling out to a more substantial degree, people will more readily recognize, appreciate and embrace it.

                Imagine, never again having to ever pay for electricity, heating, or gasoline!  

                And a natural environment is just so much more beautiful and satisfying, than freakin' plastic crap.  And the food!  Sooo much fresher and tastier!

                Also, many are less aware of the more social aspects of green principles, which include mutual aid, cooperation and solidarity, for justice and peace... actual real democracy, for a change!

                This is NOT a pitch for a guaranteed loser "alternative" Green Party, heh... Democrats are embracing, or "co-opting", if you will, those issues and concepts, as the only rational, feasible way to go, which have always been at the core of the progressive movement...long before "The Greens" emerged, as a twisted "Libertarian" usurpation.

                "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

                by Radical def on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 10:27:06 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Propaganda? (10+ / 0-)

      Never, never in the past years have I heard so much talk, mutterings about the '10 and '12 election.  Obama has more than three years left in his administration, and the Republicans are already making games with their talk of defeat.  And the worst part is, we are falling for their rhetoric.

      If the progressive/liberal wing of the Democratic party is biting and chewing on this propoganda, certainly Fred is going to believe it.

      •  I talk to a lot of people in my community. (9+ / 0-)

        People love to talk and they like it more when they have an attentive listener. So I ask a lot of questions in a general way and most of what I hear is regurgitated talking points.

        Most of what I hear is about HCR or the economy. Everyone is worried about both. The election, not so much.

        I haven't met anyone that can name even one Republican that's running in the primary here in Ar. against Lincoln and some of those I ask say they're Republican's.

        btw, I think Lincoln's seat is safe, in spite of the talk to the contrary.

        "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

        by sceptical observer on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:59:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I always thought that (14+ / 0-)

    we (Democrats) have a tough road to hoe because people don't perceive that their taxes are well spent (in addition to thinking that they are too high). Since we have to pay for a gigannormous defense budget, it leaves not enough for things that could make a very appreciable notice to our lives. (Nice that we subsidize Europe so they can spend money on popular things like universal coverage, child care, etc)

    An example, studies from the Volpe Group inform us east end Long Islanders that it would take, depending on scenario, between $40 - $80 million dollars to build a good public transit system out here. We have the LIRR, but very sparse bus service.

    Is that a lot of money? Yes and no. But so far the study basically sits on a shelf and people like me bring it up once in a while. Maybe Stimulus 2 will direct money this way. Besides the socialites out here, we have plenty of old folks who can use the service. These public works projects are necessary. (NOT PORK).

    Recent article in NY Times -- The U.S. need multi-billions to improve sewage systems in this country (NY particularly up the creek unless something done soon). Also, every year the Civil Engineering Society reports that our infrastructure is crumbling.

    So, to me, to reach Fred, we need to show that we can get our priorities right, spend money on important things that improve people's lives. Easier said than done, I guess.

  •  Online news (14+ / 0-)

    I worry that Fred reads the online news, locally and nationally, and sometimes dips into the "comments" section.  It appears to me that there is a cadre of right-wing spewers that immediately chime in with the right's talking points of the day/week.  This used to be called The Mighty Wurlizer, I think?
    Anyway, I have taken some time and psychic hits to go thru the comments and flag the most abusive (calling the president a monkey, pig, socialist, communist) and reply in the calmest possible manner.  I notice that there are some in the local paper that also do the same.  
    At any rate, we lefties need to speak out in every possible forum and point out progress...and there has been quite a lot, actually. We are slowly becoming more tolerant and rational in our thinking, despite the tea-baggers and their screaming.  I think most Freds, Mrs. Freds, and Fredlings can see they are nutz.  We over here have to remain credible and vocal, and we are, truly.  We also must remain politically engaged and talk up our candidates and causes even if we are tired or think not enough progress is being made.  Change this big will take the better part of a decade ONLY if we push, prod, poke, and point our leaders.
    Good morning, hugs to all.  

    Think what you are doing today. -Fred Rogers

    by JanL on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 05:36:20 AM PST

  •  I'm worried about Fred (11+ / 0-)

    If he gets his news / information from people he listens to then he gets a disproportionate amount from people that want to talk politics.  Right-wing hate radio and TV tend to energize people into wanting to talk politics.

    I live in Houston, Texas (Democratic mayor, voted for Obama, but it is in Texas an otherwise red state).  The politics I normally hear in "public" places are of the Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage type.  So, again, I am concerned about Fred hearing a lot of the crazy and not so much of the sane.

    BTW, I think this series is a great idea.

    •  A lot of Fred's news isn't political. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanF, Orinoco, FarWestGirl, sjterrid

      It impacts on political issues, but a lot of Fred's "news" is personal stories about the jobs, homes, kids, health issues, etc. of people Fred knows. He weighs their stories more highly than, say, the Dow Jones Index. If that's going up but more and more of the people Fred knows are in deeper trouble, Fred is not the guy who's going to say "Yeah, but the Dow is up!" Instead, when someone else says that, Fred will say "Yeah, but a lot of people I know are hurting."

      I'm not sure if that quite answers your question, but I hope it does.

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

  •  We must think about the future of our species now (10+ / 0-)


  •  Good morning, Krew :) (9+ / 0-)

    Sorry, had to run errands early this morning, and got here late.  Really sorry about that because there have been so many great comments and so much good discussion.  So I find myself here at the bottom with little to add except:

    Hugggs and good morning to all!

    "No man is my enemy, my own hands imprison me, love rescue me." -- Love Rescue Me/U2

    by winterbanyan on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:44:21 AM PST

  •  Fred has a radio in his car (5+ / 0-)

    He turns it on. He turns the dial. Five different stations (at in Columbus) give him 24/7 Rush and Rush-wannabies.

    It's all he hears in ALL of Ohio. All right-wing. All the time. There are no progressive stations, and no progressive shows, in the whole state.

    (A few years ago, Clear Channel did put progressive radio on it's WEAKEST signal, WTPG, and the station tripled its ratings...but not good enough. So they flipped it to right-wing, its rating plummeted to asterisk. Yet it was a "business decision.)

  •  yo soy Fredo (10+ / 0-)

    Below median income, with a larger than median family, of which he is passionately protective. Takes pride in his work an wonders why everyone else doesn't.

    Needs two incomes, one of which is cash based.  Spouse recently lost two customers, two days of weekly work, but looking for more.

    Culturally conservative kind of guy, very confused about GLBT, believes in unions, wishes there was a way to join.

    Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

    by Eiron on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 07:38:13 AM PST

    •  Thank you for speaking up! :) (8+ / 0-)

      And yes, Fred is conflicted about LGBT issues, though he doesn't consider himself conservative - only ~40% of Americans do - and his voting in presidential elections has been mostly Democratic. Because he doesn't have an overarching political theory and considers each issue in isolation, and because the prevailing political dialogue has been conservative for most of his adult life, Fred (a moderate) holds conservative positions on some issues and progressive positions on others. But the data suggest Fred's core values are more progressive than not, and if we reach out to him through those values and with anecdotes that connect to Fred, Mrs. Fred, the Fredling, and people he knows ...

      ... we can reach Fred ...

      ... and you.

      And we need to.

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

  •  Fred can better determine (6+ / 0-)

    the value of a policy he can "take for a test drive".  

    If we were able to do limited tests of some policies it might help Fred see their value.

    Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

    by SoCalHobbit on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 08:00:02 AM PST

  •  Eminently readable and reasonable, as always. (9+ / 0-)

    Fred sounds like me.  Why do the rich get it so easy, with bailouts and the like?  I know people trying to rework their mortgages who have been trying to do so since last spring, getting the run-around.  And these are the same firms who are spending our money.

    And why is assistance frowned upon, with all the red tape you cite?  We all pay taxes for it, so that, God forbid, if we find ourselves in a jam we can get some aid, which we paid for while we were working and being part of our communities, by the way.  

    I like Fred.  And I (largely) agree with him.  You know what I call rubbing salt on a wound? Saying Bernanke did, in effect, a heck of a job.  Bush was a disaster, yes.  But some things President Obama has done have been tone-deaf, to say the least, and cold, to say more.

    If Obama puts people first, and is seen to appear to be putting people first, he will be unstoppable.

    ♥ Medicare For All. ♥
    "Our health care system is like a casino. The insurance industry is the House... The House always wins." -- UnaSpenser

    by Chi on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 08:00:37 AM PST

    •  I like Fred too, and he's based ... (6+ / 0-)

      ... not only on statistical data, but on some real people I know. They're not ideologues, and I don't say that to compliment or criticize them; they just don't have a unifying political theory. They take life one day, one person, and one issue at a time. Given the dominance of conservative political memes in Fred's adult lifetime, it's hardly surprising that he has some conservative issue positions. But if you look at his voting record, it seems his core values are more progressive than not. And the real Freds I know do care about people and want government to help where it can or at least not make things worse.

      I agree that President Obama will be unstoppable if he puts people first and is perceived as doing so. We progressives need to help with that perception, by finding and sharing the stories of policies that help real people with real problems. Yes, we can and must still criticize policies we think are wrong or that we wish were better.

      But if Fred hears only criticism - and never hears stories of government helping people - he's less likely to support policies where we ask government to help and more likely to support policies where we ask government to not make things worse (i.e.: get out of the way). We progressives have to help President Obama and Democrats reach Fred. Fred is reachable, and we do need his support.

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

  •  Leaving in a few minutes but (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanF, Orinoco, NCrissieB, FarWestGirl, sjterrid

    I have a question.  What do you mean by "systems" person?  I'm not even sure I've asked the question correctly.  But it was used in juxtaposition to "anecdotal" and "story".

    Off to spoil a good walk of 18 holes.

    •  Concrete vs meta is kind of how I see it. Systems (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanF, Dichro Gal, NCrissieB

      describe how things work overall, in theory. The concrete is how it affects Everyman on the street. It's just a matter of focus.

      Take the Cash for Clunkers, which Fred liked: In theory it's more efficient to pay to get the polluting vehicles off the street and newer, cleaner running vehicles out there instead. In practice, the government picked up the tab for people to trade up to nicer, newer cars that cost less to run and maintain. Fred's more interested in the practical than the theoretical. The theoretical benefits are nice and he probably agrees with them, but if it doesn't help him or people he knows in a concrete way, he's not going to support it as strongly or vote for people who talk to him about that theory and those systems rather than what's going to make his life and those he knows better.

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

      by FarWestGirl on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 12:31:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I should have clarified that more. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanF, Dichro Gal

      FWG answered and her response was good, but here's another. If someone says people are still unemployed, Fred won't be the one to say "Yes, but the Dow Jones Index has rebounded some, and consumer confidence has shown a slight uptick. If GDP starts to grow, jobs will come back. Employment is always a trailing indicator in the economy."

      Fred will reply "Maybe, but a bunch of folks I know are still barely scraping by, or trying to find jobs."

      The former is a systems-and-statistics argument about the economy. The latter is an anecdotal, people-based argument about the economy. The people whose stories Fred knows may or may not be a representative sample, but they are still the people whose stories Fred knows and that's his information base.

      Good afternoon! ::hugggggs::

  •  Be excellent to Fred (7+ / 0-)

    As Crissie points out, Fred is not a "systems thinker". So, how does he decide what he thinks and how he votes?

    One way people decide things is by what other people seem to think, especially people that they like, trust, respect. So a two step process to possibly influence Fred would be 1) establish emotional positives in your personal relationship with him; and 2) let him know what your political views are.

    Within step #1, I would particularly emphasize emotional trust. Fred needs to feel safe and comfortable with us. That he isn't being pressured, lectured, or judged. He needs to see the ways that he is like us, not the ways that we consider ourselves to be unlike him.

    That's what opens the door for Fred to take our relatively well informed political views into account. He's got all kinds of people telling him all kinds of things, and some of 'em have national shows on TV and radio. So why would he listen to what we think? It won't happen unless he knows, respects, trusts us, so we could start there.

    •  This is so true. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanF, DBunn, kktlaw

      Fred's database is his own values, his personal experience, and his observations of people he knows. If new information is consistent with that, Fred is likely to trust it. By contrast, if new information is inconsistent with that, Fred is likely to question it. That's true whether the new information comes from a scientist, religious leader, political figure, or new acquaintance. Fred's first test is how it fits with his own values, his personal experience, and his observations of people he knows.

      If we earn Fred's trust, we become part of "his observations of people he knows," and our stories become part of Fred's database.

      Good afternoon! ::hugggggs::

      •  Shorter version (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JanF, NCrissieB

        Be someone that other people feel like listening to.

        The converse would be, don't be some smart-ass college jerk who is contemptuous of those with less knowledge, and eager to assert superior rank. For some reason, Fred doesn't respond to that.

        Sophisticated, progressive guys and gals know lots of stuff that Fred doesn't know-- but the reverse is also true. So, let's listen to what Fred has to say, and when he says it, let's act like we heard it.

  •  A personal anecdote (8+ / 0-)

    Perhaps from Mrs. Fred's sister?

    I attended one of those much talked about health care town hall meetings this summer. As a good Republican, it was my duty to attend.

    At my meeting, U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions asked everyone with health insurance to please stand up. Suddenly there was a wall of people all around me, standing.

    This moment of health care camaraderie was shattered by the voice of an older man who shouted out, "Why don't you ask those of us who DON'T have health insurance to stand up?" I had the same thought but chose to keep my uninsured trap shut.

    Before the man even had time to reclaim his seat, one of my fellow Republicans hollered back, "Get a job!"

    I was astonished. You really think not having insurance means you are some sort of lazy, unemployed bum?

    Co-pays were $40 a visit, and we had a $1,000 deductible. Hardly a steal, but it was what we could afford.

    Over the next six months our premium increased three times. No major injuries or illnesses, just a well baby visit and some vaccinations.

    I was fed up, but couldn't shake that voice in my head saying, "Your kids may need it one day, and then you'll be glad it's there."

    Finally we had a need, but was our insurance there for us? Absolutely not. Our insurance covers cancer. It covers heart attacks. It covers life-threatening illnesses and really nothing else. Sometimes I wonder if our money would be better off crammed into an empty coffee can.

    "The required presence of health professionals did not make interrogation methods safer, but sanitized their use" Physicians for Human Rights

    by Catte Nappe on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 09:01:25 AM PST

    •  That could be from Mrs. Fred's sister ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, JanF, kktlaw

      ... or any of several people Fred knows. And yes, that's the kind of story that resonates with Fred, because he's seen it play out in the lives of folks he knows. It may even have played out in his own life at one time or another. That's why popular support for health care reform has been so solid this year, despite the massive, industry-funded noise machine: 2/3rds of Americans have had that experience or know people who have.

      Good afternoon! ::hugggggs::

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