19 August, 2009

Addressing Saul Alinsky's rules for radicals

I've been studying Saul's rules. #5 particularly hits home for me.

RULE 5: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." There is no defense. It's irrational. It's infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

I know something about ridicule. As a child I had three strikes against me. One, I was overweight. I still am. Getting called lard butt. fatso and the like. Two, I've worn corrective lenses since I was in first grade. Four eyes was the most common moniker I was hung with. Third was that I wet my bed, and sometimes my pants. At the time, it was an intensely shameful thing. I've come to realize that I have nothing to be ashamed of. I was called Lee the Pee.

I've embraced who I've become. The good, the bad, and the no longer ugly little secret I used to carry. I can laugh at myself. I don't give power to those who choose to try and demean my physical limitations. Nor do I give power to those who would attack my ideas. Call me a Nazi for opposing health care reform, then give me a brown shirt and I'll click my heels gladly and bark "Heil Reagan!" Hang the moniker on me of right wing extremist, and I'll gladly open carry my weapon where it is legal to do so. Tell me that by dissenting I am somehow not patriotic, then call me a traitor. I'll stand pround as I'm put up against the wall.

In the movie A Clear and Present Danger, Jack Ryan advises the president to state that the murdered political ally of his was not only a friend, but a close friend. He embraced the negativity and it became a non-issue. He gave the press nowhere to go. Tom Clancy definitely got that one right.

If someone verbally attacks you personally, if they ridicule you about something that is true, like owning guns, state "Yes I do, would you like to go shooting with me sometime?" It disarms (pardon the pun) their attack. All they can say is no. They look pretty stupid continuing to attack you when you've offered them friendship and a chance to try something new. There is a defense for it. Embrace their ridicule. Wear it proudly, like a badge of honor.

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