Get the Message?!
Report by Betty Sakai
Conservatives suffered election shock in 2012 when Barack Obama was re-elected to the second four year term. Every exit poll question except one had been in favor of Mitt Romney who was considered the decisive winner. When exiting voters were asked, “Who do you think cares most about you?” The majority answered, “Obama cares most about me.” Obama won the election because he understood the power of the story. He understood how to connect with voters’ emotions.
Much sought-after speaker, Bill Whittle is a champion of American liberty, of conservative principals. He understands the power of story-telling in an era of pop culture emanating from the elimination or sublimation of course studies at the high school level on the U.S. Constitution, Civics, and U.S. History. The failure to produce an educated citizenry has affected an entire generation and threatens our freedom and this Republic. Whittle’s message to those who are fighting to preserve freedom is that while nothing in the Conservative message needs to be changed, the packaging must be changed. The Left he said is selling a terrible message, but one packaged in a diamond-studded box.
Conservatives must learn the power of the story. We must understand the power of pop culture. Young people don’t listen to Obama’s speeches. They vote for Obama because the people they admire -- entertainers like the singer Beyonce -- like Obama. Understanding and controlling the pop culture is everything. It’s the air we breathe, the ocean we swim in. It’s the story characters like Superman that get into our hearts and minds. It’s the Family Guy on TV with all his political messages.
We have a large, large problem before us, Whittle emphasized. Our young are becoming more and more Left wing. If we have any hope of turning things around, we must understand that young people vote the way they feel, not the way they think. Youthful voters vote for Progressives because they have not been educated to understand what Conservatives are. They will tell you they don’t like Conservatives.
Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 Presidential election was a gentleman candidate. He allowed himself to be vilified without vilifying Obama. He let himself be demonized thinking voters would see through the juvenile lies. But people will not vote for the villain. They might vote for a villain if both candidates are villains, and then they will vote for the less villainous of the two. Obama’s team cast Romney as a vampire. They accused him of causing cancer in his employees, of sending jobs to China. And Romney said nothing. Obama’s multiple evil acts during his first four years in office were never brought up by Romney.
Bill Whittle then focused on the three things that define a Conservative. He had inquired of these points with U.C. Berkeley students. Simple is better, he said. The three points are (1) freedom, (2) private property, and (3) virtue. Freedom, he said, simply means, “Do you want to be left alone, or do you want to be told what to do?” In a room full of students, he asked, “How many of you think you are a Socialist?” Seven out of ten raised their hands indicating they were Socialists. Whittle then asked them to define Socialism and offered a definition to which most agreed, “To each according to his ability, to each according to needs.” He asked students to raise their hand if they wanted to be left alone. All wanted to be left alone. Only a few indicated they wanted to tell others what to do. He then added, if you want to be left alone, then who should tell you what type of health insurance you must have? If you want to be left alone, then don’t you want the smallest government possible because government has the power to force you to do what you don’t want to do?
By this time, some of the students were looking at Bill Whittle rather suspiciously. He then asked the students, “What kind of I-Phone do you have?” He assured them, “I’m not going to take your phone. We’re going to sell them together and go out in the street and give the money to those who need the money, who have less than us.” No student brought their phone down to the podium. His goal was to make them live up to their moral code. Some of the X-Boxes he suggested could be sold for $300 and this is enough money to help support a family in the third world for an entire year. He said that to expect others to do something and not live up to the same moral code yourself is hypocritical. He added that the poorest American is richer than 95% of the people on earth.
Concerning private property, Bill discussed owning something as the result of their parents or them working hard. Students agreed that being able to buy stuff is a reward for working hard. None wanted to let others get into or use their stuff.
Concerning virtue, some thought virtue meant staying celibate until age thirty. But Whittle said virtue simply means “Don’t be a jerk”. He asked if anyone thinks they have the right to take what is inside someone else’s backpack. No-one answered in the affirmative. If you feel you have that right he said, then you are a jerk. If you don’t take other people’s stuff, then others can leave you alone and you can do whatever you want to do. If you are a jerk and steal from others, then controls ought to be placed on you and not on everyone else. Upon concluding the discussion of freedom, property rights, and virtue, Bill Whittle congratulated the students for being Conservatives.
To the Forum audience Bill Whittle emphasized that educated citizens need to reimagine their message when they talk to the young. We can’t change values but we can change how we talk about them. Make prominent historical figures like George Washington come alive with insights into who he was. He was an elegant dresser; he was sexy and cool. Washington ordered four expensive coats from London during the Revolutionary War. If he lived today, he would wear $20,000 Armani Suits, stand tall, and be surrounded by gorgeous women. When he lived, he lived well but rejected being a king. He would be the President but not king.
Talking about the Tea Party, Whittle admonished that we cannot expect the American people to allow Conservatives to run the country if Conservatives can’t speak the language of the people. Young people do not relate to Tea Parties. Instead he said, put out a brochure and invite young people to the first meeting of the Rebel Alliance. And then when someone approaches you to become a member, tell them they are not qualified. Tell them that on the best day the Rebel Alliance will be outnumbered 100 to 1. Tell them they have to be smart and be a fighter, but if they think they are prepared, they must be ready to fight. Watch how many young people get involved in the Rebel Alliance.
Conservatives need to steal the language of the Liberal. Barack Obama speaks the language of the younger generation. The truth is there is nothing liberal about today’s Liberals. Conservatives are trying to preserve the liberal ideas of this nation’s founders. Socialist Progressivism predates the Roman Empire where elitists centralized power and doled out wealth selectively. Today’s Liberals aren’t liberal. They are the party of centralized power, of the absence of diversity, of permitting the people in power to define and control everything from where you live, to what you will eat, to what you will do for a living, to what health care you will have, to what money you will have, etc. etc. On something like abortion, getting rid of the advertising terms of ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice’, what it comes down to is whether you will be responsible for your own choices: pro-abortion or anti-abortion.
About health care, Whittle acknowledged one would have to be a jerk to deny anyone access to free health care. Everyone is in favor of free health care. Progressives say one would have to be a Republican to deny people free health care. But everyone -- including Republicans-- would welcome free health care. The problem is that health care is not free. Cardiac surgery and medical equipment are not free. And since it is not free – just like in the electronics industry -- we should talk about competition lowering costs and the best way to deliver health care.
Whittle reminded his listeners that the history of the Left is grizzly, fraught with death – millions of people killed by their own government. The NAZI German Socialist Workers Party killed at least twelve million. The USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republic starved ten to thirty million. The Chinese Communist Party starved fifty million just because they disagreed with the Party’s philosophy. World-wide, over two hundred million people have been killed because they gave up their personal power to central-controlling elitists.
Republicans, Bill Whittle reminded his audience, are not racist. The Republican Party was founded to eliminate slavery in America. The Jim Crow Laws were written entirely by Democrats. In 1864 the Republican Party opposed slavery. While some demanded the whites provide retribution to the blacks, Booker T. Washington said no. As a black man, he led others to develop their own economy and resources. He recognized that if blacks permitted themselves to become victims, they would stay victims. The way to eliminate race, Booker T. Washington said, was to enter society as equals. Prove you are equal and even superior.
Whittle talked about the need to create a force of cultural warriors to make movies, to give people something they can connect to. We have to talk their language, he said. Actors like Matt Damon are Leftists who favor increasing taxes on the rich. But the problem, Whittle said, is that Damon hides his money in his production company, Fantasy Productions. He has very little taxable income. Whittle said that if Damon feels a need to pay more taxes, nothing prevents him from writing a check for seven or nine million dollars to the IRS. The truth is that America is extremely Conservative. “If truth comes into a dark room, it is not dark anymore.”
The bad news for Conservatives is that they can never, never beat those who are not Conservative because these people empathize and are on the side of dependency. It takes a lot of work to master our own destiny. Every day we have to wake up and work very, very hard. Figuratively, we roll that boulder to the top of the hill and by the next morning it is back at the bottom of the hill again. We have to be up to the challenge every day.
Bill Whittle then told the story of Winston Churchill’s uphill battle. Churchill sat in the back of Parliament for ten years telling others that Hitler was not kidding, not joking, that he intended to kill all the Jews. He was called a war-monger and a racist. When he was chosen as Prime Minister (he was not the first to be nominated) he thought he would have the help of France to fight Hitler. But by the time Churchill became Prime Minister, France had fallen. The German airfield was just nine miles away across the channel. Every single Member of Parliament advised Churchill to cut a deal, the best deal possible with Hitler. Churchill said no. If we are to lose our island country, let it end with us drowning in our own blood. Churchill rallied England to fight Hitler. The rest of the story is history.
Bill Whittle reminded Conservatives that the enemies of freedom do not have to work. It’s the Conservatives who understand the foundations of this country and they must get up every morning and work.
Asked about Muslims living in this country not opposing the radical elements of their religion, Whittle said that like the Germans during Hitler’s time, Muslims who have not opposed Muslim terror will get what they deserve if they do not stand and oppose it. He added, they should be careful making America angry.
Mitt Romney, Whittle noted, is considering another Presidential run in 2016. If he does not have quick wit, cannot converse in the emotions of the pop culture, is hesitant to attack and make his opponent a villain, if he does not have a plan to win the votes of every American, he should not be in the race. Bill Whittle said that if it were he running for President in 2012, he would have asked to speak at Reverend Wright’s church. He would have endured the slings and arrows encountered there to talk directly with the people. He would have asked them among other things what they want for themselves, how government can get out of their way, how they can get back in charge of their own destiny. He would have told them he wants to be the President of all the people and cannot know how to do this if he doesn’t know what they want. Whittle added that had Romney given a speech like that one time, he would have won 80% of the vote.
Asked about soccer moms favoring Moderate Republicans, Bill Whittle said that by definition a Moderate is someone who hasn’t made up their mind. Putting a Moderate in the race is a little like hiring a wolf to guard the hen-house. A man who knew what he believed, Ronald Reagan in 1980 won only forty-five states, but by 1984 won forty-nine states. Maybe the discussion he suggested should be about why someone is a Moderate.
Whittle ended his presentation by reminding Conservatives that Barack Obama is destructive to this country. Attack him for it. Portray him as the villain he is. People will not vote for a villain. To beat Obama, we must learn to understand Obama’s ability to connect emotionally. One example is when Obama introduced Obama-Care to the House of Representatives. He did not talk about rationing and how it would negatively affect every American. He simply pointed to a lady sitting in the gallery who had been forced to go through bankruptcy to pay for her health care. Everyone felt compassion for her, including Bill Whittle.
Conservatives must learn the language of emotions to fight evil. If Conservatives don’t fight, evil will consume this nation and this Republic will be no more. The Forum audience thanked Bill Whittle with standing applause. He had provided much needed information and direction.
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