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I'm trying to convert some of my conservative family members to the light of liberalism.  While I'm generally able to discuss issues calmly and rationally, at times I get serious and passionate and end up insulting them, albeit not necessarily intentionally.  For example, it a recent email to one of my "righty" cousins, we were discussing how (I believe) the Republican Party was involved in a "war on women" in the last campaign.  When I typed the following in the email, he took it very personally:

"I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that all Republicans (and I mean ALL) have major tendencies towards racism, homophobia, misogyny, anger and greed. While they do have wives, girlfriends, mothers and sisters, they generally believe women are second class citizens who should be at home.  While many Republicans express these views freely, even the ones that don’t have it boiling under the surface or hidden from view.  But make no mistake, even if they suppress these views, they ALL wholeheartedly support leaders that espouse them, hence, they are all bigots and guilty by association."

I realize now how these comments would make him mad, but I just generally believe that he has been duped and thus to some extent, as guilty as the leaders he follows.  I guess I'll just have to keep trying.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well... (6+ / 0-)

    you did go out of your way to make clear that your argument included ALL Republicans (including him) and then concluded again that they ALL (including him again) were bigots and then closed any door of exclusion with the "guilty by association" comment.

    Hard not to take that personally.  Now I don't know you or your cousin so maybe it's 100% warranted and if you changed your "ALL" and "and I mean ALL" to "MOST" and "I mean MOST" I would probably agree with you, but...

    if your goal is conversion, methinks this fall far short of the stated objective.

    Me personally (with equally hardcore rightwing relations), I lump RW'ers into three categories:

    1.  Intelligent people that can actually articulate positions of small-government, spirituality, economics, etc.  These people I enjoy debating.  Preferably over scotch.

    2.  People who feel opposed to liberalism and tend to support GOP by default.  They also tend to not have all the facts on issues.  These people I like to try to persuade and explain our REAL positions and that we're not weak-hearted hippies trying to sell off their guns in order to give more money to welfare recipients.

    3.  People that are just angry and afraid about Muslims and socialism and freedomz.  They hate people not like them, take it upon themselves to decide who is and isn't a real American and view politics more as a team sport to win at the expense of others then to seek out solutions to modern day problems.  These people I like to ignore as much as possible until I snap and send a message like the one in your diary.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:06:59 PM PST

  •  You actually call yourself a 'statist'? (5+ / 0-)

    Are you trying to 'reclaim the word' or something?  It's generally used as an insult by the ignorant.  And to be honest, this diary looks like RW performance art, with your character a caricature of how wingnuts think lefties act and speak.  If you by some odd happenstance actually are a lefty, you're the only one I can point to who actually thinks like that.  Most of us know plenty of sane, sensible Republicans, and can actually even agree with them on many points in face to face conversations.  They're generally pretty disgusted with the way the nutcases have taken over large parts of their party, but can't bring themselves to switch sides...

    •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry Dr... I realize that my comments to my cousin were insulting.  Our conversation got heated and I lowered myself to making a statement I didn't really believe.  That being said, as a loyal Kos reader for a number of years, my post was tame compared to some of the comments I've read.  I would hope you agree with that. Sometimes we use extremes to make our point.  Doesn't make it right.  Cheers buddy!

    •  You are right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But sometimes I think the same thing as the diarist, especially around election time.  When a candidate like Romney receives 47% of the popular vote, it becomes harder to believe in those sane Republicans.

      Don't you think?

    •  You'll have to introduce me (0+ / 0-)

      to one of these "sane, sensible Republicans" of whom you speak.  I'm intrigued--and more than a bit skeptical.  

      Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

      by Mark Mywurtz on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 03:01:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My prior boss and I were strongly far apart on (0+ / 0-)

        the political spectrum.  He was a 'donate to the max' type of Republican, I'm a socialist.  We still managed to sit down and discuss issues rationally and come to agreement on possible courses of action on various issues, because we both believe in empirical evidence based solutions.  

        For instance, I'm fine with teaching abstinence to kids, if the data shows that it works.  Success of a policy to target the problem trumps ideology.  Since all of the evidence shows that it doesn't, we should quit wasting money teaching it.

        He had similar views on basing government action on proven success - we were essentially both technocrats, despite the ideological differences.

  •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks Wisper... I'll take your comments to heart.  I would much prefer the intellectual approach.  I just lose it sometimes when I get worked up.

  •  He took it personally? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David54, VClib, CherryTheTart, gunnarthor

    Well, did you mean to include him in your characterization?

    Because whether you meant to or not, you kind of unequivocally did -- you said, and emphasized, all.

    As a general rule: any time you say "All X are Y," you are opening yourself up for contradiction.  Unless Y is actually part of the dictionary definition of X -- and sometimes even then -- you are going to be wrong.

    Now, you are not at all wrong that there is endemic racism, misogyny, homophobia, anger and greed in the Republican party, and you are not wrong that the leaders of the Republican party are both feeding it and feeding off of it.  But I have to tell you, you are wrong on that "all".

    Being a dupe is the opposite of being just as guilty; it means you're supporting the wrongdoers for some reason other than supporting the wrong that they do.  A well-intentioned dupe can often be taught ... but not if you don't give him credit for being well-intentioned.

  •  what makes you think he's "been duped"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, CherryTheTart
    but I just generally believe that he has been duped and thus to some extent, as guilty as the leaders he follows.
    unless your cousin has been living in a cave out in the woods, with no outside contact, he's surely familiar with the GOP agenda, with respect to women, at the federal and state level. he hasn't been duped, he agrees with it, if he continues to support the republican/tea party cause. if he got mad, it isn't because you insulted him, it's because you outed him. he now knows that you know what he believes, and what he believes isn't pretty. that's his problem, not yours.
  •  If you are sincere, then I would say that you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, CherryTheTart

    sound young.
    I wouldn't spend much time trying to "convert" anyone to anything.
    This initiates a whole slew of "power" processes that totally derail the effort. Back and forth.

    Just express your own view clearly with sincerity without expecting any "gain" or "result".
    Just do it as its own reward.

    Do it with respect for them as individuals.
    Someday, that approach may yield much better, more enduring results.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:05:18 PM PST

  •  You Can't Attract Anyone By Opening With (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, CherryTheTart, Batya the Toon

    "y'know what-your-problem-is" . That's a conclusion; even though it's often true, you can't entice people to move toward your position who don't already accept the conclusion.

    You've got to open by meeting them 95% of the way from where you are to where they are, and show them how their ideas are working against their interests.

    I doubt you have any prospects with these people if they genuinely support the main war-on-women policies. But if they don't, for example if they oppose abortion but don't believe women should be babymaking machines, try working them on the issue of birth control.

    Main thing is, you can't draw an audience or win a market by starting out telling them they're wrong. They may be wrong ;but if they are, you've got to nudge them gently step after step to reach that conclusion themselves.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:09:12 PM PST

  •  When you want to persuade someone (4+ / 0-)

    you start on common ground. Attacking does nothing.

    Find out where you agree with them. Then show them how your ideas follow logically from your shared beliefs. This is a slow process that needs to be done gently and with tact.

    And try to use their language (or at least neutral terms), not yours. Don't talk about equality, inequality, racism, sexism, homophobia, tolerance, or bigotry. Use words like freedom, responsibility, independence, security, and morals.

    "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

    by kyril on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:21:56 PM PST

  •  How to change minds (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart, Batya the Toon, kyril

    Look, this way of doing things isn't going to work. It only forces him to entrench his positions because he's being attacked.

    Opinions, by their nature, are in a state of constant flux. You do not believe now exactly what you believed this morning, and by tomorrow afternoon your beliefs will have changed again. This flux can be guided, influenced. This cannot be achieved by direct attack. A wholly new idea will be recognized as such and rejected. You must instead hang the new belief on pre-existing beliefs. It's like decorating a Christmas tree. You cannot hang an ornament where there is no branch.

    Remember, his view of himself is crucial. If you can calmly show that a disparity exists between his view of himself and reality, it can be a powerful motivator for change. Consider the question of gay marriage. Individuals such as he frequently regard liberty and freedom as exceedingly important. Thus, his view of himself is as a champion of liberty and freedom.

    We must consider reasons for impinging upon freedom. Certainly, one is the case where an action would create considerable harm to the rest of society. Explain, from your perspective, that you have trouble seeing how gay marriage can be harmful to society. Speak only for or about yourself! Make no accusations! Have him put forth his argument. Explain that you do not quite understand where he is coming from, and point out problems in his argument that seem to contradict it. Humility is extremely important. Indeed, Benjamin Franklin writes about this. He noticed that when he started prefacing his ideas with a phrase like "It seems to me that...", his idea were far more readily accepted.

    Go back and forth, asking questions and clarification. This takes time. Two to three months is normal. Over time, his opinions will evolve. Any point you try to make must be framed within the context of beliefs he already holds.

    With this method, in time, even mountains can be moved.

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