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The Top 14 Things Said to the Wisconsin Democratic Senators by Their Spouses Upon Their Return From Illinois

This past Saturday the 14 Democratic Senators from Wisconsin who had brazenly shirked their responsibilities to the people of Wisconsin by opting for a cowardly month long escapade across the border in Illinois, finally came back to their rightful place – Wisconsin.

And while the labor union and other assorted leftists gave them a “hero’s welcome” when they “bravely” (think storming the beaches at Normandy) made their way back to the capital in Madison, evidently the welcome they received from their spouses at home was not so welcoming.

Here is just a sampling of what might have been said to them by their spouses:

(And for full disclosure, the list presented above is for entertainment – i.e. humor – purposes only.  None of the quotes or situations presented are true…as far as we know.)

14. “What’s that, Tim?  Did you just ask me what that smell was?  That’s the damn garbage I let pile up during the month you were not here to take it out!  It looked like to me that when you left you were running from all of your responsibilities – one of which is to take out our trash!”

13. “Why yes, Spencer, I did take the liberty to relocate you to the living room for an indefinite period seeing as how you decided a month ago to take the liberty to relocate to Illinois for an indefinite period.”

12. “Oh, no, Timothy, I did miss you.  But when you said you were leaving for a while and didn’t know when you would be back, I decided to move on.  You remember our pool boy, Kevin, right?”

11. “No, Jon, what that letter says is that we have 30 days to vacate the premises not vacation from the premises.  It’s called foreclosure, and it’s what happens in the real world when people massively overspend, miss work for a month, and can’t pay their bills, you idiot!”

10. “All your suits are at the dry cleaners, Dave.  Oh, wait, never mind.  They are all at Goodwill because I threw them out after you left me all alone for a month, you jerk.”

9. “Well, Jim, I couldn’t exactly let the Lego Millennium Falcon sit completed on the kitchen table for God knows how long after you ran off to Illinois.  But don’t cry.  You can put it back together, dear.  Surely it won’t take that long.”

8. “Were you not in Civics class that day, Robert?  A recall is when the people decide to remove or replace an elected official before their term is up because they were doing a crappy job.  Sound familiar?”

7. “You were gone for one month, Chris, and all you brought back was this shirt that says ‘I holed up in a motel just across the border from Wisconsin like a scared little girl for an entire month because I refused to do my job, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt’?  Really!?!?”

6. “Sure I ate out every night, Julie!  Did you really expect me to cook for the entire month you were gone?”

5. “No, Mark, those UAW fellas you know didn’t drop off an envelope full of cash while you were gone.  And even if they had, I wouldn’t tell you!  You left me all alone for a month and accomplished absolutely nothing with your stupid publicity stunt!”

4. “Yes, Fred, I saw you on the TV.  And I heard what you said about doing the right thing.  But let me tell you something, buster, the right thing was to come home, do the job you were elected to do, and take care of your damn family.”

3. “I have no idea how long it is going to take to do a month’s worth of laundry, Lena.  But you’ll have plenty of time to do it in the next couple of weeks while I am out partying with my buddies every night.”

2.  “It’s not like I can return it, Kathleen!  Do you know how many miles I have put on this Harley in the month you gone hanging out in Illinois and not doing your job?”

1. “Oh, are you looking for your Dom Perignon, Robert?  I’m so sorry but I drank it and replaced it with some Pabst Blue Ribbon now that you are all about representing the Working Man, you hypocrite fleebagger.”

What do you think of the list?  And what would you say to these men and women if you had the chance to meet them?

I’m Talking About Glenn Beck Again

This time he’s taking on Google, and this is sure to be a battle of epic proportions.

In this clip found on NBC Bay Area’s website (more on this less-than-professional news outlet in a moment), Beck questions the ties of the internet giant and says that he will most likely not be using Google anymore.

Now, briefly, I’d like to point out that, contrary to the article’s title, Beck does not “urge a Google boycott.” In fact, he emphatically says the opposite. He states that he personally will not be using it, but that he is not trying to lead a boycott. Second, look at the picture of Beck posted at the top of the article. I’m not sure if it’s the NBC affiliated status, the San Francisco location, or both, but something tells me these guys don’t like Glenn Beck very much.

Now, about Google.

Beck explains that, for several reasons, he is “uncomfortable” with Google because of its involvement in the recent Egyptian revolution, its coziness with the U.S. government, and its donations to some left-wing organizations. His discomfort is warranted.

Last year, Google donated $145 million to charity, some of these donations to left-wing non profit groups. However, as found here, Google has a policy of matching the charitable gifts of its employees up to $12,000, meaning that plenty of non-left-wing groups received Google money as well. As Beck mentions, Google has partnered with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, an agency that exists to provide satellite images to government intelligence services. This could be good for national security given the sophistication of Google Earth, but it is also a bit disconcerting.

But all things considered, the bigger question is: what should we do about it? Even Beck says,

I’m not sure if I want my search engine involved in government overthrows, good or bad. What I want from a search engine is good search results.

Like Beck, I would prefer that my search engine not be involved in revolutions. But the sticky part of this situation is that Google is the undisputed king of good search results. It is the single most visited site on the internet with over three billion hits per day. Statistically, over 95 percent of you found the American Majority website for the first time through Google.

Moreover, American Majority recognizes the importance of using Google to your advantage as a conservative activist, even though Google and its executives have shown themselves to be liberal more often than not. When we speak of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we are really talking about what we call “Google Juice,” your ability to appear high on a list of Google Search results. SEO is crucial in creating your online presence as a candidate or activist, and Google is virtually the only search engine worth focusing on.

So, being that Glenn Beck influences so many people, what do we do now? Is Google worth worrying about, or will we go on using it because it is the biggest and best? I don’t know about you, but I have to think for a few seconds to even come up with the name of an alternative search engine to Google. Can we even make a dent? Should we even try?

Google before you Tweet – it’s the new think before you speak!

Every once in a while, I receive emails from well- meaning friends that tell of all sorts of treacherous and nefarious things going on right under our noses.  “Events” that are mind numbing to imagine yet happen and no one will pay attention because the media are part of the “global conspiracy”.

You have probably received a few of these yourself.  Do you recall the email describing President George W. Bush’s lamentable IQ score, labeling him as the most obtuse president in American history?  Or, how every US Presidential election since 1936 can be accurately pre-determined based upon the outcome of the Washington Redskins home games.  Or how about the one that says: If we all ban getting our gas from a certain distributor on Wednesdays, then our prices will lower.

Without double checking and even triple checking our facts, we risk the possibility of being perceived as people that are just not living in reality.  When someone is branded as wearing a tin foil hat, they often are never taken seriously again.

This goes beyond just forwarded emails.  With all of the social technology that is available at our fingertips, verbal miscues can be made at break-neck speed and they last on the internet for virtually ever.  False information can be forwarded by accident with incredible ease.  Status updates that border on the crazy can follow you all the way to your next job interview.  Opposition research will have a field day searching Facebook statuses for years to come.  Immature college antics coming back to haunt you could become the “better than Christmas” gift your political opponent will use for 10,000 get out the vote mailers.

Here are a few tips to consider before you hit the reply, forward and update buttons:

  1. Do your due diligence
  2. If something sounds particularly dramatic, it deserves extra special attention and research.
  3. Perception is reality.  If readers perceive you to react irrationally to everything, you will quickly lose all credibility.

Your Mom always told you to think before you speak.  Now you must google before you tweet.  The vernacular may have changed, but the concept has not.  For more information on American Majority’s trainings, check out our resources page at http://americanmajority.org/resources/ and learn additional tricks of the trade when it comes to effective activism and campaigning.

Facebook Security: Must you share EVERYTHING?

This morning, my husband and I were perusing the newspaper over our usual cup of coffee – I was reading the Arkansas section and he was glancing through the National portion.  I tend to scan the obituaries first (I know, I have become my grandmother) and Clay typically hits the sideline with all the short articles of the goings on around the world.  It didn’t take long for him to sigh in frustration over what he was reading, so of course, I had to take a look over his shoulder.

The article told the unfortunate tale of a short-sighted 20 year old hunter who couldn’t restrain himself from bragging about his latest “kills” which included 1 too many deer and 3 too many geese.  Not only did he boast about his hunting skills, but he posted pictures of his trophies, that were noticed by law abiding Facebook “friends”, who then notified the authorities.

Immediately, I think what an idiot!  Kind of reminds me of the stupid criminal videos you see every once in a while on TV.  You know what I am talking about, the goof ball who decides to rob a convenient store of their lottery tickets while wearing his name tag from work proudly displayed on his uniform.  Not that I am heralding criminal behavior, but it just goes to show you how stupid people can be….not just for breaking the law, but for doing it so poorly!  (tongue in cheek of course)

The point of this is to remind people that while we all enjoy Facebook for a variety of reasons, it isn’t necessary to reveal to the World Wide Web every single thing you are doing!  Just like it wasn’t terribly brilliant to boast about illegal hunting practices with picture evidence, it wouldn’t make sense to post on Facebook your holiday plans and where all you will be travelling.  For obvious reasons, that would only let your “friends” know exactly how much time they have to ransack your house and play reverse-Santa.  Besides, do you REALLY think that everyone cares about how you spend every single moment of every day?  Let’s try and keep our postings to informative tidbits, interesting historical facts or even uplifting quotes from Gandhi or Mother Teresa.

Oh, and by the way….my husband was most frustrated about the hunter getting in trouble for his over the limit Geese picture.  Why? Well, do the math.  There were 3 friends in the photo and 12 Canada geese pictures with them, and the limit was 3 geese per person.  Immediately, one might think each hunter shot one extra than they were supposed to.  But wait, who took the picture?  Looks like the braggadocios Facebook hunter might get out of that one.

Notes from the Summit

As we were pleased to do last year, American Majority is providing in-depth training at the Smart Girl Politics 2010 Summit in DC this weekend, and I wanted to share some notes from it with you.

Yesterday, we held five training sessions, with Anita MonCrief and Faulkner Strategies joining us at the Summit- we started off teaching attendees about the system, how the progressive movement has systematically implemented reforms that have created the flawed system we currently face- and perhaps most importantly, how to break it.  Do you want to the learn the same things?  You can view that presentation on our website.

Then we explained how precincts work, why they are important, and how to work your precinct for a candidate you believe in for this upcoming election- or how to target precincts within your district to lead to victory if you’re the candidate yourself.  This is one of the most important presentations for conservative activists to know and understand, as the key to governing is first winning politically.  You can also view this presentation online to better understand precincts yourself.

Anita MonCrief taught attendees how to identify voter fraud- and what to do once they find it.  I broke out some notes from Anita’s stellar presentation in my blog post a few weeks ago.  Understanding legal voter registration, voter fraud and what to do about these issues is going to be of supreme importance to liberty-minded citizens in every election from the very local level, all the way up.

Our good friends at Faulkner Strategies joined us for a session on running for office, titled “Deciding to Run.”  A strong presentation focusing on the different dynamics and decisions that women candidates will be faced with, I saw lots of ink pens flying across note pages during this training session.  I don’t have a copy of Faulkner Strategies’ specific presentation, but we do have one of our “running for office” training presentations online that you can check out.  I am loving the field of strong conservative women who are taking back their communities and running for office this year- let’s keep this momentum growing and keep turning out solid candidates next year as well.

Finally, we spent some time training on the importance of engaging hearts and minds online through Facebook, Twitter, blogging, wiki projects and more.  You can view one of our new media presentations online, where you’ll learn about the history of communication and persuasion that we inherited from our founding fathers, why engaging online is so important, and then step-by-step instruction on how to do so.  New to the process?  Want detailed instruction on how to take your online engagement to the next level?  Download our Twitter or Facebook guides on our website and we’ll walk you through it.

Whether you were able to join us for the Smart Girl Summit 2010 or whether you were at home working hard for a candidate you believe in, or maybe just welcoming in the start of the fall season, we believe that knowledge is power.  So arm yourself, equip yourself, and let’s keep pushing on.

10 Ways To Maximize Social Media Before Election Day

As analysis continues to pour in from Tuesday’s primaries, there’s one statistic that we as the grassroots need to note. According to a CNN blog post, candidates with more fans on their Facebook page were more successful in their primary. Whether or not this is a chicken or egg scenario isn’t the argument, but instead it highlights that social media will continue to play a role in elections. Users continue to flock to these places for relevant and up to the minute information.

With Election Day right around the corner, here are 10 tips to maximize your social media presence.

1. Create! If your campaign or organization doesn’t have one yet, building a Facebook page and creating a Twitter account is where you need to start. Check out our video tutorial on creating a Facebook Page here.

2. Update! Posting relevant content at least once a day will keep fans interested in your page. Ideas include posting event information, relevant news stories and polling place information (as it gets closer to Election Day). Your page should be a hub for activists and voters to learn and share information. But avoid repetition! “Updating” and “Reposting the same link every morning” are not one in the same.

3. Engage! Social media is designed to be just that, social. Thank friends and followers for their feedback, answer questions and use social media as a platform to share your message one on one. (Or one on 1,000, depending on your page.)

4. Share! Sharing content from other like-minded campaigns and organizations can save time without losing your message. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel with every post. If someone else has said it already or said it better, share it! ReTweeting content with your comments can gain you credibility in the long run as an information source.

5. Filter! Quality is superior to quantity. Rather than posting 10 articles on the same topic, choose one or two with the best coverage. Your fans and followers are counting on you to find gold in all of the muck.

6. Friend! Again, it’s called social media for a reason. Be friendly! Like other pages on Facebook, follow other accounts on Twitter, and they are likely to return the favor.

7. Proofread! This might seem silly, but taking an extra beat to ensure accurate spelling or the correct form of there can be the difference between dozens of RTs or a post sitting dormant.

8. Tag! Not #every #word needs a #hash tag. Use Twitter tags appropriately to categorize posts. Words without # will still appear in search results, so no need to # every word in your post. Instead, use tags to join a lager conversation. For example, using #majority and #tcot for a post related to your beliefs. Tags for specific races are also relevant, for example, #desen to track posts related to the Senate race in Delaware.

9. Be Real! No one enjoys following robots. Making your account personal humanizes the content and makes you and your candidate more relatable. But be cautious of over emotional posting. If you think you’ll want to remove it later, don’t post it.

10. Adapt! Social media is constantly changing, with new trends, products, and uses emerging every day. They key is to stay on top of these trends and be open to shifting strategies. We certainly don’t hear much about MySpace anymore, but what is the next medium we’ll find our voice on?

“Checking in” or Campaigning?

On Wednesday, a particular CNN article caught my attention.  The article was about Gowalla (a social networking site based on location) releasing what they are calling a “campaign tool kit.” Gowalla has now made it easier for campaigns to engage their supporters, let them know what the campaign is doing, and allow supporters to reach out to their friends and other prospective supporters.

What is it?

Gowalla is a mobile application that allows users to check-in to their current location and then post it to their Facebook, Twitter, or both (much like Foursquare). I know what you are thinking, we are already live in a world where everyone has a Facebook, people “tweet” what they are doing in 140 characters or less, and now people feel it necessary to update their friends on their current location every time they go someplace new? If you are new to social networking, you can check out American Majority’s guides to Facebook and Twitter here.

Personally, I do not have a Gowalla or Foursquare (its competitor) account, but that is mostly because I do not think I go anywhere interesting enough to let other people know about. However, I think the opportunities that these social networking accounts give campaigns and candidates are definitely something that need to be taken advantage of on every level.

How can your campaign implement Gowalla?

With the new Gowalla campaign tool kit, campaigns can now create events on Gowalla, so that supporters can check in and receive a campaign stamp (with the candidate’s logo) to show their support. This is a new, specialized feature, because usually when you check into Gowalla, you are given some generic stamp for your virtual passport. This new feature is a great way to engage your supporters and get them excited about your campaign rally, fundraiser, or other event. It is also a way to identity supporters (kind of like Facebook advertising and Google ads) and to further develop/mainstream your brand and logo. If your campaign is wondering how to set up a successful event to post on Gowalla, check out this article about creating successful events.

Another feature of the new Gowalla campaign tool kit is the ability for constituents, volunteers, or supporters to check-in on Gowalla, then tweet or post their locationto Facebook or Twitter, encouraging their followers and friends to join them in participating in the event. This is important, because, even if someone isn’t supporting you on Facebook or following you on Twitter, maybe they are friends or are following someone who is. They will be able to see this update and then go get plugged in with you or your candidate’s campaign.

What if your candidate can’t make it to a campaign event, but your supporters still want to have one and get the word out? Gowalla allows for your supporters to register their own campaign events, without the candidate’s participation, and spread the word through Facebook and Twitter. Depending on the size of your campaign, you, or the candidate, aren’t going to be able to physically be at every event. You are going to have to rely on your volunteers to host events and get the word out. When your supporters check in, they will receive a stamp showing whether they are at a rally, town hall, or fundraiser – depending on the event. There is even a ballot box stamp ready for Election Day, when your supporters go to the ballot box and vote for you!

Don’t think that Gowalla’s campaign tool kit is for you? That’s fine, but be sure not to write-off Gowalla, Foursquare, or any other social networking website and the usefulness it will have for your campaign. We live in a world where just about everyone is getting a Facebook, more and more people are on Twitter, and having a smartphone is becoming a social norm.  The time for campaigns to adapt the ways they reach voters is now.


Here at American Majority it is one of our goals to educate activists on how to properly use online media.  During the presentation, Patriots 2.0, we attempt to teach the importance of getting actively involved in facebook, twitter, and other social networks.

After our Patriots 2.0 presentation, the questions come rolling in.  More often than not, the questions refer to facebook privacy settings.  Although, we spend an hour teaching the ins and outs of facebook it is difficult to go into depth on how to effectively establish your privacy settings.  For this reason I feel it is necessary to dig deeper and get down to the nitty gritty of facebook privacy.

According to the facebook page on facebook (that sounds silly), “Facebook has led the industry in giving people the tools to control the information they share and with whom they choose to share it. User privacy has always been a top priority for the company, which has worked with such organizations as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and WiredSafety. Facebook is TrustE certified. Users also have the ability to share and restrict information based on specific friends or friend lists.”  If their privacy settings are that great, let’s utilize them!

  • Step One: Go to your facebook page and click “Account” in the top right corner.   Then click “Privacy Settings” in the drop box.  A page such as the one below should pop up on your screen.

  • Step Two:  Click “View Setting” under the “Basic Directory Information” tab.  Here you can alter what others see when they search your name on facebook.  This is where you can stipulate who can search for you, add you as a friend, send you messages, and see your personal information.  Simply, click on the side tabs to change privacy settings.  Click “Preview My Profile” to see if your settings are to your liking.  This will show you the content that non-facebook friends see when they search your name.
  • Step Three: Click “Back to Privacy” to continue onto the next section, “Sharing on Facebook”.  Here you can manage which of your day-to-day activity can be viewed by others on facebook.  This includes photos, links, status updates, and the content others share on your wall.  Facebook recently installed a one touch privacy setting that gives you the option to allow only your friends to see the content of your page.  This can be done by clicking “Fiends Only”. You can also customize your privacy settings by clicking “Customize Settings” (wouldn’t you have guessed it).  To preview how your profile appears to specific individuals, click “Preview My Profile” and insert a friend’s name into the given blank at the top of the screen.

Click here for a slow-paced video that will take you through

a step-by-step guide to facebook privacy settings.

  • Step Four:   If you want to have various friends view your page differently from one another, you can utilize the list making tool.  Click “Account” in the top right corner, then “Edit Friends” in the drop box.  A page such as the one shown below will pop up on your screen.

  • Step Five: Click “Create New List” and type in a title for a certain group.  For example, lists can be titled: family, work, college friends, strict profile people, church friends, or whatever your little heart desires.  Once you have the group titled, go through your friend list to find those who fit into that specific group.  You can type their names into the given blank.  Once your list is complete, click “Create List”.  Repeat this for as many groups as you would like.
  • Step Six:  In order for a list to be able to view or be restricted from viewing certain parts of your facebook activity, go back to “Customize Settings” under “Privacy Settings”.  Click on the drop box for each setting and click “Customize”.   Then type in your list’s name to either hide or show your activity.  To ensure that you’ve performed these steps correctly, click “Preview My Profile” and type in a person’s name from that list.

As we all know, the creators of facebook are constantly working to make their site more user-friendly.   Unfortunately, this means that the layout of facebook changes on occasion.  This can be frustrating, but privacy settings are sticky.  Therefore, when the inevitable change occurs, your privacy settings will transfer accordingly.  However, it is always important to stay aware of your settings to ensure that everything transfers correctly.

If you are having trouble activating or navigating facebook

please see our Facebook Guide for Beginners.

All above information is correct as of 8-1-10


After spending four years in college in the Public Relations department I have come to understand the ins and outs of sending press releases, PR planning, and the importance of networking.  Now that I am out of school and working for American Majority, I have tried many of the techniques I spent four years learning.

I now see that the most effective form of PR is networking.  This is great news!  We are now surrounded by free networking sites (facebook, twitter, youtube, ect.), and if we use these tools in the correct manner we will be able to gain free press and create a larger base of followers

In this blog I will describe, point by point, how to effectively network in this day and age.  I admit I am not a professional facebooker, but I do spend a LARGE amount of time on it.  For this reason, I would consider myself seriously educated in the school of social media.


When reaching out to certain people via social networks, find their preferred networking tool.  Look at a person’s online habits and how they spend their time.  Do they spend time on facebook or twitter?  Meet them where they are comfortable.


If you want your blogs, posts, and events to reach the masses then make sure to help others do the same.  Social networking works as a spider web, where everyone is linked through each other.  The goal of reaching large amounts of people is more easily reached by having other networks aiding you.  This can be accomplished by sharing other’s links, “liking” posts, re-tweeting, and inviting your friends to their events.  Remember, if you scratch their back, they will scratch yours.


There is a very fine line between networking and spamming.  When networking with others, make sure your message is genuine and person-specific.  Even if that means copying and pasting a person’s name into the title of your message; it’s better than a mass generic message.  I like to feel like the messenger took time to think of me, typed the message for me, and is waiting anxiously by their computer for my response.


Naturally, people talk, and if you do not stay true to your word – the news spreads.  In social networking, word spreads as fast as you can click the “post” button.  These days, it is important to build trust within your networking group.  You can gain trust by sharing valid content, refraining from spam, and by putting time into each relationship (i.e. replying to facebook messages in a timely manner). 


We all have those friends on facebook and twitter who clog our newsfeeds.  If you are one of these people, odds are I have defriended you.   No, I don’t care that your bologna sandwich was yummy, I don’t care to see your daily pictures of yourself standing in front of the mirror, and I especially don’t care about your new acre of land that you acquired on Farmville.  I care about events you have attended, your professional interests, and your recommendations.  Therefore, when posting on social networking sites make sure your posts are significant and meaningful, or you might notice your friend list decreasing more and more with every “this sandwich is yummy” post.


Always keep up to date on your social networking sites.  If no one is taking interest in your posts, give it time.  If your content, posts, and comments are up-to-date, others will soon catch on and become followers.  The popularity of social media is growing and maybe a newcomer will take interest in what you’re saying.

It is essential to have a functioning online network has become essential for success and we should treat our online friends with the same respect we treat our physical friends.  If you are still confused on how to effectively use online media you should 1) attend an American Majority training near you or 2) check out our online media guides. Jump on that social media bandwagon and start networking!

Convince Others by Writing Well

In Oklahoma, we are a little less than three weeks away from our Primary Election.  The candidates are furiously traveling their districts in an effort to convince the citizens to cast a vote in their favor on the 27th.  As an American Majority field representative, my job responsibilities require me to go into my territory and meet as many candidates as possible in order to inform them about the wonderful training opportunities we provide. 

As you can probably imagine, in the course of carrying out my duties, I have been handed numerous push cards and position pieces.  I have been directed to countless candidate websites.  I have read hundreds of blog entries, Tweets, and Facebook posts authored by interested observers, issue advocates, and the candidates themselves.  One thing has struck me during the course of this campaign season: we need to become better writers. 

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Peggy Noonan quoted historian David McCullough as saying, “To write is to think, and to write well is to think well.”  The truth be told, people judge the intellectual capacity of the writer based on how well he or she is able to get a point across.  If the piece is confusing, not structured properly, rife with spelling and grammatical errors, or even if it takes the wrong tone, the audience will assume the writer is not worthy of the opinion presented.  Candidates for office should particularly heed this warning.  It is exceedingly difficult to claim you will be thorough in the pursuit of your duties if you have not been that way in the small task of proofreading your marketing materials. 

So, what are some other benefits of good writing?  The most obvious benefit is the ability to express a clear and coherent thought.  If you can effectively take the reader through a logical thought process, they will be more inclined to see things from your perspective.  Consequently, another benefit to good writing is the ability to persuade others.  Words have immense power, but you have to use them correctly to convince others your ideas have merit.  If used incorrectly, the audience will assume your idea is as disheveled as your writing.  Finally, good writing builds trust.  People may not always agree with your thoughts, but they will be forced to give credence to them if presented properly.  Furthermore, readers will be more inclined to seek out your opinion on a regular basis because they know it is good fodder for intellectual stimulation. 

Writing, like any other worthy pursuit, is a skill that must be continually practiced for improvement to occur.  Here are a few tips to help you hone your writing skills:

  • Start a blog or a journal.  The more you write, the better at it you will become.  Give yourself an excuse to write often.  Practice good technique.  If you have a question about something you are doing, look it up or ask a friend.
  • Try to use correct grammar and spelling even when using social media.
  • Make an outline.  If you are writing anything longer than a blurb, outline the structure of the piece to assure your points are in the correct place. 
  • When writing an argument or opinion piece, structure the supporting points from the weakest to strongest.  You want to leave your audience with the best point when they finish reading.
  • Proofread your work.  Look for spelling, grammatical, and structural errors in particular.
  • Know your audience.  If you are writing for friends or acquaintances, a casual tone is acceptable.  If you are writing for the public-at-large or a specific organization, it is best to strike a more formal tone. 

Appealing to the younger generation

The success of a political party, organization, or candidate is greatly influenced by how they appeal to a young audience.  Unfortunately, it is something that followers and leaders in the liberty movement seem to be struggling with in comparison to those of the left.  Though you’ll never hear me say this in any other context but this – it’s time we take a small lesson from the left.  After suffering from the results of the 2008 elections, it’s time we, as conservative and liberty-minded individuals, make a serious effort to get online and make a change in the way we are perceived by the digital generation.

After analyzing some successful, yet liberal sites, it is easy to see that there are a few things the left is doing right, in terms of appealing to both the younger generation and those who frequent the internet:

Overall layout and visual appeal – When you ask anybody what first attracted them to their spouse, the smart ones will always say, “It was their personality.”  However, the cold hard truth is that most are first attracted to physical appearance.  Just as one doesn’t fall in love with someone’s personality at first site, individuals don’t fall in love with the content on a website at first site either. As much as we hate to admit it, looks do matter. Having an aesthetically pleasing color scheme and user-friendly layout can go a long way.

Social networking – Social networking sites are not solely being used for people to keep in touch with friends and family.  More and more they are being used as a search engine when trying to find out about candidates or organizations, especially by young audiences that want to be engaged in the political process.  They are becoming an essential part of the political process, and the left is using this to their advantage.  Not only do left leaning sites excel in making their content very easy to share on facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube, etc. via links on their site, but they seem to have a bigger active presence on facebook as well.  After searching through prominent left leaning organizations’ fan pages and groups, and comparing them to those of the liberty movement, it was easy to see that we have some work to do.  While some prominent conservative groups have fan pages with a few hundred members, many left leaning groups can boast numbers in the tens of thousands.  Don’t get me wrong – the liberty movement is making some fantastic strides; however, there is still much work to be done.

Extras – If you want to be able to influence the younger generation, you first have to understand them.  The left appears to fully understand this concept based on certain content that is offered on their websites.  Having been a college student during the 2008 presidential election, I saw first-hand the left’s success in influencing my peers.  It became trendy and fashionable for college students to walk around campus wearing t-shirts with a presidential candidate’s face on it and campaign buttons on their backpacks.  They did this by marketing it to an online audience. They understood the appeal of pop culture icons, for example the characters in the Twilight series.  (Which I believe to be a ridiculous craze) They used the commonly touted terminology “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” to formulate “Team Obama” t-shirts and bumper stickers.  They even used college mascots to reach students.  At a nearby university, t-shirts with the words “Rock Chalk Barack” sold like hotcakes and were worn to class constantly, which I assure you, influenced many more than just the students that bought them.  Anyone who has ever walked into a college dorm room knows posters are practically essential to a young person’s room decor.  The left, having marketed “Hope” posters during the election, was able to reach a plethora of young individuals with their message simply by making these products available on left-leaning websites.  It’s much easier to appeal to a group of individuals when you understand them, and the left understands.

I’m not saying that we need to copy the left or change our message to something that could be summed up on a trendy t-shirt.  Our message needs to stay consistent; however, we need to make it easier for a younger generation to get involved and feel engaged.  Though not all of the digital generation is able to make an immediate difference in terms of voting now, recruiting them to the movement as early as possible will help shape them into the kind of active citizens that will make a positive impact on their country.  Changing our online appeal will not only help the movement in appealing to the younger and politically active generation, but will also be an investment in our future.

Technology: America’s Check on Government Power

Special thanks to Austin James for bringing this to my attention, and Raz Shafer for contributing key material. Regarding this piece from the Huffington Post:

We see here the fight that grassroots constitutionalists are up against, and the new medium that it is expanding to. There has been a fair amount of talk in political circles and elsewhere about the vast network of information, people, and resources that the government-expansion crowd uses to make their message palatable and marketable to the very voters that will be exploited by such statism. (For a more in-depth case study, see The Blueprint by Schrager and Whitwer, recommended by AM president Ned Ryun here).

This post by Ariana Huffington, written with a touch of hopeful anticipation, outlines a plan for the federal government to “open” (note the buzzword, falsely implying transparency) itself to outside innovation that will only further empower it. President Obama, in the parlance of media guru Tim O’Reilly, champions an overhaul of government that will allow more participation in public affairs by citizens via technology and new media. Sounds great, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want to have more involvement in the affairs of their government? That’s what democracy is all about, right?

The problem here is the goal of a Government 2.0-type program. Uncle Sam wants your ideas to help widen and streamline the way the federal government operates. We should not be surprised in the least by the tendency of the big-government establishment to employ new media and social networks to expand the influence of the bureaucracy. What’s more, those who support such an agenda make no effort to hide their expansionist goals. The Mayor of Newark, as quoted in the Huffington article, seeks to use new technology to build “a larger democracy that is learning how to master media and drive social change.” And why should such visionaries make any effort to hide their big-government tendencies? After all, the majority of voters in 2008 cast their ballots for “a larger democracy” and a government that “drives social change.” There can be no doubt that those behind this government-driven change will use any and all means to do so, including new technology. Would a technological Government 2.0 be more transparent? Maybe, but actions speak louder than words, and we have seen government transparency in practice over the past few weeks, months, and years, and you can draw your own conclusions from there. Would a “larger democracy” be good for the free market and individual liberty? Almost certainly not.

For the entirety of American history, the American population has been at odds with the power of the federal government. To channel a popular radio host, the American political tradition has always come down to an ongoing struggle between liberty and tyranny. When the proponents of government-driven wealth redistribution and social change by sometimes constitutionally questionable means advocate the use of new technology to involve more people in that agenda, their vision smacks of a relationship between governors and governed that Americans should instinctively perceive as too close for comfort.

To put it another way, here’s a quote from Barry Goldwater, the late U.S. senator and 1964 presidential candidate:

“I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”

The government-as-platform structure mentioned in the Huffington article is exactly the wrong application of new technological resources. Those who wish to pursue individual liberty and a smaller government should pursue the use of new technology and social networking to organize efforts aimed at resisting governmental expansion, not facilitating it. Here at American Majority, we are working to build a network of constitutionally minded grassroots activists that will bring about social change from the ground up, not imposed top-down by the government. Networks such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, news websites, podcasts, and other media make possible the sharing of a vast wealth of information intended for the use of limiting government influence, rather than expanding it. They connect people with like-minded people of skill, means, and ambition, and the relationships formed through these networks grow into the movements whose influence we see in the congressional primaries even now. By training grassroots activists and candidates, we do not seek to build a “larger democracy” as the establishment does, but rather a new nation of responsible, conscious citizens who will be educated and equipped to defend liberty for this generation and the next.

The tools are out there for everyone to use. The big government crowd has already begun. When do we get started?

Focus Local: Finding Your Blogging Niche

One of the main areas that I help train in for American Majority is New Media…which loosely translates into: Blogs, Wikis, Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare…etc. I believe that if we’re going to make a tangible impact on this country that we are going to take the fight to where not only the liberals are but where we can touch a large number of individuals who are engaged. In today’s online world it’s very clear that those mediums are the modern political battlefields.

One of the first questions that comes up when I’m talking to people about starting a blog is, “What should I write about?” That’s when I reach back into my college economics vocabulary and pull out: Comparative Advantage. Basically, comparative advantage is someone’s ability to create something or do a task with greater efficiency or at a higher quality than another person. So, when I’m asked that question about writing topics I ask people what they can do that others can’t or arn’t: Where is your comparative advantage?

My point is this, if you are going to write a blog you need to be able to give a compelling reason why people should read yours instead of the 100 million + other blogs that are out there. I don’t recommend that people dedicate their blog to writing mainly about national issues because millions of other folks already do. Pick something that you are familiar with and become an expert!

I’m convinced that the best way for new bloggers to have a significant impact for liberty is to focus on local politics: county, city and school government. These are facets of government which are covered less and less by traditional media and where an appalling amount of our dollars get wasted.

You’d be surprised how few cities have any kind of blog, let alone a conservative one, dedicated to keeping an eye on what local officials are doing. We need those kinds of local watchdogs in order to hold our elected officials accountable.

Starting a blog dedicated to local politics doesn’t take much time or resources: Find some friends that are also concerned about local politics and begin taking turns attending city council and school board meetings. Let the officials know that you are there to write about what they are doing and be congenial. Get hooked up with Twitter (read our Guide to Twitter Activism here) and tweet live during the meeting. Then, when you get home, write up a summary of what happened and your opinion to post on the blog.

Over time you will become an indispensable resource for your locality and conservatives in your area that want to hold their government accountable. By keeping your focus local you can find your blog’s niche and capitalize on your comparative advantage.

Boomer Guide to Political Activism

One of the key components of the American Majority curriculum is our activist training seminar.  In it, we focus on teaching people how to be an effective advocate for issues they care about.  If we are going to see real change occur in our city halls, courthouses, and state capitols, we must realize the benefits of coordinated effort along with a strategic plan.  A great example of such an endeavor can be found in the earliest annals of Oklahoma history.

Recently, while perusing books at our local library in Tulsa, I happened upon a book entitled Progressive Oklahoma: The Making of a New Kind of State by Danney Goble.  Not being a native of this fine state, I am always looking for opportunities to learn about its history.  Ever since I picked it up, I have been fascinated by the events Goble describes.


Facebook Privacy Video 2: Settings

This is the second video in a two-part series on Facebook privacy settings. The video series was designed to compliment our Facebook Beginner’s Guide. To view video one, click here.

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