Since the inauguration, I’ve read and heard a lot of analysis about every appointee, statement, move, and edict. All of it is well-reasoned and well-intended, and designed to bolster up and feed into a growing sense of alarm and outrage. Unfortunately, while it has rallied believers, it is being ignored or discounted by non-believers, many of whom will be harmed by the people and policies being rammed through.
Why? Because they have been, and are being fed a constant stream of distorted or false messages targeted at their guts rather than their heads.
And this is a major problem.
The power bases on the Left, both in the media and government, have gotten so good at over-explaining, over-analyzing, muddling, and appealing to reason, that they’ve forgotten that most people do not respond to these sorts of appeals. No, most people respond to messages and images that hit them squarely in the gut, that stir up emotions in a deeply personal way.
Advertisers know this. So do salesmen. It’s how they get you to buy that expensive face cream, or bulky kitchen gadget you’ll use once and then give away.
Look at one of the Right’s campaign battle cries: “Hillary Clinton will take away your guns.”
The fact that this was untrue was irrelevant. It was leveled at an important segment of the population’s tender spot: it threatened their freedom. For some, it threatened their abilities to feed their families, and it threatened their way of life.
The Right knew this, and used it every chance they got, as one weapon in an enormous arsenal which succeeded in opening wounds and making people bleed fear and loathing. And the weapons were used at a rate which ensured that the bleeding would not stop.
It’s propaganda through and through, simple and effective.
Unfortunately, most on the Left still haven’t figured this out, or learned how to use it, cut away the excess, streamline, change their language, go for the gut.
But if they’re going to reach the people they lost, regain their support, impress upon them that we, our democracy, our liberties, our world are truly in danger, they will have to be willing to attack the Right mercilessly and simply, in language that not only inflames, triggers emotions, and calls people to action, but does so in a way that feels both universal and personal; and they will have to do it non-stop.
Before it’s too late.
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