Manners Matter Even For Activists


Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 10.43.57 PMThe other day I was on a long, and frankly, exasperating Twitter conversation about #BlackLivesMatter and how horribly rude they are. The response of this person is that revolutionaries don’t have time for manners.  Never mind that people involved in this movement are rude, nasty, and are abject bullies.  Take the case of Peggy Hubbard, who took to her FB page to excoriate #BlackLivesMatter.  If you listen to one of their representatives on television the woman was a fool.  I listened, while they treated this woman, who was quite sincere, like dirt.  You can’t win friends and influence people by treating everyone as the enemy.  Guess what?  We aren’t.

When did these spoiled little bully-brats become revolutionaries? If so, then they’ve crossed the line, and that is not good at all.  Unfortunately, over the years, revolutionaries have a tendency to be self-righteous, narcissistic, psychopathic, bullies.  And, they rarely have manners, or behave in a manner conducive to polite society.  Why should they?  They’re trying to destroy polite society and rebuild it with something that suits them, better.  Rarely are revolutionaries benign.  The government they create is almost always worse than the one they have replaced and toppled.  Unlike the charming gentlemen of 1776, the average revolutionary is not someone you want to even be associated with, they are so repulsive and terrifying.  They are also dangerous and completely egotistical.   They don’t need manners.  The average revolutionary ends up dead, in a ditch, somewhere.

If #BlackLivesMatter doesn’t want to end up marginalized like Code Pink, they’d better clean up their act, quickly.  Instead of treating people like Peggy Hubbard like dirt, they should be welcoming them with open arms.  Unfortunately, she hit a nerve, and was a bit tactless.  That’s okay.  She was pissed.   She also served her country with honor, so when a person does that, I stop and listen.

The problem is not the message of either side.  It is the messengers.  They want to be activists.  Activists must also be lobbyists to be effective.  You cannot be an effective messenger of your cause wearing a t-shirt, marching down the street, and chanting slogans.  This was my argument in 1983 when dealing with activists who would put on their little L-5 Society T-shirts and march up and down the halls of the House and Senate, dropping in on – just everyone.  They accomplished nothing.  They were a joke.  The did more damage to our cause than they could even imagine.

We tried to get them – and finally did, to understand you play the game in the power togs, properly groomed, bathed, with targeted appointments, business cards, and throw the t-shirts and slogans in the garbage where they belong.  You play the game.  You learn to play the game.  You get people on your side.  You do local news shows. You organize – politely.  You have meet & greets, and functions.  You serve cocktails and finger food, and smooze with the best of them.  Then, you give away those damn t-shirt in your goodie pack that includes mugs, key-chains, and calendars with your information.  You buy the refrigerator magnets.  People never throw out a cleaver magnet.  I have some that are 20 years old.

All of a sudden, you are arguing, not from a position of minority activist, but someone who is part of the community, to be respected from a position of power.  I would love to get hold of these people from #BlackLivesMatter and give them an attitude & etiquette make-over, quickly.  If not, they’re going to be as marginalized as Code Pink, who are a joke.  Come on people, quit acting like a bunch of spoiled brats with a chip on your shoulder.

They need to realize that everyone matters.  They also need to understand that black people aren’t the only ones who have been harmed, hurt, and terrorized by cops.  They need to realize that there are plenty of white people who have been maliciously destroyed by over-the-top prosecutors on to bigger and better elected office.

They’re blowing it.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t agree with their agenda.  We just don’t like the messengers, who are acting like a bunch of spoiled, school-yard bullies who think they are better than anyone else. They’re not.  They’re destroying their cause.  It’s a good cause that doesn’t need to be destroyed.

I’ve been there.  I know how to play the activist & lobbyist game. I did extremely well, and was quite successful at it.  You want to see the end result of our lobbying effort? I circles the planet every hour or so, with men and women living in it, full time.