Life's Better Ideas

Occasional links to, and comments on, ideas that I think will make this a better world, and remarks about things that need fixing, too.

Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

Monday, August 22, 2005


A Libertarian activist on the Western Slope, Debbie Schum, sent this around on the local discussion list:

Please bear with me, I know this is a long diatribe of sorts, but it is important to our goal of defeating Ref C.

While exchanging ideas and “selling points” is useful, mostly, preaching to the choir is a waste of time and money.

The people we need to reach are the undecideds and the voters in favor of ref C.

I see letters to the editor from undecideds saying they have not yet heard anything to sway them. And they are right. Here’s why:

My husband is a dyed in the wool Democrat. This guy has a ball cap with a hammer and sickle on it, and Che Guevara stickers on everything. He was going to vote yes on C. I have worked on him for months to no avail. I read him all the freedom works literature, he’s read all the numbers and figures in the paper, and none of this budged him. He is also pretty chip on the shoulder anti-conservative (though he himself is conservative on a few issues!).

Finally, in the last week or so, I have completely changed his mind….he is adamant about voting NO on C now. And here is how I accomplished that:

Liberals do not care about numbers like $3.1 or $3.8 billion. Because that would be money well spent if it is “for the children!” Don’t bother to ask them what they could do with an extra $3 thousand or $6 thousand or so in refunds. We must speak to the liberals in terms they can understand. This does not mean we lie, or we pretend to be liberals.

What do liberals care about? What do liberals value?

Is it “people”? No, they don’t want to help the poor, or the old, or the children….they want the government to do that for them.

What they care about is DEMOCRACY.

The first chink in my husbands armor came when I said “Why would anyone give up their right to vote on where their tax money goes?”

The things that finally convinced him was that I took the proponents argument (the schools will all close, the roads and bridges will all dissolve!) and pointed out that it was sneaky because TABOR does allow these things to go to the ballot. And if these are the things the excess revenues will really be going for, then why “suspend” TABOR? Why not just put those issues on the ballot? If there is no more TABOR, then they don’t have to tell you where the money is going. And don’t have to ask to raise taxes. If C passes, you can be SURE the money isn’t going to children or roads!

This scared him. He wants the money to go to social government programs. But without TABOR, there is no guarantee of that! Again, back to Democracy. He feels comforted that WITH TABOR, he can vote to make sure the money goes to these programs. These are not programs I necessarily value. But leftists do.

We MUST emphasize the fact that TABOR allows these issues to go to ballot, so no, the schools will not just automatically close, and all the roads get shut down. And if these issues can go to the ballot, then there is no need to “suspend” TABOR.

Just to make sure I’m seeing this correctly, I went down to the library and tried this same argument out on the staff and several patrons who were clearly left leaning. I left within 25 minutes having fully convinced them ALL to vote NO on ref C.

Again, preaching to the choir is a waste of time and money. These simplistic arguments work VERY well, where nothing else does.

Debbie Schum

Potent stuff. I may write a letter to the editor along these lines. Thanks, Debbie.

UPDATE:The WaterGlass has a different take.


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