Make "the Silent" a Minority

Making Americans ==> Uncivil War => Independence Day => A New Birth of Freedom => American Citizenship => Make "the Silent" a Minority => The Gettysburg Address => Re-Founding America

Recently my niece approached me to ask questions about politics. She’s a young teenager, years short of being able to vote, but she wants to become informed and involved so that she could positively participate by the time she can vote. The conversation served as a reminder to me of how important it is for our young people to be able to obtain information on political issues that is not tainted by the rancor that often pervades political discussions. In other words we need a clearinghouse for civil civic conversation. I decided that I wanted to form an organization that would work for that purpose.

When I read the plea at Ladies Logic regarding our atrocious levels of participation in Utah (and remembered my own pleas to encourage greater levels of participation here), I realized that the time to act was now and that the need was not only for our youth who are approaching or recently passing the age where they can vote but also for every citizen who can’t bring themselves to really participate in the dirty game of politics – many of whom simply stay out of the discussion and vote without becoming well informed on the issues. We need to reach “the silent majority.”

The group I will be forming will be open to, even encouraging of, participation by people of all political perspectives. The only requirement for participation is a commitment to avoid the playground politics of name calling and guilt by association. The aim of the group will be to draw people out of the silent majority until the silent become the minority by fostering civil dialog between people of differing perspectives. We will not aim to come to a consensus except the consensus that wider participation is better than narrower participation. I would like the group to seek to engage other group members in public discussion of issues so that people who have been silent will have a chance to be exposed to various positions on important issues without the likelyhood of being personally insulted by those who disagree with them. I also would like the group, individually and collectively, to engage in discussing issues with candidates for office and elected officials with an emphasis on local candidates and officials and a balance of local, state, and national issues.

In addition to my own energy, and knowledge I need the energy and experience of others who can help me to spread the word, engage effectively with public officials, organize group efforts, and generate ideas to further these aims.

I would ask anyone who believes in the importance of broad political participation, especially if you are in Utah, to please contact me publicly or privately to help me get this off the ground. Leave me comments or drop me an email if you have interest in participating, ideas about what can and should be done, or if you know of people who could help me in this.

14 comments for “Make "the Silent" a Minority

  1. Gordon Miner
    October 2, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Dear David,

    Thank you for this worthwhile effort. I would be pleased to participate and help.

  2. October 9, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Count me in.

  3. October 16, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Let me know when you get it started! I’d love to help or participate.

    LL (mom of a soon to be voter as well)

  4. October 17, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Here’s an idea…

    I’d love to continue to write my own blog, but perhaps a “community” blog would help to create the critical mass that we’re looking for. Encouraging a plethora of contributors might just bring more of the silent types out of the woodwork.

    The only community political blog from Utah that I know about is OneUtah. It is decidedly liberal, but most critically, it is decidedly caustic (uncivil). I wholeheartedly subscribe to your idea of a “civil dialog”, and if, along these lines, you or someone else here would like to begin a civil community blog, I’d be glad to sign on as a contributor! If there’s enough interest, heck, I’d get the thing started.

    • November 24, 2009 at 4:00 pm

      I’m going back through reading old comments and saw this one – I thought it was interesting to note that a year later there is a blog exactly as you describe Frank. Most interestingly this new community site for civil political dialog, Politics Elevated, was started by me and you are one of the principle contributors. I just hope that it continues to grow to the critical mass that you talked about.

      • November 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm

        The thing I did yesterday that I think will make it more noticeable to people is that I used Krista’s most recent article on PoliticsElevated.com about Socialism and Fire Departments as a link article on my Facebook page. Admittedly, it generated more comments for my Facebook page, but it did generate at least some traffic to the blog.

        The one thing that I don’t like about the Facebook automatic blog feed is that when it’s automatic, it turns it into a “Note” where any comments go on that Facebook note and not on PoliticsElevated itself.

        • November 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm

          I had that problem with posts being pulled as notes on Facebook but just this weekend I discovered a plugin that actually pulls the comments from Facebook and posts them back on the blog – I have it installed on Pursuit of Liberty – unfortunately I tried installing it on Politics Elevated only to find that it does not work due to the fact that the Politics Elevated Facebook page is a page from my personal Facebook profile so it pulls the comments from my personal Facebook notes.

          P.S. The article on “Socialist” Fire Departments was by Carissa, not Krista.

  5. October 18, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Dear David,

    I think Frank is on the right track. And, it is my understanding that Golden Webb, of Utah Policy Daily, is looking at creating just such a community blog. So, I think that is a good starting place for those of us who are center-right and civil to mount a response to the center-left and uncivil who currently dominate the blogosphere. (Golden’s email address can be obtained from off the Utah Policy Daily website.)

    Please count me in.

    Love,
    A.W.

  6. October 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Thanks for the support A.W.

    I would like to make it clear that I am not attempting to “mount a response” to anyone nor am I looking to establish something that is center-right – all I am looking for is civil. If that lines up with the interests of Golden Webb and Utah Policy I would be happy to work with them. Also, there are options besides OneUtah such as utahpolitics.org which aggregates various blogs and might actually be the kind of vehicle that Frank was talking about.

    Frank,

    I had been conflicted on whether a community blog would be useful, but if there is interest I definitely think that it can’t hurt so long as it adheres to the guidelines.

    I will keep all of you posted as I make decisions and move forward with this. (Right now I expect to start with an email list to foster this discussion of how to proceed.)

  7. October 18, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Dear David,

    I’m sorry, but I think I did everyone a great disservice in how I handled that post. Contrary to what my comment would indicate, I can see that are there are actually two different issues being addressed here:

    (1) The problem of incivility in politics that good folks from both sides of the political spectrum may want to remedy. (What I sense you are addressing)

    (2) The problem, from a conservative perspective, of uncivil leftwing domination of the local political blogosphere. (What I sense Frank is addressing)

    Because I agree with both of your concerns, I blurred everything together into one indistinguishable blob in my hastily composed comment. That was wrong and irresponsible of me to do. I can see now that I unintentionally created the impression that you, Golden Webb and/or Utah Policy Daily had these same concerns. Though I certainly feel that way, I cannot speak for anyone but myself.

    One of my good blogger friends, Micah Bruner (a.k.a. Death Knell), is a Salt Lake City area attorney involved with an organization called Republicans for Civil and Informed Politics. I think he would be a good contact for you. One of his associates has been in discussion with a center-left political science professor with the intention of co-founding another organization called Americans for Civil and Informed Politics. It sounds like this latter organization is more of what you are interested in creating yourself. Perhaps it would be wise for all of you to combine your efforts so that you do not duplicate services. Micah’s blog URL is: http://www.micahbruner.blogspot.com. You may want to drop him a line so that he can arrange for you to speak to his colleague.

    With regard to utahpolitics.org, I refer to it frequently when I want to get a sense of what is happening among local bloggers. And, though I doubt very much that the owner of that site is necessarily sympathetic with OneUtah’s agenda, the truth is that his site has been completely dominated by their posts. The reason being is that they are more organized and more committed to blogging than their counterparts on the right. Good for them. Bad for us.

    At this point, I should hasten to add that I have had civil and responsible blog interaction with Cliff, Glenden, and Richard of OneUtah. I do not want to demonize these folks. I actually admire their commitment and their productivity. But, I do find their blog to be extreme and vitriolic. Thus, as a social conservative with sense of civic responsibility, I feel that I owe them, and the world that my children will inherit, a response.

    I just don’t have the time to do it as much as I would like. That is why I love the idea of there being a conservative community blog that conducts itself in a civil and responsible manner. (We all know that there are many, many irresponsible, extreme and vitriolic conservative sites out there too. I want to counter that kind of embarrassing behavior also.)

    Anyway, good luck, my friend. Please forgive me for my carelessness. If there is anything I can do to assist you, please let me know.

    Love,
    A.W.

  8. October 18, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    P.S. Of course, I also make good use of the site for which you are an editor http://www.blognetnews.com/utah.

  9. October 18, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    A.W.

    Thanks for the information and link on the work that Micah is doing. He sounds like someone I need to talk to.

    When we talk about OneUtah I think it should be known that I am technically a contributor over there. I know that Cliff would like for it to be representative more than one side of the political spectrum. Personally I find that I rarely have anything to contribute there because virtually everything I want to say fits better here. It may be that other conservative contributors there find themselves in the same position.

    The difference I would like to see in a community blog or forum would be a culture that demands civility from anyone who chooses to participate – that doesn’t happen all the time at OneUtah (especially in the comments).

  10. October 18, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Eh- I wouldn’t say the lack of civility at OneUtah is only in the comments (although I am guilty of a less than civil comment myself.

  11. October 19, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Not only in the comments – just especially in the comments.

Comments are closed.