Thursday, June 23, 2005

Jesus, Empathy, and the Democratic Message

From Anne:

I always read about how clever the Republicans are at hijacking language and phrases to gain support for their causes, and the Democrats always seem to lament their inability to do the same. I've got a phrase for the Democrats, and it's a real buzz-kill for Republicans. You simply preface responses to Republican statements with, "By the grace of God...."

I just spoke to a Republican (and Christian) who said, "We should just drop a big bomb on the entire Middle East." I said, "Oooh, you don't mean that; it's just by the grace of God that we weren't born in the Middle East. And, how would YOU feel if the Middle East had all the military might and we had no real military defense, and they wanted to drop a bomb on us?"

The dynamic of the conversation changed instantly. First, I mentioned God which got his attention. Second, I followed up with an empathy question. If you are a true Christian, this one-two punch causes tremendous cognitive dissonance. It only results in a momentary skip in the Stepford, "Bomb the Bastards" rhetoric record, but that skip could be expanded into a ruined record if the message was more omnipresent.

For all the supposed Christians we have in this country, we have too few people who empathize. But, they have rarely, if ever, been asked to empathize with another person, culture, ethnic group, etc. Yet, what made Jesus such a powerful figure was his ability to empathize. The Republicans conveniently omit this rather glaring aspect of Jesus. The Democratic Party is ultimately about empathy, yet they rarely mention this blatant discrepancy between the two parties.

On a somewhat different note, I just watched a clip of Dean on the News Hour, and he said the Democrats were a party of hope. I about threw up. If that's going to be the Dem message, we're going to lose-- AGAIN!! It worked for Clinton when it was quasi-original because he grew up in Hope. But, 14 years later, 'hope' is hopeless. No one wants to go to the clubs which were hip years ago or drink a drink which was popular years ago. They want a new club and a new cocktail to get excited about. And, how do you make a new club or drink exciting? You change the goddamn name!!!!

That's Marketing 101.