I’m always humbled when I find a gaping hole in my vocabulary.
The other day, someone in a political activist group suggested that it would be effective to ‘bird dog’ incumbents about a rather controversial issue we were discussing.
Mind you, I have made this tactic central to my electoral campaign strategy, integral to implementing my candidate contract plan of action. I just didn’t know the name for it.
See? Even the Google definition mentions bird dogging in a political context.
Yes . . . “dogged determination” . . . very cute.
That cute characterization is the polite, PC way of describing what I’m proposing.
As I presume will happen, my enlightened, progressive, honest and transparent people’s candidate has signed one or more contracts on issues that reflect the will of the majority of voters in the district where the contest is taking place. You can view the contract and the laundry list of progressive issues here, one that’s drafted for the House of Representatives.
But . . .
His opponents, whether newcomers or an incumbent, are establishment candidates, thus HAVE NOT SIGNED THE CONTRACT. I’ve explained elsewhere why they cannot and will not sign these contracts, but basically it boils down to their all but certain loss of campaign funding and major party machinery support. There are huge stakes at keeping at bay any significant populist reforms, specifically those in the progressive candidate contract. Keeping obedient establishment lackeys in office is essential for the status quo.
For simplicity sake, let’s say the contract in dispute is not the one listing the whole gamut of populist issues, but just one for raising the minimum wage. It would look like this.
Of course, raising the minimum wage is certainly the main focus in the battle for votes.
But the actual centerpiece of every element of the publicity campaign is the contract for raising the minimum wage. This is where the bird dogging comes in.
At every public rally, campaign event, fundraiser, town hall meeting, meet-the-candidate barbecue or hotdog eating contest — literally everywhere the establishment candidate(s) show up in public — there will be protesters wearing t-shirts, carrying signs, chanting:
Why won’t you sign the contract for raising the minimum wage?
Understand: ‘Why won’t you sign the contract for …’ is not a genial request for an answer. It’s an expression of outrage! It’s a condemnation! It’s saying: You are insulting us! We as voters are making a simple, fair, reasonable request. And you are defying the will of the people! It’s a rhetorical question challenging the empty rhetoric of the candidate.
Of course, every candidate, especially when speaking to younger folks who are most likely working for or just barely above the minimum wage, is going to discharge billowing gusts of smiley-face vapor about the “crisis in the availability of good jobs in this country”, and “all workers deserving a livable wage”. This always sounds nice but is really a lot of stinky poop, considering that the official rate hasn’t increased in seven years, and moreover, that adjusted for inflation the current $7.25 per hour is worth less than it was 50 years ago.
There’s only one way to take such patronizing oratory seriously, and that is to have him or her sign on the dotted line — put it in writing, in the form of a candidate contract.
The corollary to that is: The only way to boldly and loudly declare that such a candidate is NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY is by challenging them for NOT SIGNING the contract.
That’s how the candidate contract becomes a sledgehammer in a political campaign, a serious tool for exposing an establishment candidate’s hypocrisy and duplicity.
Why resort to harassment?
To be blunt about it, at least at first, any candidate which signs any version of the contract I’m proposing won’t have much choice. He or she will not have much in the way of funds, will not have the organizational support of a major party’s machinery, will be marginalized or entirely ignored by the mainstream media. Such an outsider campaign will have to get in the news by making news! By creating so much trouble and controversy, the media and anyone within any proximity can’t help but notice! Using street theater, outlandish stunts, sit-downs, sit-ins, blocking traffic, naked acrobatics . . . whatever! All to call attention to the fact that the slick, well-groomed, smooth-talking sack-of-hot-air opponent REFUSES to sign the contract.
Along those same lines, this is how the candidate contract works around big money. Yes, those establishment types will have huge campaign chests to run slick ads, to disseminate their carefully-worded and misleading messages. Those messages will always seem to be saying the right things. They’ve got the best spin doctors, PR and campaign consultants money can buy, massaging their images and words to a milky silky stream of lovely goo.
But voters are waking up. And people don’t like being manipulated and deceived.
As with our example, either a candidate is for or against raising the minimum wage. That being the case, if he or she is claiming to be with the voters on this particular issue, and the voters by a vast margin are for raising the minimum wage, why is it unreasonable to ask for a clear and unambiguous commitment in writing? After all, that’s what this candidate contract is — a clear and unambiguous commitment to raise the minimum wage.
If indeed it does turn out to be too much to ask a particular candidate, then it appears that WE’VE GOT A SERIOUS PROBLEM. And the problem is the candidate is blowing smoke! He or she is full of the brown stuff that comes out of the south end of a bull heading north!
Our democracy is sick. Our whole electoral system is diseased. This has largely because the professional political class of this country has discredited itself — and seems to be bent on continuing to discredit itself — every time one of them opens his or her mouth. We the voters didn’t bring on this crisis of trust. The political establishment did. By consistently and intentionally lying to everyday Americans and with almost a religious fervor breaking every campaign promise that might actually benefit the majority of American citizens.
Worst of all, any newcomers to this corrupt system have been vilified, marginalized and excluded, unless they are willing to play ball by the corrupt rules of ruling class obeisance. Bernie Sanders’s brilliant campaign was systematically undermined by the Democratic Party establishment. I surely don’t need to review here how the major parties in sinister, symbiotic collusion with the media openly mock and trivialize attempts by minor parties to introduce some integrity into the river of political filth the current system has become.
Yes, the duopoly of the two corporate parties has gotten control of just about everything having to do with electoral politics. But there’s one thing they haven’t been able to shut down completely. That’s word-of-mouth. That’s people talking to people. Which is why even the most powerful individuals can be brought down by the right scandal.
What’s more scandalous than lying to voters just to get their votes?
What’s more cynical, what’s more insulting, what’s more corrupt than refusing to stand up for what’s right and good for the majority of good, decent, hard-working citizens?
And since it’s every citizen’s right to know where a candidate really stands on issues that affect the everyday lives of everyday Americans; it’s every citizen’s right to be informed, and to be treated with candor and respect; it’s every citizen’s right to know with certainty who is on their side and who isn’t; sometimes we need to let that dog-bird, bird-dog, that hybrid-GMO-predator out of its cage, and proceed with “dogged determination”.
Let it be known . . .
You’re being put on notice, establishment Democrats and Republicans.
Just the right amount of bird dogging might make honest politicians out of you after all!
If not, then it’s really quite simple . . . you’ll be replaced.
By politicians with the integrity to sign the contract.
Woof woof chirp chirp!
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