In Local News...

...17 year old Marie Morrow may find out today if she will be expelled from school for having a trunk full of fake rifles used by the Douglas County Young Marines drill team, which she commands.

This poor kid's only mistake was driving into another dimension/school district and having some ninny student see the toy guns and turn her in.

Spineless *!%*<#@(*?* Quisling....

Whew. (I'm okay now.) Anyway, one could hardly expect her to have known that such idiocy could occur, given that her drill team was invited to and did perform for students at several different Douglas County Schools for Veterans Day events.

She is being railroaded by the Cherry Creek School District - one of the most liberal in the state.

I called the spokeswoman's office and roused her secretary. After some small talk I congratulated her on having bested George Orwell's fiction in real life. Alas, she knew not of whom I spoke.

I told her in simpler terms that they were railroading a student who a) didn't even attend that district, and b) had done nothing wrong. I submitted that if they had the funds for this kind of mischief we could address that at the next election. She was taking notes so I made a few moral analogies illustrating the injustice being done. She even expressed interest in Orwell so I told her about "1984" and "Animal Farm". The conversation went on politely but she was clearly the wrong person, so I thanked her and hung up.

I called right back and got the superintendent's secretary on the line. She knew all about Orwell and was somewhat taken aback at the comparison, which led to a short vut obvious silence. She said that they felt they had no choice in light of state policy. I responded that this was spineless and tyrannical. I pointed out that soldiers shackling Jews into rail cars were doing exactly the same thing - following state policy - and that morally there was no discernible difference between the two acts. Sure, if murders occurred later there could be accessory to murder charges for the soldiers who closed the shackles, but tyranny is tyranny in either instance.

I was very civil, but I let the district have it for what's going on. I used terms including but not limited to: railroad, tyranny, injustice, spineless and kangaroo court. You get the idea! I pointed out that the entire country is in a crisis right now, and that we're looking (with a conspicuous lack of success) for leaders who have a backbone. Any leaders. Even in the wasteland of public schools.

I told her that the moral solution was obvious: the Superintendent could simply announce that she would not enforce this unjust law. She could explain the right of jury nullification, and since the law made her the jury she would be exercising just powers. She could call the law the farce it is, drop proceedings against the student and challenge the legislature to correct it's earlier stupidity. The Superintendent could state that she'd rather be fired than hurt any student. I asked the secretary if she thought anyone would dare fire the superintendent after taking such a stand. Silence. Then - "well, probably not." Damn straight!

There was no doubt that I'd fully made my point to a receptive person, so I changed course and sympathetically observed that it must not have been much fun to have her job the last few days. (The moment you've vanquished an opponent in a moral debate, show compassion and step aside so they can join you if they're so inclined. Always clear a wide path for people once the light comes on!) I observed that many people were not very well spoken (as she and I were) and that she must have taken a lot of abuse in some of the calls. (See - we well spoken folks are on the same team here! That's how, in about 5 minutes, I was "working from the inside" as an ally of sorts!) Once that rapport was established, I reminded her that even the inarticulate and downright crude callers could vote, and that those calls should not be taken lightly.

I told her the script was now written, and all she had to do was hand it over to the superintendent and alert the media. I asked if she thought the superintendent might want to talk with me but she said they had heard the message loud and clear from numerous irate calls. Well, I said, good luck with this mess...

It's easy to be effective at this kind of call. Here's how: The "prime directive" is don't personalize. Don't say "you" or " you guys" when you mean "the district". "You" refers to your listener, and that's personal. "The district" is where your listener works. So stay impersonal - it's this easy to deprive them of the opportunity to get their hackles up, which is how they dismiss you.

Remember that few people (even bureaucrats) like all policies - particularly ones that bring embarrassment raining down. You will often be able to use this to develop a sympathetic relationship rather quickly. Don't curse, and don't shout, but be firm. I do not brook rationalizations, and I always point out what rationalization is (by way of analogy) when they do it.

If you don't have experience speaking, make up a cue card before you call. Write down what you want to say and whatever quotes or examples you want to use. That way, if they interrupt you, you can get right back on track.

I used to write things out this way, and it never occurred to me that I was training myself. It worked, though - I no longer use notes and don't even remember when I stopped. After some practice I became more confident and at some point my subconscious mind took over. Repetition, just like any other endeavor!

You'll win a high percentage of your tries if you follow this. As your victory becomes obvious and the conversation is drawing to a close, take a deep breath, let it out, put a smile on your face and then sympathize with what they're going through! Then, just shut up and wait to see what they say next. Sometimes the intel you glean will astonish you.)

This is nothing more than a mild version of the "good cop - bad cop" interrogation technique. Everyone uses it, because it works. Probably every other call she took today was critical, and I'm sure darned few were sympathetic in any way. It was by sympathizing with her that I was able to elicit how many calls there had been in opposition to this persecution, along with several other tidbits...

In a moral dispute always use your intelligence and cunning to achieve multiple objectives: We need to capture the high ground (fairly easy), to hold it (also fairly easy), to convert the enemy where possible (requires grace and compassion in victory, but still fairly easy) and to gather more intelligence (depends on the first three and some measure of luck)...

These local people are not like congressmen accustomed to Gulfstream travel and fine dining at constituent or lobbyist expense. They often know right from wrong, and all we have to do is let them know that we do too, and that we're watching! Pick up the phone, folks. Let 'em know! A victory is priceless, but a loss is a kind of victory too: The kind of enemy who doesn't listen is the kind that does what they want regardless. By raising our voices we can paint them into an intellectual corner - even if they don't listen this places them in the position of lying to themselves about their actions. Over time, that takes a toll on their spirit. That toll will inure to our benefit, and it's a toll I'm happy to exact...

(Now to call my Senators and discuss the bailout! I know they'll be be far less receptive, but I'll make my points to them and report back on that as well.)

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