My home state of North Carolina has been specifically targeted by a multi-headed massively funded Progressive entity with the innocuous name Blueprint NC. Blueprint professes to operate under a hopey-changey, feel good goal. Their website declares: “Blueprint NC is a partnership of public policy, advocacy, and grassroots organizing nonprofits dedicated to achieving a better, fairer, healthier North Carolina through the development of an integrated communications and civic engagement strategy.” Ultimately, Blueprint aims to influence state policy in NC so that residents of the state benefit from more progressive policies such as better access to health care, higher wages, more affordable housing, a safer, cleaner environment, and access to reproductive health services.” But like all things Progressive, there is an evil underside just beneath the surface of the sunshiny-rainbow veneer.
The true goals of this organization were revealed by a leaked memo which lays out a plan to “Eviscerate, Mitigate, Litigate, Cogitate, and Agitate” our state Republican leaders at every level and through any means necessary and available. One of the many groups that Blueprint would like to “be recognized for the good work that they do” is Democracy NC. This group has recently started a community action organization in my area, which has gone to great lengths to look homegrown and promote a very general and positive agenda.
The group literally sprung up overnight with an attractive website, snazzy logo and a very positive, albeit generic reason for being. They publicly claim to hold no particular political leanings and welcome folks from both sides of the political spectrum. They go by a very innocent sounding name that portends no obvious political leanings or baggage. Their website lists no founding members and provides no history. It took several days of reading their online postings to figure out exactly what side they were on. Their postings are always very upbeat and often include quotes from famous Americans such as the Founding Fathers and other Conservative icons. Their postings always challenge the reader to “work good” in our community. So what could possibly be wrong with this picture?
And then it happened. They gave themselves away by using a word Progressives love but true Conservatives rightly steer clear of – democracy. To a Progressive, “democracy” is thought of as a utopia in which everyone has a voice and the very real negatives of human reality no longer exist. Because Conservatives know history and understand human nature, they recognize democracy for what it truly is – mob rule and ultimate anarchy. Founding Father John Adams said, “Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders …” (For some reason, however, this was not one of the many quotes on democracy this group chose to use…)
Their local Progressive group holds meetings quite frequently and invites the general public to attend, so recently I went “undercover” and did just that.
The welcoming facilitator greeted everyone warmly upon arrival, asked us to fill in personal information on a sign-in sheet, offered us light refreshments and directed us to an “information center” where myriads of handouts, brochures, and newspaper items were set out. She especially encouraged everyone to pick up a copy of a recent New York Times editorial blasting our state Republican Legislature for destroying our state by slashing funding for unemployment, education, and healthcare while infringing upon voting rights and denying minorities the opportunity for legal justice. The editorial was obviously meant to set the tone for the upcoming meeting and to rile everyone up against the evil Republicans. So much for ‘fair and balanced.’
When the facilitator directly asked my opinion on the editorial, I felt momentarily caught in the “shrewd as a serpent, innocent as a dove” trap. I could not say I agreed with nearly everything the Republican Legislature has done this past session without giving away my true opinions and thus be banished or shunned from the meeting. I also could not lie and say I thought the Republican actions were evil as fellow attendees obviously felt they were. So I responded, “Our state Republican Legislature was able to accomplish all this in just this past year? That’s unbelievable.” The facilitator seemed to take this as an anti-Republican response and asked no specific follow-ups.
After about a dozen folks had arrived, we were directed to break into three different “Huddle” groups to focus on a specific topic according to our personal interests and concerns. The Huddles were for Voter ID, Healthcare, and Education. Because I could only choose one, and because I am a former teacher, I joined the ‘Education Huddle’. For the next hour, the six people in my Huddle discussed everything education related – from a Progressive point of view. Group members voiced many of the same concerns – dropout rates, school performance and testing, drugs and violence in the schools, and teacher responsibilities and pay. However, not a single individual delved deeper and asked, “Why are things this way?” The focus was entirely on adding or expanding programs and increasing school funding. It was extremely difficult for me to listen and participate without ‘going Conservative,’ but I constantly reminded myself I was just there to observe and learn.
After problems and issues were identified, we were prompted by the group facilitator to brainstorm solutions and “action plans.” All the solutions focused on gaining more access to the schools through personal involvement in Progressive organizations. A list of these organizations along with training schedules was made available. The facilitator also encouraged us to write letters to the editor of our local newspaper (which is very liberally biased), contact specific individuals (teachers, parents, students) in our local school system, and share personal stories on the group’s website. The facilitator even told us it would be fine to “just make something up along these lines…” if we could not locate a real individual or situation to illustrate our point. The emphasis was to be deliberately emotional in order to make a personal connection with the larger community.
After Huddle time concluded, all the attendees came together in a big circle for the last hour of the meeting. The three Huddle facilitators shared each group’s findings, insights, and plan of action. The Healthcare group thought the best approach for the organization to take was to “emphasize and publicize the twenty-two free programs which are already available through the new healthcare initiative.” The Voter ID group stated that the issue was going to be used as a rallying point to defeat the recent Conservative takeover in our local county as well as statewide political contests. The facilitator then encouraged everyone to attend a meeting of our local NAACP chapter that was going to be held later that week. The group then discussed several upcoming city festivals and suggested ways to “creatively engage the community” with the Progressive message at these events. The main facilitator challenged us to continue to focus on the question “How do we make citizens more aware and become more active in the issues we have discussed?”
After “Group Time” ended, the meeting adjourned and the facilitators made of point of speaking to each individual, trying to elicit commitments for future meetings and activities. I was handed more literature to take with me to study and share. I then went home to gather my thoughts about what I had observed and learned from this experience. I would have to say that, although I completely reject the Progressive message out of hand, I could not help but be both impressed and troubled by their ability to focus, organize, and implement their agenda. No wonder they are running circles around us Conservatives.
These are my takeaways from the meeting:
- The focus was always on the Progressive agenda.
Though the meeting was set up to appear very casual and remained very informal and relaxed, the conversations always centered on Progressive issues. From the time we came in the door, every facet of the meeting was designed to push us in the same direction, namely, anger and blame at Conservatives and praise for Progressives ideals.
- The meeting was professionally organized.
No matter how much they stressed this was “a community effort,” it was obvious the three facilitators were in control. They deftly directed the conversation; they shaped the ideas the group members ‘contributed’, and set the overall goals. However, it was amazing in how they managed to accomplish this without appearing to do so. They could take any idea or suggestion from a group member, reshape or redirect it and make the member who had originally suggested it believe that it was still their own individual creation and contribution.
- Individual members did not seem to matter.
Though the facilitators, and attendees, were very friendly and accessible, there was still an isolation and emotional separation apparent. There was virtually zero ‘small talk.’ A lot of group members did not (or would not) give last names, state how they came to be involved in the group, or even provide background information such as where they lived or what they did for a living. The only importance individuals served was in what they could do to further the agenda.
- Any idea that strayed from the Progressive course of action was immediately shot down.
While discussing the Voter ID issue, one of the attendees stated, “Well, if the law now says that people have to have a government issued ID, what we’re going to have to do is bus people to the places to get that ID. I mean, we already bus them to the polls. We’ll just have to make sure we’re in compliance with the law.” The facilitators virtually ignored this suggestion and immediately changed the focus to how unfair and racist a law like this was in the first place. There was no consideration of any of the merits of a Voter ID law and not another single group member spoke up to defend the idea of compliance.
- The discussions were shallow and based solely on emotion.
There was no serious debate of any of the topics. All education issues were literally “for the children” and just needed more (tax payer) money. Healthcare (it was never referred to as Obamacare) was great because it was free and the public only needed to realize this. Voter ID was bad because it was racist and it would not allow every individual “to participate in democracy.” All plans of action were based on making an emotional connection with the outside community. The one word that never came up in any of the discussions was “Why?”
- The Progressives are willing to try virtually anything to get out their message.
During the group discussion on plans of action, ideas such as organizing a flash choir, translating group material into Spanish and attending local Hispanic festivals, showing up (and protesting) at local political meetings, and going into the schools to make personal connections (and share the Progressive message) with students were all agreed to. Note that these ideas all originated with the facilitators, but the members received them with great willingness and immediately ‘got with the program.’
- The Progressives cater their message to their audience
Having a beginning “Huddle” session where individuals could talk about the single issue that most concerned them was very appealing and productive. Members felt they were personally crafting programs to change our community for the better. The facilitators were also careful to use words that conveyed strong emotion and made group members feel “empowered.”
- Anything related to the Progressive agenda is blindly accepted and non-debatable.
The group members were convinced they were “working good” and never looked deeper into the failures of their programs or the merits of Conservative ideas. As I sat in the group meeting I listened carefully as members shared their opinions and tried to assess whether they were “true believers” (as the facilitators were) or just “useful idiots” who were unknowingly furthering the Progressive agenda. One lady was a member of Organizing for America and was an obvious true believer. Another was a disillusioned recent college graduate who seemed destined to soon become a community organizer himself. However most others seemed to fall into the “useful idiot” category.
- The Progressives have a lot more money to put into their efforts.
As an active member of my local Tea Party, I have witnessed many plans end with the words, “Yes, it’s a great idea, but how do we afford it?” The Progressives do not seem to suffer from this syndrome. Ideas were put forth without a thought as to the cost involved. Many other Progressive organizations were also mentioned as already being involved in the local community and members were encouraged to work with them as well.
- The Progressives are determined to win.
They don’t just think and act outside the box–they refuse to even acknowledge there is a box. There may have been a box at one time, but they organized around it, had it regulated and eradicated from society, and then set it afire to remove all remnants. Though there was a lot of anger about recent Conservative victories, there was never an air of defeatism or an attitude of “it can’t be done.”
We Conservatives can learn a lot from Progressives – and it is imperative that we learn this as quickly as possible. Progressives cater the message to the individual, place individuals into positions for which they are most interested and best suited, and never stop pushing their agenda forward for a second. If I were not already a staunch Conservative and convinced of the falseness and outright evil of the Progressive agenda, I must confess I would have been swayed by their accepting, positive, and empowering presentation. And, if I had joined the program, the facilitators would have seen to it that I was immediately set to work forwarding the Progressive agenda because they do not waste time or effort and they are dedicated to winning. This was the most striking difference I observed between the Conservative and Progressive approach and the most important lesson – and dire warning – I can relay to my fellow Conservatives.