Be a Missionary! 7 Strategies to Talk With People About Romney-Obama
I was invited to a friend’s Christmas tea last year, and was shocked to see an “Obama Tree” in her living room. Every ornament had our President’s picture, name, logo or other representation.
In terms of color, I am pinkish-beige and she is chocolate brown. I’m a conservative Republican, and she’s a Leftie Democrat. I knew she was an Obama voter and supporter. No big deal. Our friendship celebrates diversity. I just never expected to see President Obama’s symbols replace the Lord’s as the center of her Christmas celebration.
So, fun-loving imp that I am, when everybody else was in the kitchen, I hurriedly turned around every single ornament on that tree to the reverse side. The Obama symbols were hidden. It looked like a normal, colorful Christmas tree. There!
I thought she’d laugh but she got very, very mad. I protested that I was just teasing her but she stalked over, all huffy, and changed all the ornaments back with a great, big frown on her face.
It finally hit me: Having Barack Obama in the White House, for her, was much more than what I thought it was. I thought his supporters basically wanted a social justice-style “penalty kick” against “The Man” – against whites. Yes, this country did allow slavery of black people, and did practice systemic racial discrimination in the olden days.
I thought a lot of people voted for President Obama in ’08 to kind of bring that full circle, to put someone with darker skin color in the White House no matter what his actual political beliefs were. That way, justice would somehow be served. We could all move forward in a better direction, united and together.
Maybe that was a legitimate reason to vote for President Obama in ’08. But the unity thing? Obama just made things worse and divided us even more. Four years later, now that we can see the truth about his capabilities as our President, or more specifically, the utter lack thereof, we all know people who are still planning to vote for him on Nov. 6.
That’s despite the fact that:
- The economy’s still in free-fall;
- Our federal debt is now a mountain range;
- We’ve got egg on our face internationally, especially with the debacle in Libya;
- The quality, availability and affordability of medical care is about to plunge if the socialized medicine of ObamaCare isn’t repealed, and health-care reformed in better ways, with a Republican White House and GOP majority in Congress;
- Gigantic tax increases loom on Jan. 1;
- Huge conflicts have erupted over religious freedom issues such trampling the religious convictions of the majority of the American people to force us to pay for abortion and contraceptives, and to accept homosexual marriage as A-OK;
- Etc., etc. etc.
How could people still be voting for Obama again, and more of this kind of stuff?
I finally realized what has happened. President Obama’s supporters had slipped into the modern-day version of what you could call idolatry. They have made an idol out of Obama. They have shifted him from a man into a symbol.
That’s why they don’t see what’s wrong with an Obama Tree at Christmastime. They cut him more slack than they cut God; they celebrate him and follow his edicts even more than they follow God’s. They won’t listen to any facts and evidence that shine the light of truth on Obama’s history, actions and intentions, and those of his often-scary associates. They are his “frozen chosen.”
How do you get through to people who are worshipping idols? How do you change minds and hearts that appear to be set in concrete?
There’s still time to become a missionary! Their communication strategies and tactics make sense and really work.
Here are some key concepts of missionaries that we can all use as we interact with people these last few hours before the election, in person, via email and phone, on Facebook, etc. Go forth, and make Romney (and Republican Congressional) voters:
- Be a servant. Provide information in a low-key, positive, supportive way. Don’t be bombastic or argue. Be a genuine encourager of truth and understanding.
- Learn the culture. Know what is viewed as normal in the Obama supporter’s everyday life. Enthusiastically accept what is neutral or positive in that culture. But calmly, courteously and firmly challenge what is untrue, harmful, anti-American, anti-capitalistic, or anti-Christian.
- Speak the language. Use the same words they do in the same way they do. That doesn’t mean to patronize them or affect phony speech patterns; just be smart. For example, it is highly offensive to many people if you merely use the President’s last name; always be respectful and say “President Obama.” Avoid political jargon, but align with words they’ve heard, only show how Romney’s positions would fulfill those objectives better. Change for change’s sake isn’t desirable; what kind of change does this country truly need? What are the best ways to move forward? How do we create more job opportunities? How best can we include instead of exclude people? Your ideas will make more sense to them and your own personality and persuasiveness will shine through.
- Keep a sweet and honest spirit. If you think previous Republican Presidencies screwed up, say so. Admit failure and acknowledge the complexity of our problems today. Don’t try to railroad ideas. Listen at least as much as you talk. Be honest, and stand your ground, but don’t be mean or phony in any way.
- Adjust to a new environment. When in Rome . . . be a Roman. Be non-controversial. Adopt local enthusiasms. Be a learner and a teacher. I should never have touched those Obama Tree ornaments; I should’ve said something to her privately instead of making a big deal out of it. Too soon old, too late smart! But you can do better than I did. If an Obama supporter thinks “rich” people need to pay more as their “fair share,” explain that small business owners look “rich” on paper but it’s mostly business income, not personal income that they can access personally. And those in higher tax brackets are already paying ‘way more than their fair share of the taxes as it is. If the person doesn’t understand the sensible reasons why employees, investors and business owners are taxed at different rates, explain it – don’t criticize them for not understanding what they haven’t experienced. Don’t try to “win” the point; seek to dialogue to understanding.
- Identify with people. Find common ground. Break down barriers. Point out shared goals. Agree on past problems that we don’t want to repeat. Make the issues personal. Point to the negative impact of socialized medicine on the elderly, the young, and the medically fragile, plus small businesses, all threatened by ObamaCare, for example; reference mutual friends and family members who would be hurt by it if it is left standing.
- Affirm others as equal to yourself in every way. Don’t ever call people “stupid” or “greedy” just because they don’t agree with you – even though President Obama’s supporters have called Romney’s supporters those names, and much worse. Instead, treat everyone with the highest respect, which everyone deserves. Woo them and win them to your way of thinking. Don’t ever ask people to do things that you won’t do yourself. Don’t just give them a link to a long video or article; view it or read it yourself, sum it up, and THEN give them the link to see for themselves. Don’t do their thinking for them, but certainly don’t ask them to do work that you haven’t already done yourself.
Bottom line: be a friend, and you’ll make a friend. Make it your mission as we lean in to the tape on Nov. 6. Hopefully, you’ll make that precious thing: another Romney voter!