Friday, October 22, 2010

Anger and Ignorance 

There are commentators who say that much of the Tea Party's anger is built on ignorance -- a failure to understand Democracy and the way things are. That may be true, but it also may not matter. If voters cast ballots out of frustration, politicians will suffer whether they are at fault or not.

This raises an interesting question for PR practitioners. What is that we should be doing when dealing with a hostile public?

Assuaging anger is a good first step but it is not necessarily a feasible one. No politician today can turn around the economy. The Senate, the House, the White House, state legislatures, counties, cities, towns and suburbs all face the same debt hangover and lack of production. It will take time to alleviate them but voters are unwilling to give politicians the time.

Many elected officials and first-time candidates are running against Washington -- their cry, "I'm not one of them." (It is interesting how a Congressman can say that he is not one of them.) That is a poor solution. Washington is symptomatic but not the problem. Indeed, the Federal government should be downsized and many regulations deferred or cut back, but on the other hand what parts should be downsized and what regulations repealed? There is the nub of the problem. No one quite knows nor will cuts and lack of regulation necessarily stimulate an economy.

From a PR perspective it appears to be a no-win situation. Slogans don't put people back to work. Turns of phrase don't get companies to invest. What is needed is fundamental reform, whatever that is, but it is hard to understand where to begin. There are too many competing interests and too many pressures on Congress for much action in any direction.  So, perhaps in their simplistic way the angry and ignorant have more leverage than we might think.  They might force action that otherwise wouldn't happen.  One hopes, however, that they pick the right direction.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?