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Dan Berrigan S.J. speaks to
the press at Zuccotti Park
as part of Occupy Wall Street.
A long time ago I had a business partner who taught me some tactics that I see being used most effectively by the Republican Party. One is always go on the offensive and keep the other party on the defensive. For example, the Republican Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates are vulnerable for their position on eventually eliminating Medicare as we know it. So what they do? They attack the Democratic presidential candidate as being against Medicare. The best defense is offense.
Another tactic taught me by my business partner is that if you say something over and over again some will believe it is true. For years the Republicans have been saying the best way to create jobs is to cut taxes for the rich, the job creators. It has not worked the last thirty years but people believe it and the tax for rich have significantly dropped without job creation.
Another tactic is to define the issue the way you want. For example the Republicans and insurance companies supported mandatory insurance for all but now that it is in the health bill that was passed and ruled constitutional they say how bad mandatory insurance is and want the whole health bill eliminated. The President allowed insurance companies to write most of the health insurance bill and Wall Street brokers to write the financial regulation bill. Now that both bills have been passed and enacted in law they both parties are against the respective bills they encouraged and wrote.
I do not think the Democrats are stupid and do not know the rules of the battle in politics. They play politics by similar rules and have their own set of tactics. Both parties are regulated by financial interest and ‘play fight’ each other to keep us distracted from the real issue: the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer while the middle class fights each other. Divide and conquer is one tactic both parties know and use.
Where are our tactics in the nonviolent peace and justice movement? We use the same old ones protest, vote, talk, complain and compete with each other. We need new tactics!
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