Sunday, July 24, 2005

When It Rains, It Pours

This morning somebody posted more than 3,000 lines of online discussions among the Citizens for Responsible Curriculum's leadership in the comments section of one of the posts here. I deleted it for a couple of reasons [Note: it has been put back]. But I did wonder why Laura Quigley posted this:
Ellen discussed with me the benefits of having a proxy server which as I understand it would disallow the teachthefacts people from tracking me down.

Why would we want to "track her down?" They're not a little paranoid over there, are they?

A little background. The CRC, originally, set out in December to replace the Mongtomery County, Maryland, school board after the board approved a new sex-ed curricuum. They tried various things, all of which backfired on them. Letter-writing campaigns, threatening the school board, an over-the-top town-hall hatefest ... Finally in May, they filed a lawsuit and stopped the curriculum. We have seen in these captured communications that the lawsuit was set in place as early as January, with CRC plotting with their out-of-town lawyers back then.

Now, here's a taste of what was posted this morning. This is a little section where Steve Fisher tells the group how to present themselves in print. Man, it sounds so professional -- you wonder how, with all of this attention to gloss and distortion of their real message, they still come off as a bunch of nuts.
Steve's guidelines for writing
Here are some good points to keep in mind when writing anything that will be published on web or in print:
In order to be successful in our letters and emails, there are several things we have to guard against so we can more effectively make our case:

1) Being perceived as intolerant and homophobic --- this is the current first line of defense that the opposition uses to convince others that we are merely irrational and emotional because we "hate" homosexuals. Choose words instead that say more precisely that we are "concerned" or "disappointed" or some similar milder expression when describing their actions and statements. Use of such terms as "perverted" or "weird" or "unnatural" can be interpreted as homophobic in many instances.

I have to say, I was especially surprised to hear CRC members use the terms "sodomite" and "deviant" to describe gay people. Steve has overlooked these colorful phrases.
2) Being too evangelical --- the opposition has tried to paint us a bunch of extreme religious zealots. Even when our faith or beliefs are attacked or impugned, do not reply with a morally indignant tone or try to "preach" to the attackers or the target audience. Those who do not recognize sin will not appreciate the seriousness of committing that sin. You will have to stretch your mind (and your faith) to find a more secular tone and message in replying to such attacks.

3) Attacking teachers --- we need to be careful to separate the CAC recommendations for the new changes from the teachers who will have to eventually teach this course. Some of them are on our side but for obvious reasons, have to camouflage their real feelings or suffer castigation by the unions and their more liberal colleagues. Most teachers pride themselves on getting their students to put faith into their instruction. Voice your concern with the impact this course may have by stating the fact that teachers have unique and "significant" impact on young minds. This approach both compliments teachers while also stressing the reasons we need to be especially careful about what teachers are expected to teach.

Of course, the reason there was a new curriculum in the first place was that teachers asked for it. Teachers liked the new curriculum, and were eager to get it started.
4) Inform and let people decide for themselves --- one of the more infuriating techniques that the liberal left uses is to tell people what they "should" or "should not" believe independent of any sources. Before you tell someone what to do, such as sign a petition or complain or opt out, we need to let them see the facts clearly for themselves or provide verbatim, specific quotes from reliable or official sources from which they can easily see our point. You can also add a link to one of our documents on our web site or the MCPS curriculum documents itself for them to peruse. For example, if the curriculum does not actually state a specific charge or action --- such stating in black and white it is encouraging non-marital sex--- you can say that the hidden message is there because it does not specifically discourage non-marital sex. Instead you can write a statement along the lines that "a young mind could easily imply from the tone of the proposed changes to the curriculum that non-marital or recreational sex with same gender partners is normal and acceptable." This in many ways touches upon fears more concerning to parents and lends more credence to your message. It forces the defenders of the change to refute the charge, which will be difficult to do without opening themselves up to other issues and charges. In this case, that they really did not provide ample resources or guidance for teachers to ensure that a young person does not come to that conclusion.

Yes, a good idea, play upon their fears. Make the other side respond to your nonsense charges. Then they can only look stupid for getting sucked into your meaningless argument.
5) Use 2nd or 3rd person wherever possible; avoid questions where a simple statement is more to the point --- this carries more weight and is less threatening.

6) List or encourage one or two specific actions that require little extra effort for the reader to accomplish if possible --- such as going to the web site and clicking on the on-line petition, or signing up to volunteer, forwarding the message to others, or ask for a post card or similar document to formally protest or opt out of the curriculum.

Good one. Don't make it too hard. Anything harder than Simon Says, and they will lose their following.
7) Making personal attacks --- never attack anyone personally in opposition to our CRC mission or who has attacked us in a message or article. Take the higher ground and calmly provide evidence or a rebuttal in a statement or message targeted to the readers themselves, while essentially ignoring the attacker. The opposition pride themselves on their vaunted "debating skills." Let's leave them to believe in that illusion while we make our points with the real audience that matters, the general public.

Responding while angry --- NEVER fire off an email or letter while angry, no matter how aggrieved you may be or justified or correct your point might be. If you need to vent, write a draft and lea


Mmm, actually it does end like that. He should have added a point about how to end your written communication.

Well, even this little section is almost too long for a blog like this. Sometime I should post the content of Michelle Turner's March 19th Powerpoint presentation, so you can see how well they followed these guidelines. Or, easier yet, go over to their blog and see how it compares.

Look, it is possible that somebody on their side would get hold of our emails, this goes both ways. We definitely don't plan and plot like they do, but we have been known to say some things that wouldn't look very good in public. As much as possible, I will use their communications to make a point, not just to expose them as bad people. The principle here is: roaches scatter when the lights come on.

Remember what you are seeing: a small group of people trying to take over the Montgomery County school board, by pretending that they are offended by a new health curriculum. They are manipulative, secretive, and concerned more with power than truth.


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