Government & Politics | October 23, 2004
Exchange with a Democratic Activist
Heading down the
stretch of the Presidential election, the poll numbers were
turning against us (temporarily); and some activists shared their
frustrations with me. I aired their complaints as well as my own
among a select group of other activists, which prompted a
Democratic leader to tell us to not be demoralized and to take our
frustrations out on the other side. I thanked him for his
leadership but had to ask the following...
for future reference, what would be the best way to deal with a
bunch of negative feedback? I mean, these are influential
people, to whom I can't just say, "Buck up, and be
positive!" I can tell from the fact that they're
coming forward to me, that they're looking for an understanding
ear -- I have to at first say, truthfully, that I understand
their complaints; but they're not the type who will just
respond to "cheerleading". They've become cynical;
idealism (like all the stock slogans) just won't work -- it just
makes them all the more depressed.
had to deal with people like this all my life. There was a
series of articles in the Times several years back about
the connection between "creativity" -- including
political leadership -- and what they called at the time
"manic depression" ("bipolar disorder" is,
of course, the new term). Great leaders, like Lincoln,
often swing between periods of manic, positive action and times
of passive depression. It's been my experience that you have to
first sincerely relate to them, then creatively goad or
challenge them "back into the fray".
would sincerely value your advice in how to motivate the
"de-motivated", depressed activist. They're a
wonderfully valuable human resource, but they're an often ornery
guess that's why we Democrats are "donkeys".
I remember how you're supposed to get the attention
of a "donkey": You hit him over the head with a...two-by-four!
Isn't that how that old chestnut goes?
long as everybody is "all riled up" (and no longer
sad sacks, cryin' into their whatever), my work here is
The Thing used to say in the "Fantastic Four"
(soon to be a major motion picture), "IT'S CLOBBERIN'
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