Pop Quiz - Fight Harder or Smarter?

    I was at a pub quiz last night, answering questions with an impromptu team sitting around a table.

    At one point, there was a question about which of 3 early 60's events happened first. I quickly gave an answer that I was pretty sure was correct, and gave me reasons for it. But over the course of the next couple of minutes, my teammates talked me out of it and chose another.

    When we scored the paper a couple minutes later, my answer would have been right. One of the guys who was largely leading the group looked at me and said, "But you didn't fight for your answer hard enough".

    Then there were answers I was dead wrong about, but either no one else had a clue either, or my certainty won them over. And then the best - when I was certain plus I was right.

    There's a lot of talk about change in the party, which may or may not be good - we have to look inside our souls and brains and look outside and all around to tell what we know, what we don't, and where we're pushy enough or need to do more.

    But one thing's pretty sure - we didn't as a group, a party, of somewhat shared viewpoints - fight hard enough. We can argue about the merits of various ideas, policy positions, strategies, etc - over and over. But as a team, and as key individuals, we didn't fight hard enough.

    Caligula got a horse elected to the Senate - obviously not "right" - but he won. He knew how to fight, how to get his way.

    Jesse Jackson ran for president twice, doing better the 2nd but still losing - except he changed the face and the feeling and the strategy of the party - the introduction of the rainbow inclusive multi-constituent party.

    As I keep going back over the election, I can't find the silver bullet - sure, there were mistakes, some bigger than others, but against the backdrop of what was going on, what the other side was saying, what the logic, the message, the principles, the presentation - there's nothing there.

    It's right up there with, "what could we have done to get Merrick Garland reviewed for the Supreme Court" - nothing and everything.

    We got beat by a pair of deuces, a bunch of bluff, a couple palmed face cards, a rigged deck, compromised refs, and a whole lot of smoke and distraction. We went in thinking we could win. They went in looking for a knife fight, a gun fight  if needed, a riot if required. In short, we were playing 2 different games, and we were also playing too nice.

    Some Democrat told Kellyanne Conway "well, I wouldn't want to win like that". Sorry, wrong answer - in 2017, win it anyway, and sort it out later. If you/we need to win by overwhelming ethical models, then better prepare to win by 30% and expect it'll get whittled down to 2 if lucky. But we're always shooting for 2%, 5%. They assume a majority - we assume an alliance of minorities.

    We've boxed ourselves in - we try to be transparent, prepared, pragmatic, helpful, inclusive, all-encompassing, detailed. They call us pussies, pansies, traitors, criminals, It's like jocks vs nerds, and we're competing for prom king by trying to get better grades. No one gives a shit, or barely. We think about convincing a few of them. They think about destroying *all* of us. They're dreaming of Sherman through Georgia, while we're looking at the edging around the lawn and making adjustments.

    A boss used to quote an ex-worker who said, "I only got 2 questions - who do I see to quit, and how do you spell motherfucker?" In our case, it's "who do we need to convince, and how the fuck do convince them". Screw the detailed plans, the acceptance speech, the 3x5 note cards, Roberts Rulebook of Order., the "when they go low we go high" stuff. They're throwing punches - we better throw something back, or better, throw first and harder. Grin & bear it ain't working.

    Oh, did I mention? The table next to ours at the pubquiz regularly cheats anyway - so it didn't matter if I was right or wrong - they would have beat us over the course of the contest, picking up a point or two here or there, one way or the other. Should I kick myself, or kick them? Doesn't seem like a hard choice when it's heads we lose, tails they win. Fight harder, or get used to losing. If you know another way, let me know.


    I really like this.  I don't have much to add, except that there is an "INDIVISIBLE" meeting tomorrow in Charlottesville and I am planning to go.  I hope my son will go with me.  If anything of interest happens I will write about it.  

    I like this piece as well.  One thing I've found hard to articulate but that I think is relevant is that being "right" in terms of facts is not serving us very well.  Victory by consensus is what matters and, in our system, it doesn't even have to be a national consensus since the preferences of those in sparsely populated states and rural areas are given special treatment.  You can be right on all points about how national budgets work, how the economy functions, how diplomacy is best pursued and what the environment will or won't tolerate and it doesn't matter at all if you can't win the crucial consensus.  We're not fighting hard enough.  It's not enough to say that if we're right on the facts that people will come along with us sooner or later.

    Latest Comments