Originally Posted by tdogg
is doing door-to-door canvassing in the state. They placed a field office in Sacramento with two full time employees and volunteer interns. You would be surprised at how few actually show up. Last night we met to write letters to elected officials and reps about the Uganda issue - maybe over an hour and a half about 12 people showed up. This is consistently how it happens. After the huge Nov 22, 2008 rally here in Sac, the numbers are dropping off.
I believe for two reasons: first, a majority of GLBT and supposed allies will not give up personal plans to help out, and second, there are so many efforts and organizations, we tend to spread ourselves thin. There is only so much a person working full time with a house and family can do. The latter tends to get me often. So much to do, so little time. It would be nice if more people pitched in, but if we go back in history, it seems that most of the time civil rights are fought for a large population by a small number of activists.
What do you think Rick? You've been involved for a long time, does this ring true or maybe I have it wrong? It gets frustrating for me, but I try not to judge and just duck my head down and keep on truckin' where I can.
All the points you've made about why sometimes small numbers of people show up to volunteer for action seems true. Back in the seventies when I was living in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Committee for Gay Rights would have monthly meetings and most of the time only a dozen or so people would attend.
Then, in the summer of 1979, a gay man was brutality murdered in a Minneapolis park and within just a couple of hours over 1,000 people came together for a march and vigil.
High emotion is what gets most people moving and active. Example: anger, fear, sympathy, or elation. If the emotion isn't there, neither is the turn-out.
That's why Rush Limbaugh has been so successful for so many years. He keeps his audience all stirred up and angry. If somebody at one of the door-knocking organizing meetings could get in front of a podium and get the people stirred up like Rush does then I bet your next meeting would be better attended.
But unfortunately, that's not how most of these organizing meetings go. They usually begin with someone walking to the front of the room and pleasantly saying, "Excuse me folks, but can everyone please take a seat so that we can get the meeting started? We only have the room reserved for an hour. My name is Mary Smith and I'm going to be passing out some information on some things I think we need to discuss tonight and then later if we have time I'll ask for input from the group. But first I want to go around the room and have everybody introduce themselves and say a little bit about why they're here and what they want to accomplish ........."
Seriously. Who wants to miss American Idol
? Not me.
Now imagine if someone at a door-knocking organizing meeting marched to the front of the room, stood on a chair and shouted, "How much longer are we going to be treated like second class citizens? How much longer are we going to allow others to tell us how we should live our lives? How much longer are we going to sit back and listen to all the lies and bigotry and hate talk that brings so much violence against us and forces our friends and loved ones to lie about who they are? How much longer are we going to wait for our freedom and equality that is guaranteed by the constitution and Declaration of Independence? I'm not waiting any longer! I'm taking my freedom now!"
And with that, everyone in the room rises to their feet and shouts, "FREEDOM NOW! FREEDOM NOW! FREEDOM NOW!"
Maybe at the next meeting somebody needs to stand on a chair.