Like Tommy De Seno, The Logo finds himself in a lot of political skirmishes with those on the Pretty Far Left. They often take this form:
Young woman with clipboard, wearing Greenpeace t-shirt and standing outside Apple Store (Activist): Hello, sir. Do you have a few minutes for the environment?
The Logo: Sorry, I don't think I'm a good target for you.
Activist: Oh! That's too bad. May I ask why?
Logo: Well, I disagree with a lot of your positions.
Activist: Which ones in particular?
Logo: You don't support nuclear power, unless I've missed something. And weren't you involved in that plastic shopping bag ban?
Activist: Plastic bags consume huge amounts of oil, and they make up a big part of the giant trash whirlpool off Hawaii.
Logo: I thought it was something about killing seabirds.
Activist: That's right. Seals think they're jellyfish, and seabirds get tangled in them.
Logo: But I think the numbers Greenpeace used were based on false information.
Activist: Like what?
Logo: I'm not sure... I read it somewhere.
Activist: Well, it's hard to ignore that giant garbage dump in the middle of the ocean. Can I sign you up for a donation?
Logo: No, I'm pretty sure that there's some misinformation going on with that, and you'd have to change your views on nuclear power... [slinks away, muttering to self.]
That's how these things often go. She's armed with talking points, and I'm unprepared to really challenge her. What I'd have liked to have said was more like this:
Activist: Which ones in particular?
Logo (consulting iPhone): Your support of pacifism and your opposition to nuclear power, for starters. And you've been spreading disinformation to further your political goals.
Logo: On your website's page about plastic bags, you state that "up to 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and turtles die each year as a result of plastic debris."
Activist: That's right.
Logo: Those numbers are based on a 1987 Canadian study that estimated that 100,000 marine mammals are killed each year by discarded fishing nets. In 2002, an Australian report misstated this as plastic bags, an error that was corrected in 2006. Why's Greenpeace still passing along this bad data, and basing legislation on it?
Activist: I don't know. What's your source?
Logo: The Times of London, March 8, 2008. Would you like to see the URL?
Activist: No, that's OK.
Logo: And then there's the matter of Greenpeace's co-founder, Patrick Moore. He wrote that he quit the organization because "Greenpeace has evolved into an organization of extremism and politically motivated agendas." This was in the Wall Street Journal in 2008. Do you want the URL to that?
Activist: Not really. Look, I need to be moving on. Have a nice day.
Logo: You too!
The Logo recognizes that we're not going to convert the Greenpeace activist (as Franco notes below, there are fundamental differences at work here), but we should want to plant a seed of self-doubt. And more important, we need to be persuasive to relatively apolitical observers: the mom waiting at the crosswalk near the exchange above; the relatives at the family barbecue overhearing an exchange between you and your left-wing uncle; the neighbor who asks your honest opinion about global warming.
What this requires is a concise, compelling and credible encapsulation of our political positions. In other words, an elevator pitch. Each encapsulation should be accessible from a handheld, and it should leverage the power of a community for its creation and maintenance.
You probably see where we're going with this.
Deferring further elaboration to future posts, it makes sense to start with some pilot efforts. We can work on them together, figure out the most effective format, and use the results as templates for what we hope will be a wide range of positions (some positions will be at odds, because conservatives don't hold uniform views -- that's OK).
But first: what are some arguments you'd like to win?