When I began my activism for the recent elections, the Christo-Fascists had placed two propositions for constitutional amendments on the ballot. All the pollsters were predicting that Proposition 4 would win, and Proposition 8 would lose. As I wrote at the time ("California Proposition 4 and the Self-Lobotomy of the Pragmatist Left," http://borntoidentify.blogspot.com/2008/10/california-proposition-4-and-self.html - October 8:) "the left have already handed a victory on Proposition 4 to the National-Christianist mob." The pollsters were wrong. I had not yet begun to fight. Or rather I had - I had been circulating OpEds against Proposition 4 to big-city newspapers of record, the Los Angeles Times and its counterparts in San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, and got nowhere. Those papers wanted leaders of organizations, and one thing that I did not commit resources for was to set up official organizations. Such organizations can make a significant difference, and I admire the organizational infrastructure that Diana and Paul Hsieh and Ari Armstrong created in Colorado. But this would have had to be a long-term effort that, in my personal context at the time, was not a realistic option.
So I went on to send my OpEds to county and local papers, and soon after my pessimistic blog post (above) my OpEds began to get published. The papers where my OpEds saw print included the Orange County Register, the largest such newspaper in California. I estimate that my OpEds reached about a million voters. Proposition 4 lost with 223,088 votes from the half-way mark. I consider it likely that my OpEds contributed to that result.
My OpEds were adapted to the context of each paper, but they had 3 things that I always made sure of:
1. A reference to Ayn Rand near the start, for example: 'Proposition 4 is the latest in a decades-long series of attempts to obliterate what the American novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand called "the right of young people to set the course of their own lives."'
2. A concluding paragraph starting with a sentence grounded in Objectivist principles - for example, "Existing California law protects the young woman's right to set the course of her life by the judgment of her own mind."
3. Like all totalitarian appeals in still-individualist America, Proposition 4 used a wedge strategy on a wedge issue. I exposed the deception, and wrote the OpEd so that it could not be refuted without exposing the real agenda of Propsition 4. (I plan to write an article about wedge strategies and wedge issues shortly. It is needed because effective Objectivist activism requires being able to recognize this strategy and counteract it.)
My OpEds had two other effects. First, the official opposition, "Campaign for Teen Safety," had been running ads that reinforced the stereotype of young people as mindless risk-takers, thus feeding into the wedge strategy. After my OpEd in the Orange County Register, they re-focused on the deceptions in the proposition. My long affiliations with Planned Parenthood, and with the American Civil Liberties Union, may have helped give my approach a level of credibility and influence that I would not have had otherwise.
Second, several credible professional groups started taking off on specific instances of deception that I identified in my OpEd: lawyers about how difficult the phony "judicial bypass" actually was, health professionals about how even a family history of post-partum depression and suicide would not be enough for a medical exception, and so on. The same points started appearing in LTEs, in newspaper editorials against Proposition 4, and in television interviews with random members of the public. Still, the eventual defeat of Proposition 4 came as a pleasant surprise.
In the other case, opponents of Proposition 8, the second Christo-Fascist warhorse, managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. There was no effective Objectivist activism on the issue until an ARI/ARC release on October 30, too late to make a difference. The official GBLT leftists' campaign, and the behavior of many GLBT opponents of Proposition 8, fed right into the Christo-Fascists' wedge strategy. Worse, the left's positioning of the issue as a matter of collective "social justice" (where have we heard this before?) to an oppressed minority resulted in a near-war of competitive victimism between the "leaderships" of the GLBT "community" and of many African-American churches, with predictable results.
Compare and contrast.