The Rally Cap

So this conversation happened in my Twitter feed today, initiated by a tea party leader:

TPL: “Is someone planning an anti-Obama rally at the state capitol on Inauguration Day?”

ME: “Good God, I hope not.”

TPL: “While I understand your sentiment, average Const and gun loving Americans feel different.”

ME: “Who cares about feelings? What is SMART?”


I admit I could have been less flippant.  Some people are still captivated by this notion: that the answer to every overreaching act of this administration is to hold a rally.  Obamacare passes?  WE MUST HOLD A RALLY!  Obamacare is upheld by the Supreme Court?  WE MUST HOLD A RALLY!  Obama is reelected?  WE MUST HOLD A RALLY!

I’m proposing a rally cap, because I’ve reached my limit.

What do rallies accomplish in the main, besides a little group therapy perhaps?  I argue that they accomplish very little:

  • They preach to the choir, the people who already agree with us.
  • They suck resources away from pursuing other goals, such as winning elections.
  • They require massive amounts of planning and achieve very little follow-up action.
  • They are easily spun negatively in the media.

There are other reasons, but those are my main objections.  I have spent hundreds of hours attending meetings, creating training materials, hosting and conducting trainings, working on campaigns and elections.  Sure, there are plenty of people wearing a tea party label who have done much more than I have; but I bet if you ask these people – the people who get things done – whether they are on the rally-go-round, they will likely tell you that they’re far too busy to worry about rallies.

And that’s the thing: rallies appeal to people who want to feel as though they’ve accomplished something by showing up somewhere and waving a sign or a flag.  Of all the rallies I’ve attended or organized, very few had a huge follow-up response.  If we prepared precinct-level materials to help people get organized in their neighborhoods, few people took them.  If we invited rally-goers to a follow-up training, attendance was still low.  Flashy or high-budget speakers brought people out, but they stayed home in droves from meetings on how to get involved in city council or school board issues.  There’s a lot of interest in doing something superficial, but very little interest in rolling up sleeves and getting to work in the trenches.

So maybe I’ve lost patience with people, or maybe I’m just finding other ways to engage in the fight for liberty.  Whatever it is, I am rallied out.