I have followed with interest the articles concerning the lobbying tactics of the NRA and the objections of a number of the readers (Letters to the Editor, Feb. 25). I believe the point of highlighting the NRA was to demonstrate how a grass roots organization, faced with political opposition and government controls, has developed into an effective lobby for its constituency. All in all, an interesting discussion.
But surely we are comparing apples and oranges here. The NRA represents a “fringe” group of citizens who are exercising their rights to own and use a legally produced and purchased product, whereas the GA community is a “mainstream” group of citizens that is exercising its privilege to own and use a legally produced and purchased product. The GA community dismisses the lessons of an organization that fights successfully what it sees as “ridiculous” government intervention at its own peril.
Regardless of your political leanings, if one is attempting to sway public opinion, a study of the tactics used by Michael Moore or Rush Limbaugh would be worth reviewing. Both men certainly have the ability to steel the party faithful and possibly sway a few fence sitters. A less effective tactic, but one that has been tried, would be to wear a sandwich board and stand on the Capitol steps screaming that Congress is being taken over by Martians (although, I have pictures if anyone is interested). Adopting the methods used by effective lobbying groups, whether you agree with their platform or not, is preferable to that of ineffective groups. I am reminded of a quote by Mark Twain: “Let your sympathies and your compassion be always with the underdog in the fight…this is magnanimity; but bet on the other one…this is business.”
When it comes to government intrusions on personal liberty, remain focused on being the victor, win first, argue amongst ourselves later, lest Martin Niemoller’s words ring true: “When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”