EdgeWise 25.2.2004


IRV Talk Saga Summary

The talk went Amazingly well! No protesters showed up so there probably won't be a second article in the paper (no drama). A talk like this normally gets between 20-40 people. We had about 50 people turn out despite a night with bad weather, while all the University students were off on spring break, for a rescheduled talk that didn't make it into the local event publications. The very actions of those who opposed the talk resulted in an increased turnout, by causing the publication of the article on the front page of the B section of the Ann Arbor News.

As a special bonus, the article also unfavorably publicized the extremity of those that believe that abortion is of such importance that no other issues should be considered, and that any action in opposition to abortion is justified. There's a meeting of local Catholic clergy next week to talk about this experience. Hopefully, the Catholic clergy and lay community have begun a conversation about tolerance of dissent from official positions and appropriate limits of advocacy. About 50 percent of American Catholics are Pro-choice (according to Gallup/CNN/USA Today Poll, April 30-May 2, 1999), and the view that pro-choice Catholics should be harassed or excommunicated is not a popular one.

Still no luck getting Tom Monahan's radio station to cough up tapes or transcripts of what was miscommunicated, but I'm still trying. Regardless, the talk wasn't about abortion or media ownership, and it's message about voting reforms like Instant Runoff Voting was able to be well communicated.

As for me personally, although no specific, credible threats were made, the person who I was most worried about posing a real danger is quoted in the article, and is aware that if anything happened to me, he would be the primary suspect, and I gather he has a prior record of similar behavior. I have distributed to friends and family on CDs copies of all the nasty and threatening emails anyone sent me so that those who wrote them would also be suspects if anything happened. However, I feel that any real threat has disipated after the press shined a light on what was going on. I certainly stopped getting any more nasty or threatening email. I feel like I've helped preclude future violence or intimidation directed at others. The funny thing about one person making a difference, is that when you stand up, you find you're not standing alone.

I'm going to master de-escalation techniques, Nonviolent Communication, public speaking skills, and media relations so I can support the next person to stand up as I was supported, even as I continue to stand up. Bloggy thanks to Orincus, Goodspeed Update, Mouse Musings, as well as other ArborBlogs I'm probably forgetting.
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February 2004
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