Removing a bumper sticker is not like taking off a band-aid; if you try to pull it off in one fell swoop, you’ll rip the paint off your car. The slow process of opening one’s mind to liberty works the same way.
For a moment, imagine how it might feel if you were an Obama supporter. You honestly believed that Obama was going to bring about positive change in this country. You prophesied to all your friends about ‘hope’ and spent countless hours trying to recruit others to your cause. You even put an Obama bumper sticker on your car.
Unfortunately, when Obama took office he didn’t keep all of his promises. You find yourself making excuses for why he hasn’t brought the troops home. You explain that it’s not politically popular for Obama to talk about ending the drug war. You’ve forgotten how horrible it was when the Republicans were in charge.
Being an Obama supporter is not an easy position to be in. A lot of these people are starting to feel betrayed by the very person they have been actively supporting and defending. They are starting to realize that the bumper sticker on their car is slowly starting to stand for war, loss of liberty, and broken promises.
I think it’s important to understand how difficult it can be to let go of past convictions. When someone has sunk so much time into a cause, it’s not unusual for him or her to hold on until the bitter end.
If you use inaccurate or divisive rhetoric, you may ensure that people will not give up on Obama. Standing on a soapbox and yelling “Obama is a Marxist and hates America” does not make the Libertarian Party look like an attractive alternative to the two-party system. That kind of rhetoric is a fantastic way to ensure that we are marginalized and grouped in with big-government Republicans.
Instead of mud slinging and name-calling, we must focus on our own ideas. Libertarianism is a rich and intelligent philosophy. By stressing issues like ending the drug war, bringing our troops home, and expanding individual liberty, we can make one’s transition away from Obama less painful. We need to find our common ground with Obama supporters who are on the verge of letting go of their lost cause.
By remaining principled libertarians and not giving into partisan rhetoric and hyperbole, we can help people begin the slow process of peeling the Obama sticker off their car and replacing it with one of our own.