Win the person not the argument is a very old adage on how to conduct political affairs. It may take the form of win hearts and minds or some other similar language. That was a major prong in the Vietnam war strategy. Republicans are the minority in Harris County. We know this, but don’t adapt to our minority status. The ongoing race riots show we are stuck in the past and do not accept present political reality. The response to the ongoing race riots plays right into the hands of the violent extremists and allows the democrats to continue to win the person.
It’s easy to be critical of the race riots. For that matter it’s easy to be critical of Acevedo’s actions in the riots. Not only was he seen marching with the rioters, but when Ashton Woods was videoed attacking someone in the crowd he was not arrested and charged with assault or disorderly conduct. We, as a civilized society have every reason to call of Acevedo’s resignation. We have reason to demand Woods arrest, booking, release and trial that would happen if you and I acted similarly. However, that wins the argument and not the person.
It is to many of our minds wrongly, but Acevedo and Woods are seen as heroes among many in the county. Simply winning the argument is not going to move the needle in our direction as it reinforces the prejudice/racist/whatever built in excuse that black lives matter and their supporters have to excuse their behavior. This is a known problem – my first post here on Big Jolly was asking what’s the plan for civil unrest.
It appears the local elected official’s plan is largely to turn a blind eye to the lawlessness. That’s a politically astute plan as it leaves them open to losing the argument and continue to win the person. By accepting the invitation to criticize the lack of meaningful response to the riots republicans simply reinforce the preconceived notions of racism thereby continuing to lose the person. Winning the argument is what the democrats want us to do – it makes them heroes in the eyes of a significant portion of the population. Winning the argument doesn’t turn enough of the center-left voters away from the democrats to be worth the harm inflicted.
Winning the person means changing tactics. Winning the person means not pouncing on the red meat available. It’s bait. To win the person, republicans have to look beyond the win the day argumentation and return to our values aware of the realities of the current political climate. The electorate in general is not fiscally conservative. Although Houston’s finances are a mess the passage of the pension bond, flood bond, and firefighter’s proposition show that the electorate doesn’t accept a fiscally conservative message. Winning that argument doesn’t win the person; worse, it may backfire and get the spending cap removed in an election.
Winning the person means going back to social conservative and personal responsibility messaging. Just as the electorate isn’t open to a fiscal conservative message the electorate is open to a social conservative message. The bathroom proposition went our way. Crime is so out of control with activist judges that a tough on crime message would resonate. Helping others and cracking down on crime will change hearts and minds, and that in turn, makes it easier to indirectly attack the privilege the race warriors enjoy.
Calling for Ashton Woods to be held accountable for his actions in this environment is a losing argument. We have a weak district attorney who would possibly not accept charges. We have activist judges who would go out of their way to help him. We have a political environment against accountability. That underlying culture needs to be combated first. Only then, when we have judges who care about public safety and a district attorney who actually prosecutes crime, can we seek accountability for the protected troublemakers.
There’s a difference between fighting and winning. Right now we are too willing fight to our own determent. It doesn’t matter if we win the argument; we will lose the person. This must change before the blue tide is stemmed. Things will continue to get worse if we don’t accept our minority status and change tactics to reflect this new reality.