Monday, July 05, 2010

What I learned at the Defending the American Dream summit

This weekend I had the chance to attend the Texas Defending the American Dream summit, which was held here in Austin.  While my usual modus operandi is to sit anonymously behind a computer, this was a chance to get to meet a lot of kindred minds, and to learn that, despite all appearances, there are quite a few conservatives online in the Austin and central Texas area.

And what is the Defending the American Dream summit, you might ask?  This was an event of grassroots participants from across the state who are dedicated to lower taxes and limited government, two things which are in short supply these days at any level of government.  (You can see the webpage for the event here, along with the agenda of speakers.)  It was spearheaded by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, about which you can read more here, or you can see the Texas Chapter's page here.

Being, as I am, a blogger of limited influence (at this point, the author takes a moment to say hello to his most faithful reader, his father), I knew that there would be people who are much more effective at defining the discussion (to avoid being defined by others who are all too happy to do it for our side), and I really was looking forward to hearing what they had to say.

So with that said, here are some of the main ideas I learned from the summit:

  • Make lists.  Apparently search engines really like lists.  Like, say, this one.
  • Define yourself first (as mentioned above), so that you can control your message.  It's a lot harder to spread the message that government is getting its hands into too many things with which it has no business interfering when you're stuck on the defensive, in the position of having to prove you're not a racist who hates the president.  Because I don't know about you, but that's not who I am.  (Aside:  I don't hate anyone.  But some people sure do tick me off.)
  • If you are to have some influence in the online political world, you have to have an active social network, and you have to share the love.
  • What happens on Facebook/Youtube stays there.  (In my own experience, this is also true for blogging...that's why I still regularly get hits from people because of a rather crude and probably un-Christian remark I made about a certain starlet three years ago.)
  • Run Google alerts on your name.  In doing this for myself, I discovered that despite the relative obscurity of my real name, there are at least two people with my name more famous than I am (at least, two people dominated page one of the results).  That's probably good.
I also learned some specifics about doing more checking up on various government entities, which I'd love to put into practice at some point.

All of the speakers at the event who I saw (check out a list of the speakers) were quite good.  They were quite dynamic, and they all spoke well about their particular topics.

And don't get the idea that the entire event was simply a rah-rah event for Republicans.  The Republican Party was taken to task as well for abandoning its own principles during the last years of Republican control over the Congress (you may have noticed, for example, that the Republicans were pretty good at running up debt and handing out pork left and right too).  What the event was, at least to me, was a call to action, a call to stand for what I (and most, if not all, of the other attendees) believe.

Oh, and if I haven't said so already, many thanks to the AFP Foundation for hosting this.  It was quite an enjoyable experience.


Anonymous said...

I'm one of those people you hear about who has never been politically active. I'm 52, so that takes in a few years. I learned a lot at the summit, as did my son, whom I suppose is really the target age group for the new Conservative movement. My contribution to the future, as it were. ;-P

Now where do I get one of those flip cameras...?

Fishie said...

It was a pretty good conference. It was interesting that Republicans were taken to task and yet Perry was given a standing ovation. I sense a lot of that dichotomy, that disconnectedness, that inability to make the connections between what we know Republicans do wrong, and then worshiping some of them in spite of it.