Public Libraries, the Patron Institute of the Modern Whig Party?

As our party’s ranks continue to swell evermore with the passing days, I evermore grow wary of how to continue this growth as well as lay the infrastructure to channel and organize this augmentation. Now more than ever, we must court those like us, the disenchanted, disenfranchised, and the enlightened in a manner that lies within our capacity. Our website (bless its digital soul), cannot quite be the model for en masse recruiting nor the best for communication. Facebook and other social media sites share limitations as well despite being important to any grassroots movement these days. It will take more than thumbs-upping, “pound-keying”, and trending our way to the forefront of the political scene and recruit new members. Therefore, I hold great conviction that our way to expand would be to resort to hand-over-fist tactics; propaganda and personal interaction. Now to how public libraries can contribute to the Modern Whig Party. First, a library can serve as a virtuous symbol for the party. We no longer can gather in the Owl Club of old. However, we still honor the Owl as our patron symbol, and what better to reflect its characteristic of wisdom than to utilize library in such a manner. Today, one cannot separate the idea of owls portrayed in various fictional writings from the stereotype of being eclectic and erudite, and that can also be translated with a library setting. Second, I find it reflective of many Whig principles. For example, reading in solitude, whether it be a book, a newspaper article, or a magazine, nurtures an ability to learn as well as question ideas rather than be insidiously spoon-fed ideological and “dogmatic talking points”; an atmosphere of allowance for critical thinking. Another would be the urging of self-initiation to learn English. While I reside in a predominantly white suburban town, our highly praised school system does attract diverse minority groups. Arabs, Indians, Chinese, Pakistanis, Koreans, etc. can be seen with their kids checking out children books, movies, etc. While overhearing any short verbal exchange indicate the adults do not speak English as their first language, the library provides mediums to encourage assimilation and assures the next generation will achieve proficiency in English and American culture that effaces any disparity from any other American. Third reason poses a deeper look into the embodiment of the Whig Party. Returning to the current political nature of the country, the [political] right demands government must be eradicated on what at times can be described as hackneyed, scorched-earth tactic while the [political] left feels compelled to engage constantly with circuitous if not grandiose government-fueled solutions. I find that the library as the halfway house of such policies in which good can come from common sense service to the people. A government institution that provides a direct and meaningful service in expensing knowledge of the world, literature, thoughts, community outreach, and the arts to every citizen in search of these precious things on a fundamental level. This fundamental plane that a local library exist on should be advantageous for the Modern Whig Party. As a grassroots movement, the local library becomes the ideal platform to germinate our reputation, and even serve as a gathering point. Here’s where the propaganda serves its purpose. Granted, I am aware of the negative connotation of it; but I will not sugarcoat what an advertising campaign of the political persuasion entails. With such immense dissatisfaction from the American people this election cycle, we cannot tarry too long in capitalizing on the restlessness of the populace. Social media will be essential to our growth; however, one cannot underestimate the ability of physical presentation through flyers, political cartoons, and even newspaper editorial columns. People possess a rightful skepticism on the internet or even dismiss it without a second thought. Yet a combination of the two, a physical component to better pique one’s interest by being something tangible and constantly present as well as a digital component to be readily available for further exploration and interaction, should prove to be instruments of compatible and effective design. From there, we can further include them into our movement in a more intimate fashion. Libraries do not mind to in displaying flyers and whatnot for promotional reasons. Quite a few also provide conference rooms for meetings and clubs. Granted, I must imagine that there may be a process for booking one, or we could just gather without one if that becomes the preference (but you will need to keep your voices down). One should not underestimate the privilege of engaging with other people in the flesh and discuss ideas important to our communities, our states, our country, and beyond. To illuminate the need of seeing each other as equally human in an ever partisan society thanks to platforms encouraging faceless fiends to fan the flames and revel in baseless company. From there, we can better organize ourselves with solidarity for campaigns and issues, such as approval voting. Anyhow, this comes as a passing thought from me. I will broach the idea to others at the convention next week. Unlike many people today who dismiss the library as a diminishing institution in the age of the internet, many like myself still bask in the solitude and service it provides in making a better citizen and person; ever learning, ever exploring.

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  • Modern Whig West Region
    commented 2016-07-28 00:59:08 -0400
    It’s not a matter of failing to utilize the medium, James. It is, like blogging, foruming, Facebooking, etc., a question of available resources vs. applied resources. Along with everything else we do, most or all of us can do Facebook videos. But they would turn out as you’d expect, as you described, and we understandably want and need better.

    Nationwide, and maybe even within CA and a few other states alone, I doubt there is one applicable profession we don’t have stashed somewhere within our ranks of contacts. The trick is getting these people from interested observer to active participant; available resources vs. applied resources.

    There are several people within California with some badly-needed expertise, including videographers, who want nothing to do with working with the state party. (I had one tell me he was looking for “national exposure.”) But when the national party put out similar calls for help these contacts couldn’t jump fast enough, resumes in hand.

    So there is obviously a motivation there that isn’t about advancement of the party, and maybe someone recognized that and that is why it hasn’t seemed to have materialized. Or maybe so many people jumped at the national level’s call that they were swamped. There is also the issue of using personal or company supplies and equipment, which the party is probably not prepared to pay for as an all-volunteer organization (my personal guess). The commitments of time and resources to do a professional-grade promotional video are obviously considerably higher than writing an opinion piece. Or maybe the incentives for these people just weren’t good enough. Who knows.

    On the flip-side, we (CA) do have a couple of professionals who have offered their applicable abilities to the state party. We’re hoping the fruits of those offers will be coming soon. We also had one who offered his talents but just didn’t have access to the equipment, so he took up an offer to help elsewhere.

    For the others, at least in California, it’s not for lack of trying.
  • jules rensch
    commented 2016-07-27 14:14:05 -0400
    Great ideas…thank you James Lucky.

    In exploring all avenues for promotion … we found MeetUp to be a great source of helpful info.
    It worked wonders with our Libertarian Group and also some Spiritual groups , as well.
    Generally, we selected a certain day of the month…posted the meeting on MeetUp.
    Our groups met at Starbucks, a completely safe and quite non-threatening environment.
    Good conversation, good coffee. Perfect!
    We began with 3 members and ended with close to 100.
    Venues can be changed…we even had some at the local park (weather permitting!

    as ever, Observer Jules
  • No Longer a Member
    commented 2016-07-27 13:11:24 -0400
    Great idea! Of course where libraries do not have conference rooms available and groups grow beyond the capacity of low-volume discussions a Barnes and Noble or something similar could suffice and I’m sure they would appreciate the added exposure (and likely business).

    I would add though that there is one rather fundamental medium that the Modern Whigs have so far failed to utilize – Youtube/video. Look for yourselves but what is available is scant, old, and uninspiring. It appears that while we have a number of possible editorialists we are lacking videographers, something needed to reach younger audiences.

    People aren’t typically scrolling Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. because they are looking for thought provoking material. No, they want to be entertained. Asking them to watch a 2 min video on Youtube, or reading 10 words on a meme is more likely to be granted then expecting them to read article after article. They’ll get to those once we have their attention.

    I’m a perfect example, about a week ago I saw an owl silhouette styled like the other political logo; that caught my interest and then I started reading to satisfy my curiosity.
  • Brandon Zicha
    commented 2016-07-14 08:29:27 -0400
    You know, I like the online medium (and due to my current address overseas I more or less must use that medium) but I think this is a stupendous idea. I agree with every word in spirit and in action. I also really liked your post generally for weaving history, principle, distinctiveness, and pragmatism in to a really well stated initiative. It almost made me think we need a white paper on promoting the libraries of the future! Though, next time, paragraphs, my man. That text wall was rough on the eyes ;-)

    - Prof Z
  • jules rensch
    commented 2016-05-26 23:09:32 -0400
    For starters, a nicely done "Hand-Out type brochure would do wonders….something that every MWP member could have at the ready…at Starbucks, at work, school, any where!
    My car is a traveling billboard covering Ohio and Michigan….the MWP bumper sticker does draw attention…the RED, WHITE, & BLUE OWL is a real attention getter.

    Observer Jules
  • jules rensch
    tagged this with good 2016-05-26 23:09:31 -0400
  • Theodore Theopolos
    published this page in Whig Forums 2016-05-14 19:12:36 -0400