Tuesday, July 27, 2010

GOP Youth Convention - A personal case study for proper framing.

Along with some of my other libertarian co-workers, I attended a GOP Youth Convention. The mission was to design an official party agenda on a variety of issues from the perspective of young people. The process involved splitting us into subcommittees (such as economics, foreign policy, etc) where we'd draft an proposed stance on a specific topic. We would then vote on the wordings of our drafts before making such stances official. Participates could make calls to reword the stance if found disagreeable, and we would hence vote on the alternative proposal.

While much of the economic and health care issues were agreeable, nominally, libertarians and conservatives are capable of disagreement when it comes to immigration, defense spending, and certain other social issues. With three libertarians in the crowd (including one who was particularly eager), most of the deadlock took place here.

Specifically, on immigration and gay marriage. It appeared that one of my co-workers was unintentionally stirring a hornet nest in the manner she made her proposals on such issues, leading her be be labeled as a "democrat spy" by certain individuals who found her disagreeable.

I recall the deadlock on the definition of marriage in particular. Singularly it appeared, my co-worker was advocating against the original proposal of the societal subcommittee of simply pre-defining marriage as between a man and a woman. However, her framing had more of an appeal tailored to civil liberals and proved agitating to many. As temperaments flared, I quietly thought of means to reword the manner in a way that everyone could be satisfied with.

It is here that I was thankful for heeding some of the lessons learned at Cato in regards to relating to one's audience. I've always believed libertarians can create more common ground with conservatives than not, if they are mindful of proper framing. Recalling the Ransberger Pivot, I employed it in a manner that was able to end the deadlock by making an appeal to the constitution, a document that everyone in the room could appreciate. In the end, rather than stand for federal involvement on marriage, I subtly took things in a direction of allowing the 10th Amendment to settle the issue.

It was nice to play peacemaker.

~David Morris~

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