Thursday, May 13, 2010

WHAT DID YOU SAY?

One of my pet peeves is the way radio and television commercials repeat telephone numbers.

Typically stated in a loud, annoying sing-song, the advertiser’s phone number is repeated three times. At least three times.

No doubt some high paid and highly educated Madison Avenue gurus have discovered that repeating the number three times is necessary to pierce the veil of distraction that protects most people’s sanity.

There is, I am sure a whole science of communicating with the public. Slogans that resonate, ditties that stick in our craws, subliminal messages that persuade without conscious attention; these are the stuff that sell stuff.

The pros know how to say it, but if you are an amateur, you can really botch the message.

Reminds me of the trial judge down in Texas who used to have a sign posted prominently on his bench:

YOU MAY THINK THAT YOU HEARD WHAT I SAID, BUT I DON’T THINK THAT I SAID WHAT YOU HEARD.

Case in point.

Yesterday, after blogging about the new web site, www.ConventionUSA.org, I got an email from a very intelligent and well educated friend who told me that he was sorry that he couldn’t “go” to ConventionUSA because he had a conflict on the “date.”

I was confused. ConventionUSA is a virtual convention which will be conducted on the Internet. The only place the delegates will have to “go” is to the computers in their own homes.

And since the business of the convention will be conducted by asynchronous emails and Internet message board postings, there is no specific “date” on which the convention will take place.

Then it dawned on me.

The home page of ConventionUSA.org carried a news release about a symposium which is planned for Cooley Law School in September. While the symposium will deal with Article V conventions, it is an academic exercise not otherwise related to ConventionUSA.

Big mistake.

Busy folks, scanning the home page would assume that the September symposium was the convention. They would not be likely to read the detailed rules which describe the way the convention will work.

My fault.

But then maybe ConventionUSA is too big an idea, too momentous an undertaking, to be evaluated by scanning a home page anyway.

The Congress of the United States has ignored over 700 petitions from state legislatures asking for an Article V convention. There are still shrill voices fretting about a ‘runaway’ convention which can ‘rewrite the constitution’ or ‘repeal the Bill of Rights,’ even though those arguments have been thoroughly refuted.

The job of ConventionUSA is to prove that patriotic Americans, dedicated to the renewal of our constitutional republic can and will propose useful and desirable amendments, which will not only improve our government, but will reignite public confidence in and support for our democratic institutions.

It will take some time. Until there are delegates from 34 states, those who register will constitute a committee of organization which will refine and recommend Rules for the operation of the convention.

I’d be glad to answer any questions. thosbrennan@aol.com

3 comments:

  1. A few concerns - one is that with no activity, $10 per month is a fairly large tarrif. What are your monthly hosting costs? Are you hiring staff or will the bulk of this go to advertising and outreach expenses, which do take enough of your time to be worth compensation. And yes, I have paid.

    The second concern I have is some of the folks you have linked to. Hopefully it does not reflect who will be the predominant views, since this will make it a partisan exercise and damage its legitimacy. I do have to give you props for not including any Defense of Marriage links - although I suspect that on the right-wing the plan is to use the fact that the Speaker will never let a DOMA come to a vote in the House to organize an Article V convention and they will likely add all of their other issues to the list of things to be considered, from a judicial activism amendment to an abortion amendment.

    The main value of amendment efforts have been rallying the base rather than reform. I hope this is not such an exercise, but some of the links worry me - especially if they lead to a skewed delegate population.

    While some reforms must be done on an Article V basis, other sensible reforms, such a regionalization, are best enacted by creating a party to back them or getting a major party to do so (like the emerging Indpedence Party of America, which is destined for second party status after the GOP implodes in 2012). If the reforms work or face constitutional challenge, they can be ratified or resurrected by Amendment.

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  2. The links on the Convention USA home page are merely to show that there is a lot of talok around the country about Aerticle V and it has supporters from both left and right.

    The monthly dues have not yet covered the design and hosting costs. Convention USA is a non profit corporation and none of its officers are compensated.

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  3. my name is Quisno Rodonovich and i am with http://constitutionalsheriffs.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network
    Is this for real the bringing together of an article 5 constittutional amendment site? to be used as a meeting area for all people of all the states?

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