If there’s one thing Brexit and Trump’s storming ahead to become Republican Party nominee should teach us, it’s that elitist politics is so not hot right now, bbz.
Although politics by its classical definition is the ‘affairs of the cities’, it’s time we remember that there’s more than one type of person living in these cities and that we need to move outside the cities to take in the broader definition of making uniform decisions applying to all members of a group. Whilst we need academics and thought leaders to drive things, we need every demographic involved to make it democratic. To gain consensus, we need the majority; excluding the uninterested has detrimental effects.
The mere mention of Paris Hilton and politics in the one sentence garners eye rolls, groans and sometimes even guffaws and probably with good reason. The year she wore the ‘Vote or Die’ tee to encourage voters out on polling day, she wasn’t even registered to vote herself. However, when you look past that, difficult though that might be, it’s impossible to deny the power she holds to influence a huge number of people. The power of pop culture can’t be denied and, if used properly, can be extremely powerful and mobilising.
Campaigns for change can no longer simply be targeted at politicians and readers of certain broadsheets, especially when consensus is required. People get their information and communicate with each other in so many different ways these days that it can no longer be a one voice/one platform fits all. One louder voice simply reaches the same audience twice as loud. The more diverse voices and views that are added to a conversation, the bigger the reach. But, if people aren’t interested, how can we involve them without alienating them further? Our solution has been to throw some glitter at the situation.
We want to educate and engage without sneering, condescending or being angry at people’s lack of interest. Or being boring! So often, especially on Twitter, a mistake or a statement with misinformation leads to an angry mob chasing you through the mainframe so vitriolically that not even Sandra Bullock could escape. Whilst it’s all of our duties to seek out information and be informed, it’s also up to us to help others to find it. Being afraid to engage for fear of facing the wrath of the online community just drives people away. We need to remember the power of positivity when trying to win people over and shouting them down simply intimidates. It’s only through trial and error that we learn and can move forward.
All of this is illustrated with how we’ve approached Issue 1 for The HunReal Issues. RepealThe8th is a very emotionally heavy subject to approach. We wanted to broaden the audience of people talking about the constitutional amendment and take it outside of the groups who already felt really passionately about its removal. We worked with artist Maser to install a strong but positive mural on Project Arts Centre. We wanted to get people engaging with what Repeal The 8th meant to them and get rid of any hushed tones that were employed whenever the subject came up. We wanted to let the 12 women that have to leave the country for abortions every day know that they didn’t need to feel like they were unworthy of care in their own country. We wanted all women who entered into maternity care provided by the state to know that they were entitled to informed decision making, consent and the best medical practice that the 8th Amendment takes away.
Our tone on all of our platforms is positive and upbeat, in contrast to the often shitty situations we’re talking about. Some people get fired up about making change happen by getting angry; other just want to know that there’s hope.
We’re just trying to keep it HunReal.