Freaks and Oddballs – You're One

by Jeff Knox

[Less than] 200 days away from what will undoubtedly be one of the most important elections in US history, and most of the country still isn't even paying attention yet. Of course, those of you reading this have been paying attention for years, even decades, but that's because you're all freaks and oddballs like me. At least that's what the majority thinks of us.

We prefer to think of ourselves as exceptional and concerned – responsible citizens, but they see us as demented political junkies lacking in real life. Any way you want to define us – those of us who pay attention to politics more than 60 days out from a major election are definitely a minority – about 20%. While that can be a bit disheartening, it also should be encouraging. Since 70% of potential voters are in the dark about politics, those of us in the 20% have an opportunity to leverage our knowledge to significantly influence the myopic majority. We have to understand that most of these people aren't ignorant because they don't care, but because they don't care enough to make it a priority in their daily lives. They want to vote for the best candidate, they just have been focused on other things and need someone to guide them to that candidate. You and I can be their guides.

After the election of 2008 I did some simple research into search trends on Google. What I found was pretty startling. While there were millions of Internet searches for such hot-button issues as "Obama + gun control" and "Obama + abortion," in the days leading up to Election Day, the day these searches really spiked with the highest number of searches wasn't the day before the election or two days prior, the most such searches actually occurred on the day after the election. It seems that people were more interested in finding out what they had done than researching the decision they were about to make. Nancy Pelosi's statement that the House should pass ObamaCare to see what was in the bill comes
to mind.

I found the search data pretty disturbing, but at least it shows some interest. We just need to figure out how to activate that curiosity a bit earlier and make sure that the information folks need is readily available in a format they can easily understand. We also need to be sure that as people find the information they need about presidential candidates that they also learn something about other candidates lower down on the ticket. Regardless of who wins the White House, if there is not a solid, reliable House and Senate in place to support the good and block the bad, we're going to be in a lot of trouble.

So how can we, the 20% who have been paying attention and getting to know the candidates, steer enough of the uneducated 70% to the information they need? One way is to utilize sites like As you see articles and commentaries that you feel are particularly informative and compelling, copy the address and email it to your friends – especially your less political friends. Utilize the "Like," "Send," "Tweet," "g+1," and "Share" buttons that are available on each article page to spread these articles among your social networks. Post comments and links on your favorite forum sites too. For the really good columns, save the web address in a file so you can easily go back and repost and share
them again later when we're closer to Election Day.

As the elections draw closer, the number of people paying attention will slowly grow, but many won't begin seriously thinking about politics until September or October, so we still have time to collect and organize information, and to analyze that information to find the pearls that can have the greatest influence on the voters who are just waking up.

During that critical last 60 days before the elections you can have a big impact by writing letters to the editor and posting links and comments on forums and news sites pointing people to those articles and resources you have collected. For those interested in firearms issues, I created a forum called where we invite users to post information about candidates and races in federal, state, and local elections. The idea is to create a clearinghouse of information about candidates and races at all levels so someone looking for information about any candidate in any election in any state – particularly with regards to their positions on gun issues – can find it in that one location. Of course this is too big a job for me or my organization to handle on our own so we rely on our users to share their knowledge and insights to build the information base. I'd like to invite you, as one of the 20%, to register at and share what you know about your local, state, and federal candidates. While our emphasis is on candidates' positions on Second Amendment issues, any information that will help a concerned voter get to know the candidates better is always welcomed and encouraged.

Every year we hear the cliché that this year is the most important election ever, but this year the cliché is true. Conservatives and gun owners are not going to have a reliable candidate to support at the top of the ticket, but we have a clear and common enemy to vote against and we have hundreds of candidates that need and deserve our support running for lower offices. We need to get the word out that it is Congress and the state legislatures that are going to determine the future of our republic and it is extremely critical that every concerned citizen get out and vote. Then we need to be sure that those concerned citizens have reliable and compelling information on which to base their votes. You, the 20%, have an obligation to help educate your less politically-inclined friends and neighbors. Start building your curriculum and assembling your reading lists now so you'll be ready when the masses start emerging from hibernation and sniffing around for information. This year we can make sure the people know what they're doing on Election Day rather than wondering what they've done.

Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety is hereby granted provided this credit and link to is included.

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