[UPDATED] An important election is coming up, which means you’re probably planning to get in as many debates over the next few weeks as possible, and most likely wander into some topics you know absolutely nothing about.
Don’t panic. We’re here to help.
You’re probably retired or someone who spends most of their time on social media anyway, so use this free time to sharpen your debate skills. Remember, your opponents have an unfair advantage on issues that you’ll never fully comprehend because it’s likely their profession and they never stop educating themselves on the subject. You, on the other hand, are just now learning about these issues because Karen complained about it on the listserv and it made you angry.
Now is the time to prepare yourself for the endless upcoming city council hearings and Facebook fights this Fall. We’ve narrowed down your strategy to 10 useful tips that will help you win your next political battle against those pesky experts, and become a local hero in your community.
1. Age before Beauty
You’ve lived in this community longer than everyone else, therefore your opinion carries more weight somehow. So go ahead, flaunt the fact that you bought your home at one-fifth of today’s average price. Let them know that your opinion should count more because you remember when gas was under a dollar, as if that has any relevance to the subject.
2. Cut and Paste
The internet is full of websites that prove your point of view to be the correct one. Simply Google the exact words you want to hear, read off endless out-of-context snippets from your favorite sources, and then watch your oppositions’ heads explode!
3. Get Noticed
Passionate speakers are always the most interesting, and certainly the ones people will continue to talk about long afterwards. So make sure you yell extra loud at people, or use ALL CAPS every other word if using social media. (Bonus tip, let your hair go wild. The more crazy you look, the more passionate you can claim to be)
4. Strength in Numbers
Quantity over quality. You have more people on your side no matter what actual polls show. After all, your team managed to crowd into that 10 am hearing on a Tuesday when most people had to work. Even though the 38 people on your side is a tiny fraction of the whole population, nobody can stop you from claiming you are the majority.
5. Play the Gentrification Card
Nobody wants to go there, so you better get there first. Drop this truth hammer on your opponent – even though it doesn’t even apply to protecting your white, single-family historic neighborhood from any proposed change – and you’ll leave them speechless.
6. Create a picture of a bleak future
Your hometown is perfect just the way it is. Don’t let these expensive experts with fancy degrees come here trying to change things with logical improvements. After all, you know more than they do because you volunteered at a soup kitchen once. Describe in detail how your perfect, picturesque town will become a desolate, corporate dump-heap filled with Taco-Bells and gas stations if they allow that old parking lot to get developed. It’s the end of your utopia as we know it!
7. Fight the Facts
Let’s be honest; fact-checkers are annoying. Don’t let them tell you that your repeatedly debunked claim is false. Repeat it. Then repeat it again. Then repeat it on Facebook. And then in comments section of other online publications. Call everyone corrupt because you are the only one that knows the truth. The fact-checkers will probably block you by then, which means you win!
8. Play the Victim
This is your moment to shine. Remember, you inserted yourself into a discussion with experts while having no prior expertise other than that one time you listened to a TED talk. Use ad hominem attacks and accuse people of being owned by corporate entities to elevate your status in the conversation. Then, wait for that one policy nerd to snap from your repeated insults. Wait… what did that guy just call you? An “annoying troll?!” How insulting! You’re just there to have a civil conversation and how dare someone treat you like this. (Bonus points: Demand formal apologies)
9. Embrace Change
Face it, some urban planner just schooled you on public policy and you have no other internet sources to fall back on. No problem! Just change the subject to something completely off topic like how 5G cell towers will give everyone cancer. Throw them for a loop and create confusion. Then accuse them of getting off topic for the win.
10. Play the Trump Card
If all else fails and your back is to the wall, just compare your opponent to their worst enemy. Let’s be real, that idiot who hasn’t subscribed to your extreme ideology is really no different than Trump. Let those words roll of your tongue. Checkmate. Now just sit back, relax, and enjoy the sweet taste of righteous, moral victory, you badass!