The most pressing need of the conservative side right now is the need to restore its confidence. It is in a psychological state of rout, which the dictionary defines as “a disorderly retreat or flight following a defeat.” That has to be turned around because the administration is moving forward quickly to press its advantage. Stealth taxes are now being imposed even on Yale (you would have thought they’d earned a waiver), and layoffs are expected in industries which deferred the news until after the election.
Turning the psychological rout around also presents small business opportunities, besides being a necessary preparation for the counterattack that will have to be mounted soonest when the impact of the real economic consequences of 2012 bite.
One possibility is the sale of t-shirts, bumper stickers, and other novelty items which boldly proclaim that one voted against Obama. The bigger the letters, the better. The other is a standardized “signature” design of an item which can be manufactured by home craft expressing the same thing.
This at a time when there have been a plethora of articles suggesting that conservatives turn themselves into the Mod Squad and become “hip” in order to attract the voters of the future. This is wrong. An opportunity is being missed to market and brand ideas that have what I’ll call the “Defiance Quality.”
Defiance has a particular cachet at a time like this. It boasts that you’ve got nothing left to lose. The bolder the defiance, the better. This can take the form of the same t-shirts and bumper stickers proclaiming your proud membership in your religion or political affiliation. Declare who you are.
Again, it would be best if there were a “signature” design around which individuals could riff their personalized designs. History is replete with examples that show how defiance and proud membership can be one and the same thing. Some instances are quite recent:
The British had instituted numerous ordinances to restrict Jewish activity at our most holy place. We were forbidden to pray out loud, or to read from the Torah (we heard the Torah reading at synagogues in the Jewish Quarter). Most important, we were forbidden to sound the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. British policemen stationed at the Kotel strictly enforced these rules. On the High Holidays the police commander himself stood there to ensure that we should not sound the single blast that ends the fast.
On Yom Kippur 1930 I was praying at the Kotel. During the afternoon intermission between the prayers, I overheard people whispering and asking each other: “Where will we go to hear the Shofar? It’s impossible to blow here. Look, they have as many policemen here as people praying …”
Hearing these whisperings, I thought to myself: “How can we miss out on sounding this important Shofar call that proclaims G-d’s sovereignty and echoes the Redemption of Israel?”
I approached Rabbi Yitzchak Horenstein, who served as the Rabbi of our makeshift “congregation,” and said to him: “Please give me a Shofar.”
“I’ll blow it.”
“Sh-h! Sh-h! What are you talking about? Don’t you see the police all over?”
“I’ll blow it, anyway.”
He was arrested. But for the next 18 years:
… until the Arab conquest of the Old City in 1948, the Shofar was sounded at the Kotel every Yom Kippur, despite the inevitable arrests. The British understood the important significance of this Shofar blast. They knew that it would eventually blow away their reign from our land, even as the walls of Jericho crumbled before Joshua’s Shofar.