For the past two weeks, we’ve watched speech mobs dominate the protests and coerce politicians, cops, and Members of Congress into binary discussions to no productive end. As president of District Media Group Beverly Hallberg explained in her latest article: “They demand you condemn issue X and publicly shame you into specific action or silence if you have a different perspective.”
The speech mobs have attached themselves to several issues in recent days—lockdowns, defunding the police, etc.—but the script is always the same. We’re presented with one choice over another, and the space for debate is limited.
One of the binary questions that candidates and politicians can expect to face is: “Will you kneel?”
We’ve watched some already answer this question by kneeling. But others have chosen to stand in “solidarity,” and many haven’t kneeled, including a black state trooper who said, “I only kneel to God.”
What if you’re asked to kneel and you don’t plan to? Do you know how to respond?
True—the mob won’t be satisfied unless you comply with their demands. But in an effort to reach out to and work with people, it’s important to not be coerced into action. Issues are nuanced.
Here’s how we suggest you respond to someone else’s demand that you kneel:
“My posture is always going to be to stand. To stand up for people in this country and fight for <insert talking point>.”
If you shift the focus from kneeling to the bigger issue they think kneeling addresses, you take control of the answer and the rest of the conversation. It’s easier to have a productive debate if the conversation revolves around the issue and not the symbolism.