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Riley's Messaging Minute

by Riley Sweeney

Right now, there are two big issues that are being discussed nation-wide: immigration and gun regulation. Below are some tips on how to talk to your friends, family and co-workers about these issues in ways that reinforces Democratic ideals.

Gun Regulation: First of all, avoid the words "Ban" because after all, SWAT Teams will still have access to the firepower they need and the word "Ban" provokes a rather visceral reaction from many gun owners. Use terms like regulation or control. People are comfortable with cars, stocks and restaurants being "regulated", this puts them at ease. In terms of describing high powered weapons, avoid the term "Assault Rifle" because "Rifle" brings to mind their uncle's hunting rifle. Use the term assault weapon, or weapon of war, because that is what we are talking about. Many gun enthusiasts will want to debate what is and isn't a semiautomatic weapon, best to side-step this issue with "there is no reason for civilians to own a weapon capable of firing 30 bullets per minute."

One-liner come-back? When they say, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." You say, "Then let's keep dangerous people away from guns."

Immigration: First of all the basics, Democrats usually use the term "undocumented workers" as opposed to "illegal aliens." No person is illegal, they are merely here illegally. Next step, humanize the discussion. Conservatives like to talk about "securing the border" and shutting out those that are coming in, but that ignores the millions of people who are already here, paying payroll taxes and participating in our communities. The Democratic proposal on immigration provides a real world solution for those people. By requiring them to file taxes, learn English, pay a fine and pass a background check, we get them into a system that gives them a path to citizenship. That way we can crack down on employers who abuse the legally vulnerable. We are a nation of immigrants, and this would be the next step in the American story.

One-liner come-back? When they say, "They're just going to come over here and take our jobs!" You say, "First, I have faith that the American worker can handle whatever competition comes our way. Second, by providing a legal status, this would allow immigrants to open businesses and begin creating jobs in our communities." That's all for now. We hope to make this a regular feature at our central committee meetings, so see you on Thursday!