Thursday, August 31, 2017
It is your choice.
Social movements have multiple stages... they emerge, they coalesce, they bureaucratize, and then win or lose, they run their course and end.
The #ProRelForUSA movement has grown extensively over the last few years no matter what a small group of very vocal online detractors say. The movement has moved from a few lone bold souls on Twitter not letting the issue die a silent death, to this point where owners of lower division clubs are now taking cases to CAS to try to achieve its implementation.
Without guys like Ted Westervelt would we be where we are today in this movement? I seriously doubt it. His single minded determination helped bring dozens, if not hundreds of vocal advocates on board through his direct social media actions. Without his tweet to me that said "hoping it happens isn't going to make it happen" I wouldn't have been given the spark to be the American soccer reform activist I am today.
Initially during the emergence of the promotion and relegation movement, creating conversation was more important than anything else. The topic of #ProRelForUSA was a minuscule piece of the overall conversation about American soccer. Really, the totality of the American soccer conversation wasn't even that large.
The plan for creating passionate discussion around the subject worked. It worked well. Today #ProRelForUSA and #OpenSoccer are likely the 3rd most hotly debated topic in all of American soccer right behind the #USMNT and #USWNT. Nothing stirs up consistent passionate debate like these three topics. No league. No team. No player. No coach.
One major issue with Ted and others who have continued to use his tactics on social media during this initial growth stage, is that they have also created countless enemies to the movement.
Today, is this in your face, bold, confrontational, and oftentimes abusive style still the best plan?
In mine and many others opinion it is not.
Where we are on this spectrum of social movement stages can be debated right now, but I think it is safe to say we are past the emergence stage.
These initially most important allies of the movement have now become a part of what is holding it back. The constant attacks on potential allies do nothing to move the conversation forward. The branding of potential allies as enemies does nothing but embolden their resolve to not join in the conversation.
At this point can we still call this very vocal, passionate, and outspoken subset of confrontational advocates allies?
Yes just to clarify Ted, Ben, HowsYourTouch and others out there who I didn't name but think I may be talking about them. I am talking to you.
As this movement progresses and grows. The strategy must change. If you do not grow and change with it... you are no longer allies.You are a hindrance to it.
What does this movement gain by you being an asshole/bully on Twitter?
It gains nothing.
If you want to argue with Dan Loney and the rest of the status quo'ists who are out there all day every day. Have at it.
Please just stop trying to shame, cajole, or bully potential (and in many cases, actual) allies who don't speak up often enough for you, in the manner you want, and when you want in to doing this movement your way.
Trust the facts to persuade them to speak up, when they want to speak up, how they want to speak up, and as often as they want to speak up.
Coalitions are forming. Advocacy groups are starting. Suits are being filed.
The last thing this movement needs is y'all convincing MORE allies to not speak up because you're assholes to them and others on Twitter and they don't want to be associated with you.
No one person is more important than this movement. It is your choice.
Do you still want to be an ally or not?