When horse people are told about demonstrations, they probably think about a salesman or company rep showing them how the newest product or gadget works in order for them to improve their business. But in the proud history of the United States, a different kind of demonstration has been a key part of protest movements that have brought about changes in government policy. The Boston Tea Party may have been America's first important demonstration, and many others have followed to make this great country what it is. The issues championed by these movements have come from the grassroots as an attempt to right an historical wrong or simply as a means to be heard by those in power.
With this in mind, it is understandable that when an industry led by many influential and traditionally entrenched members of society have their moment in the sun to “take to the streets” — as Kentucky's horse industry will do Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort to rally support for expanded gaming at Kentucky racetracks — some confusion as to how to pull off an effective display may ensue.
But don't worry; the Paulick Report will be your guidebook to protesting. Exhaustive research and a personal flashback to the late 1960s protests for equal rights and against the war in Vietnam have given us a list of dos and don'ts for an effective protest to get legislators to understand the importance of leveling the playing field for Kentucky's horse industry. We aren't guaranteeing these tips will bring expanded gaming to Kentucky, but with a little knowledge and hard work, at least Wednesday won't go down in the annals of history with the saggy pants protest in Milwaukee, the naked cyclists against cars in the UK or anything PETA has done in the last 20 years.
10 Dos and Don'ts for Wednesday's Frankfort protest rally
10. Do look presentable – This doesn't mean you have to show up in your finest Hugo Boss suit, but make sure you at least put on a fresh shirt after cleaning up the morning stalls. And please leave your pitchfork at home. It will be confiscated at the security check.
9. Don't confuse the cause – Wednesday isn't your opportunity to save the whales or get tax rebates for those solar panels you installed in March.
8. Do call your legislator beforehand and schedule a meeting – After all, they do work for you. To find the name and number of your state representative or senator, click here.
7. Don't show up at a legislator's office unannounced – While they do work for you, they also work for the other 20,000 people in your district and so they tend to be a bit busy, especially during a controversial special session.
6. Do be respectful – Our friends from the Family Foundation will be on the very same steps Tuesday and some may stick around Wednesday to counter protest. No one wants to see John Greathouse slugging it out with Don Ball and his anti-gaming followers – except the Herald-Leader.
5. Don't give ANYTHING to an elected official – You may think presenting David Williams with a horseshoe from your favorite broodmare is just a nice gesture, but Kentucky law strictly prohibits anything that may have the appearance of bribery.
4. Do tell everyone about the Paulick Report – We thought we'd try to slip a shameless plug by you! And in all seriousness, we are committed to bringing you the most up to date news on the expanded gaming issue, among others.
3. Don't shoot the messenger – If you are angry at your legislator, don't take it out on their staff. They are just doing their job and it's a strong possibility they share a different point of view from their boss.
2. Do show passion – No one is going to judge you for shouting too loud or pumping your fist too fervently. Remember, you will be among friends.
1. Don't give up – The worst kind of protest is one that lasts just a day. Make sure you continue to put pressure on legislators. Send them letters, set up future meetings and organize letter to the editor drives in your local papers. Trust us, they read everything written about them!
Copyright © 2009, The Paulick Report
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