I was down at the Workers' Collective the other day in downtown Seattle, and a bunch of my comrades were huddled over the fire (organic, recycled fuels only, natch) reading the following.
I thought it would help me talk to The Weak Link more peacefully, and bring about more harmony here at 50+: it's titled, "How to Talk about Cycling to a Conservative."
It's quite detailed; I especially like the list of "don'ts."
" * Over the top rhetoric. Don’t marginalize your arguments with statements, like: Everyone should ride a bike, give up their car, live green, etc.
* Conservatives don’t like other people to tell them what they should do. And when you stop and think about it, you probably don’t either—that’s why you ride a bike, right? (To be fair, conservatives have done their fair share of telling other people how to live their lives, but pointing that out will not win you their support.)
* Calling drivers “cagers.” Remember: their moms probably drive cars.
* Ranting that oil companies are evil. Maybe so, or maybe they’re just incompetent. But what the heck does that have to do with it?
* Anti-car arguments in general. Face it: cars exist and most Americans love them. You’ll get nowhere with a conservative if your explicit agenda (or suspected hidden agenda) is an attack on American “car culture.”
* Global warming, Climate Change or Climate Disruption. If it’s as bad as Al Gore says it is, it will take more than a few bike lanes to fix it. But more importantly, you don’t need to win that fight (or even engage in it) to make your point. Cycling has plenty of merit without dragging in tangential and controversial issues like Global… whatever the heck they call it this week.
* Refrain from gushing praise of European cycling culture, e.g. the Dutch, the Danes, or whoever. Conservatives are not inclined to emulate pre-colonial imperialist has-beens – at least not consciously. "