In a few more weeks, spring will once again be upon us. Fresh air and flowers blooming are always things we look forward to after months of being stuck indoors because of the ice and cold. And after 2 years of being locked indoors, more people will throw hysteria to the wind and enjoy the great outdoors. As we Republicans enjoy this weather ourselves, we also need to remember that it’s an election year and we need to take back our country from the insane fascists who have spent the last 2 years destroying it. It helps that people are actually feeling the pain caused by these nutjobs, but we cannot get complacent. We need to find new ways to talk to people about our message, or maybe we need to revisit old ones. Honestly, with all this fresh air and all of the flowers luring fed up people outdoors, maybe it’s time we go up to the attic and dust off the old Soap Box.
Yes, I do mean THE Soap Box. As in the kind people tell you to get off of when you are being preachy. But now is not the time to get off of it or step away from it. In fact, we need to stand tall, stand up in public places, and make our grievances known through the time-honored tradition of public speaking. And it is indeed time-honored.
The oldest surviving home of Soap Box speeches and politics is Hyde Park’s Speakers Corner in London England. In 1866 a group called the Reform League marched there to protest in favor of expanding the franchise to vote to more Britons, which ended in a 3-day riot when their government tried to suppress the protestors. The next year when 150,000 Protestors marched against the government’s warnings, nobody tried to stop them, and 5 years later the Parks Regulation Act was passed by Parliament, declaring Hyde Park and the Speakers Corner an area where people could meet and speak freely. By the 1930s, the Speakers Corner of Hyde Park became a haven for Soap Box Orators and it remains so today, although it has started to see limitations from Britain’s draconian speech laws. Still, in its heyday, Britain’s Soap Box Culture played host to great mean like George Orwell and went further than just Hyde Park. It even helped a Conservative Politician get elected to office in the late 70s.
In America, Soap Box speaking got its start in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City and became very significant to the African American Community. Unfortunately at its start in the 1910s, it was mainly speakers spreading left-wing socialist ideology. That eventually changed as the array of speakers spread to include street preachers, philosophers, as well as salesmen, and people protesting for reasonable social justice causes. In that way, the soapbox became not only a very American idea but also one very significant to the African American Community. Thats why the idea of bringing this strategy into our political messaging in 2022 is very relevant and could pay off very well.
Now I do want to elaborate on something. When I say we need to get on our soapboxes, I am indicating a much wider message. The beauty of the soapbox is that it was public. Whether there is a soapbox or not, spreading the 2022 Republican message through public speaking should be our goal. It can be in a park, or at an open-air mall, or other places.
There are many good venues, including public events like state fairs or any kind of fair. In fact, Abraham Lincoln gave a famous speech at a Sanitary Fair right here in Baltimore Maryland. For those who don’t know, Sanitary Fairs were fundraising events held in the Union States during the Civil War. The funds were given to the United States Sanitary Commission, which promoted the comfort and hygiene of the Union Troops fighting the Democrats in the south. Now Maryland was not a Union State by choice, at the start of the war, Baltimore Democrats had formed a mob to attack a regiment of Union troops from Massachusetts who were attempting to join the war effort. In the aftermath of the riot, Baltimore’s Top Democrats were arrested and the war with the Democrats in the south intensified. 3 years later though in his speech to the Sanitary Fair, Lincoln said the City of Baltimore had come a long way from the city of traitors that tried to violently assist the confederacy, and our whole country had come a long way as well.
Speaking of Baltimore, I have in mind another example of a great public speaker, who was a Republican from Baltimore, and possibly one of the greatest Republicans in our party’s history. His name was Fredrick Douglass, and among the many great speeches, he gave there was one, in particular, given on an important anniversary at an important location. On May 30th, 1881, Douglass made his way out to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia to give an address at Storer College, on the occasion of its 14th anniversary, in honor of his good friend John Brown and his raid on Harpers Ferry. Many people say John Browns Raid drove the country immovably towards the Civil War. The entire speech of course was as fantastic as one would expect from a speaker like Douglass, but the best part in my opinion was the closing of the speech, on the question of “Did John Brown Fail?” Imagine being one of the students in the crowd at Harpers Ferry’s Storer College and hearing these words:
But the question is, Did John Brown fail? He certainly did fail to get out of Harper’s Ferry before being beaten down by United States soldiers; he did fail to save his own life, and to lead a liberating army into the mountains of Virginia. But he did not go to Harper’s Ferry to save his life. The true question is, Did John Brown draw his sword against slavery and thereby lose his life in vain? and to this I answer ten thousand times. No! No man fails, or can fail who so grandly gives himself and all he has to a righteous cause. No man, who in his hour of extremest need, when on his way to meet an ignominious death, could so forget himself as to stop and kiss a little child, one of the hated race for whom he was about to die, could by any possibility fail. Did John Brown fail? Ask Henry A. Wise in whose house less than two years after, a school for the emancipated slaves was taught. Did John Brown fail? Ask James M. Mason, the author of the inhuman fugitive slave bill, who was cooped up in Fort Warren, as a traitor less than two years from the time that he stood over the prostrate body of John Brown. Did John Brown fail? Ask Clement C. Vallandingham, one other of the inquisitorial party; for he too went down in the tremendous whirlpool created by the powerful hand of this bold invader. If John Brown did not end the war that ended slavery, he did at least begin the war that ended slavery. If we look over the dates, places and men, for which this honor is claimed, we shall find that not Carolina, but Virginia – not Fort Sumpter, but Harper’s Ferry and the arsenal – not Col. Anderson, but John Brown, began the war that ended American slavery and made this a free Republic.Douglass, F. (1881, May). John Brown, An Address By Frederick Douglass. Harpers Ferry; West Virginia.
The images evoked by Douglass in this speech are powerful. His words paint an image of John Brown that conjures up images of a tragic saint-like character, much like Saint Sebastian. Of course, that is the power of one’s words. This is why Democrats try to censor us on Social Media and in Traditional Media as well. This is why it is so much more important we try to take our message to the streets.
See, the beauty of Public Speaking is that not only can the Democrats not stop or Censor us without harsh repercussions, they also can’t control what people hear from us. After all, we all know how Democrats like to seize on a segment of a speech and take it out of context in the media so they can spin lies off of it. With unplanned, out in the public speaking, however, they cannot easily spin what you say and it will of course spread word of mouth. That is the strength of it, but also its greatest weakness. Spreading a message word of mouth means it will not go as far as it would if you just held some press conference with all the TV cameras, but it does mean it will be more accurately remembered by those who hear your message and resonate with it. You also have the option of recording it and putting it on youtube, Keep in mind if you do that there is the possibility YouTube will take it down or a “Reporter” will take clips of it to use out of context. But this tactic is best used by your local Republican Party or a politician running for City Council or Mayor.
Yes, this is definitely a technique uniquely suited to cities and towns. In fact, Baltimore makes a good case study for it. In my opinion, the ideal place for this kind of off-the-cuff speaking would be a public park or plaza of some kind. Street Corners are good for the traffic and amount of people you can draw in, but they can create foot traffic congestion, and in Democrat-run jurisdictions, this would just be an excuse to shut you down. Not to mention, most cities have an abundance of Public Parks of various sizes. Baltimore City has at least 20 major Public Parks and boasts more than 4000 acres of public space. Thats 4000 acres of opportunity to reach out to the citizens of Baltimore and tell them that the current leadership has failed them.
Thats a sea of opportunity right there, and thats just describing one city I know intimately. In cities or even small towns across America, there is a vast ocean of public space where you can stand up and make your thoughts known. So it’s time to get our best and brightest out there, making the case for common sense government, and gaining the hearts and minds of an American Public disillusioned by the current state of our country. This spring is the perfect time for us to strike while the iron is hot and upset by inflation. By standing on one sturdy box this year, we can open up a whole world of possibilities hopefully for years to come.