A User’s Guide for Getting Through the Smoke and Mirrors of Campaign Politics
by J C Anger
S-hift the subject or blame
I-gnore the facts presented
For those of you who have never been introduced to S-I-N tactics, it is a very common tool used when someone knows they cannot win a debate. Sin tactics are in essence a damage control device that is used in hopes that you will not recognize a particular blunder that someone has made, especially within the political establishment. It is used by either side of the aisle in politics to include Independents. It has been used for years to try and hide or exploit certain things to gain favor for others. In this write-up I’m hoping to educate you on what to look for in recognizing S-I-N tactics.
Let’s start with the ‘S’.
The ‘S’ stands for “Shift the Subject or Blame”. This is a common tool when one is loosing a debate to try and confuse those who are watching the debate. It often happens when issues that have been resolved in the past are brought up as if they are new subjects. Pay attention to the time frame from the reference of the issue and see how the subject of the issue responds. If there is a clear response for the issue at hand this could mean that it was resolved quite awhile ago. If there is no response or no need for a response, once again look up archives to see if this was an old issue that was resolved. If the subject of the issue is defensive towards the issue, then maybe there might be something to the issue. This tactic can also come in the form of bringing up a non-issue. Non-issues are issues that have no true bearing on the course of the debate or the future impact if a candidate becomes elected. They often tie in with name calling and can be easily identified if they would fit well in a story in any gossip magazine. Ask yourself if this really matters and if it doesn’t it’s usually tied in with this tactic. Take the time to look and see the intent of an article in order to weed through those which are attempting to distract you away from the important issues.
Next we look at the ‘I’.
The ‘I’ stands for “Ignore the Facts Presented”. The sole purpose for this tactic is to bring you back to tactic ‘S’. When you see a story that is totally negative about an individual’s proposed plans or ideas, it is meant to distract you from the actual facts that are contained within these plans or ideas. Take the time to look up alternative aspects of the plans or ideas that have been put forward. Is the author of the piece which is condemning the plan or idea an expert in the particular field they are addressing? If they are not, they are using this tactic. Is the author of the piece a member of an opposing campaign or point of view? If they are they potentially are using this tactic. Are there experts who are giving facts or opinions supporting a particular plan or idea? If so, the attack piece is almost definitely a writing that has ignored the facts. When a piece tries to ignore the facts, it attempts to distract you from what those facts are. Take the time to research for yourself what people are saying, especially the experts.
Last let’s look at one of the most common tactic which is the ‘N’.
The ‘N’ stands for “Name Calling”. Name calling exists when an individual uses their platform to either take what a candidate says and shift it slightly to vilify that candidate or attempt to categorize the supporters of a particular candidate into a group that is traditionally unfavorable or offensive to the general public. When you hear words like racist, bigot, Uncle Tom, or the like, you are probably dealing with a case of this tactic. This tactic attempts to distract you from the real issues in order to use your emotions against an individual or group of people. The measure of this tactic is that 'if the facts don’t match the name, then the ‘N’ tactic is in play'. Look over exactly what an individual says before you listen to the name that is labeled on that individual. Look at the history and actions of a group before you believe a label that is placed on them. This tactic is used especially when a message is truly resonating with the general public. The more an individual makes sense and give solutions that people can relate to, the more they and their supporters will be called names. Take the time to see if the message a candidate is giving is making sense to the people and then see if they are being called every name under the sun. If they are then it is an easily identifiable use of this tactic.
So the basic question comes up, “How do I best recognize the use of S-I-N tactics?”
The best way to recognize S-I-N tactics is to do your own research. When you think for yourself and take into account the facts, then you will be best equipped to handle the use of S-I-N tactics.
When you recognize a S-I-N tactic, try your best to ignore it and move on. If you try and engage the use of a S-I-N tactic, then you could be caught in the smear, and that distraction is the very purpose of the tactics.
If needed, post a counter truth, then move on and let the truth set others free. You see the one thing that defeats S-I-N tactics every time is truth. S-I-N tactics are created to pull us away from or distort the truth. When truth is injected into a S-I-N discussion, the S-I-N tactic looses it’s control over the situation and people can see the light.
Stay above the mudslinging. If you bring forth the truth, just allow the truth to do its work. If someone comes back and starts calling you names, like they say in Twitter, “ban and report”. Do not retaliate to a name call because it distracts from the truth and brings you down to their level by using the ‘N’ tactic.
This was just touching the surface of S-I-N tactics. I could go into it much further and show you examples but I want you to learn to recognize and react to these tactics on your own. I want you to be able to think for yourselves and try and figure out when S-I-N tactics are being used and when they are not. You will hear a lot about people during the campaign season. It’s my desire that you take the time and ask yourself the important questions and find the issues that effect you and this nation the most. I hope that this article allows you to see past the smoke and mirrors which are S-I-N tactics in order to form your own opinions on those issues. Stay informed. Stay inspired. Stay involved.