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Don't listen to the haters and wreckers, Verity
In any campaign, you can expect that there will be those that disagree with you. This is natural and a normal part of any public debate. However, there seems to be a certain nasty streak in some of the opponents of a New Zealand head of State, particularly if any mention of the Queen is made.
This nastiness has come out with Verity Johnson's article in the New Zealand Herald the other day. Not only has the paper only published negative responses to Verity's article (when a number of positive responses have been submitted), but a number of childish responses have appeared from the usual suspects.
Take the response of "Alf Grumble MP". This poor attempt at satire takes issue with Verity's name (irrelevant), original nationality (irrelevant) and age (irrelevant). Clearly, Verity's article struck a nerve. Yet the responses have been far from rational or well thought out.
What can we in our campaign do in response? Should we try to get our members to send in as many letters to the editor as possible? Or write online comments, or call talkback radio? A number of political scientists argue that letters to the editor, online comments and talkback radio actually have little affect on public opinion. They tend to become exercises in group think, as those positing differing opinions from the majority in a particular forum tend to either stay away or be hounded out.
As with most things in life, humans tend to seek comfort among those who agree with them (e.g. "Birds of a feather stick together"). Often, this leads to a minority becoming angry and resorting to childish snipes, the aim of which is to disrupt - the phenomenon of trolling. Just look at the anonymous comments on this website.
Of course putting forward the particular viewpoint you believe in is important and I certainly don't think we should shy away from putting forward our views in the forums mentioned above. Yet in the face of such nasty, bitter and angry vitriol, our time is better spent on working to convince those who're on the fence, or lack information. This is the vast majority of the New Zealand public when it comes to the head of State debate - just look at the misunderstanding around Commonwealth membership, or the constant equation of a republic with soley the system of government in the United States.
In other words, don't listen to the haters and wreckers Verity. There's plenty of us who support your position and understand where you're coming from.