I wholeheartedly agree with almost every word of BOTH of these posts.lkd wrote:We definitely agree on this, Jim. It's just my opinion that the NRA needs to do a better job of showing that they're _listening_ instead of _telling_. But as you also point out, 4 million people represents a LOT of diverse voices.seamusTX wrote:The NRA is not going to reflect the views of 4 million members precisely. The NRA's explanations of its actions are not going to satisfy 4 million members. Those are simply facts of life. I don't know of any organization or even family where everyone agrees about everything.
I'll say it again: I don't agree with NRA about everything. But I realize that it's the biggest and most effective RKBA organization, and I will continue to support it publicly and criticize it privately.
My only concern is this idea that an organization such as the NRA should only be criticized privately. I believe any organization that holds itself to represent "the right way" in any facet of life is entitled to - and must be ready, willing, and able to humbly accept - public criticism. Such is the basis of representative democracy not only in government, but also in member-driven groups of any kind (as distinguished from businesses or other private or semi-private interests).
For years, I had a less than stellar view of the NRA - caused in great part by biased media representations, but also by missteps by NRA leadership. Many of these missteps amounted to little more than the NRA being "tone deaf" to the din of public opinion, but when the majority of the media is against you, adding your own tone deaf response can be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Thankfully, the NRA has improved and is a much better organization today than it was even 10 years ago. Why did my own personal feelings change? In great part from hearing actual members who were willing to admit the organizations' mistakes and tout its successes. The organization can still seem, as ikd put it, to be "telling" people what to do instead of "listening" to their concerns. But as long as the members are willing to listen to criticism openly and with restraint, the organization itself will thrive.
My point is simply this: us against them logic can only get you so far. And holding up any organization as above criticism will instantly scare off potential new members who don't want to be required to drink the Kool Aid in order to join. But an organization - and more importantly the members of an organization - that is willing to take a candid look at itself will survive and will show potential members it is open to new ideas and discussions.
The NRA is a great organization. It is not a perfect organization and never will be. As Jim says, 4 million voices can't all speak in unison all the time.
But telling naysayers to look at either end of a horse only guarantees those people will stay naysayers. Inviting them to level their respectful criticism, then responding with civility and statesmanship can sway minds.