I've been meaning to blog on dots for a long time. I'm just getting around to it now. A couple of weeks ago somebody made a comment on my blog that I explained last week in my post. As soon as I saw the comment my mind quickly said "red dot" and I didn't waste much energy on it. And so herein lies my dot theory.
A couple of years ago when the Commercial Dog Breeders Bill was introduced in Wisconsin a small, but determined group of supporters decided that they would form a citizens' lobby group to support passage of the bill. We started a yahoo group and the first couple of weeks were spent tossing out all kinds of ideas about public awareness campaigns to generate interest. It was overwhelming to say the least. My simple little mind doesn't like to be overwhelmed. It likes logical thinking.
Some of the ideas exhausted me at the mere thought of them. Walking across Wisconsin for the cause was one. My legs got tired just thinking about it. Another idea was to tie wire crates to the top of our cars and put stuffed dogs inside - to show the plight of puppy mill dogs to the public. Not my style. Plus, I might have ended up divorced.
So I put on my thinking cap (as my mother used to say). We only had to convince 133 people - 99 assembly representatives, 33 senators and the governor. Now that was something I could wrap my mind around. And we really didn't have to convince 133, only a majority.
Next we needed a map. I'm a map type of person, probably from my old forestry days. I printed off the assembly and senate district maps as large as possible - large enough to cover our dining room table. Then I trotted off to the stationery store to buy transparent sticky dots - red, yellow and green, used for pricing rummage sale items.
Thus, the dot theory was born, and I have found endless uses for it since. The co-sponsors of the bill immediately got a green dot stuck on their district number. We already had their vote. (thanks to the tireless work of the bill authors, Jeff Smith and Pat Kreitlow; and Eilene Ribbens of the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project).
There were some legislators that we knew were against the bill - those were the red dots. No use wasting a lot of time there. We only needed a majority of votes. Our time was better spent rallying people in the districts where we thought we could make a difference.
Where we needed to focus was the yellow dots. The ones that we knew we could convince. The members in our small group were amazing. They knew people in every town, county and area of the state. As the bill passed through committees and we could see whose votes were needed; they were able to rally friends, families and neighbors to call and email their legislators. As we grew confident that we had their vote I replaced the yellow dot with a green one on the map.
The bill passed unanimously - through every committee, the House and the Senate. In the end, even the red dots changed to green. It would have been political suicide to vote no. The momentum was too strong.
So, the dot theory has stuck with me like glue. As we move towards a No Kill Nation, or a time when there are No More Homeless Pets (whichever phrase you prefer) the green dots are the progressive thinkers: the No Kill advocates, my friends and allies in our mission. We talk almost daily, exchanging ideas and stories on yahoo groups and by email and phone. But it's not the best use of my time. They're already on the bus.
The red dots are the naysayers and dinosaurs - a big waste of time. They make my blood pressure rise and the dinosaurs are going to be extinct soon enough anyways. Besides, we don't need them. We only need a majority. Plus, one thing I have learned, the buck doesn't stop at the red dots. There is usually an elected official or a yellow dot above them. Also, funding for naysayer shelter directors comes from tax dollars or donations, a whole sea of yellow dots.
The yellow dots are who we need on the bus. They're the majority of the pet lovers in our nation. They're easy. And there are millions of them. Once they understand the problems, the solutions and the mission, they're more than happy to get onboard the bus.
This is where I want to spend my time. Each day dawns with the possibility of yellow dots just waiting to hear about the No Kill Equation and the possibilities of a No Kill Nation.
So, back to the red dot naysayers. In the end they'll be like the red dot legislators of our Commercial Dog Breeders Bill. They'll come along. Either kicking or screaming; or pretending like they were onboard the whole time.
It will be suicide for them not to. Or like the dinosaurs, they'll become extinct.
"Almost all people are in favor of progress, it's the change they don't like. Most people become willing to change, not because they see the light but because they feel the heat." - John Mason