How Do You Solve A Problem Like Venuti?
Labels, Labels, liberals love a label. Right-wing Extremist. Neo-Con. Tea Bagger. It seems that few conservatives can avoid being branded with an ugly moniker designed to shame them into an easily definable (and dismissible) box.
One of the most important lessons learned by pundits, politicians, and the power hungry, at the feet of domestic terrorist and liberal icon Saul Alinsky, was the importance of disarming and disabling an opponent. In his seminal, step-by-step guide to mass manipulation and societal over throw, “Rules For Radicals,” Alinsky counseled his devotes to “pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” In order to marginalize someone, to eliminate them as a threat, he explained, you have to publically humiliate them, blame them for the ills of society, make them personally responsible for something horrendous, and force them to run and hide. Honesty and integrity were simply concepts that got in the way of success. These tactics have been used to keep good men and women out of the political arena or scare opponents.
Most Republicans or conservatives are boxed and branded with the tired (but effective) “rich, old, white man.” “Rich” is liberal code for uncaring, disconnected, and greedy. “Old” means out of touch. And of course “white man” is a thinly veiled suggestion of racism. Black politicians and pundits are still frozen in place by the nod and whisper of the one hundred and fifty year old insult “Uncle Tom.” And the opinions of conservative women are packaged up with commentary about their clothing or appearance as if to say, “oh how adorable, the dolly has an opinion.”
It’s therefore quite a perplexing problem for liberal “labelizers” when some people simply do not fit nicely into a box. It makes them difficult to dismiss and even harder to ignore. Sometimes, it’s an entire group of people who refuse to join “team liberal” and defy the carefully selected labels. Conservative Hispanics baffle liberals who assume that every person of Hispanic decent supports illegal immigration, believes in sanctuary cities, and desires a borderless North America. Fearful of alienating Democrat voting Hispanics that they have converted with promises of at least quasi citizenship and benefits for illegals, liberals simply don’t know how to marginalize the conservative Hispanic population. Perhaps even more unfathomable are conservative homosexuals, a concept that seems to make liberal’s bleed from the ears.
Liberals need to maintain the alliances of groups that have long supported their endeavors with money and votes. So they have to tread carefully when dealing with Hispanic or Arab or Jewish or Homosexual conservative groups. A poorly labeled attack could be seen as a racial or religiously motivated smear against ALL Hispanics or Arabs or Jews or Homosexuals, so liberals tend to avoid even acknowledging that a growing number of conservatives are being culled from their traditionally Democrat voting, flock.
The same “ignore and deny” approach can not be said for an individual who “should” be a firmly imbedded in “camp liberal” due to personal circumstances, yet chooses the conservative side. When that “traitor” to the liberal cause starts to get attention, make a name for himself as a political analyst, shines the light of day on the hypocrisy, you can visualize the angry, liberals, huddled around their conference room tables pondering, “how do you solve a problem like Venuti?”
Tony Venuti is a statistic wrapped in an enigma. Born and raised in a blue-collar, staunchly Democrat suburb of Brockton, Massachusetts, he had what one might call an “unfortunate” start. A philandering father who was in and out of mental facilities, his mother finally got fed up and kicked him out when Tony was eleven. His mother, a hardworking, plain speaking woman, had a tough time raising three boys on poverty wages. And though she worked hard to support her children, long hours in the garment factories meant that there was little supervision.
By sixteen, Tony was already a petty criminal and car thief. He went off to Vietnam, but came back with a serious drug addiction and the know-how to get the money he needed to support his habit. At twenty, Tony went to Walpole State Prison to serve a five to seven year prison term for armed robbery. This revolving door of addiction, crime to feed the habit, and incarceration lasted fifteen years.
On the surface, Tony should make the perfect Democrat simply because he fits nicely into so many boxes. Poor and un-educated, broken home life, in and out of the system, he could easily have embraced the “its society’s fault” and “someone owes me” mantras that are so often featured in Democrat voting drives and campaign promises. But Tony didn’t embrace the “poor me” mentality. He had never looked around for someone else to blame for his bad behavior. In fact, Tony knew that he was making choices and that those choices had consequences. As the old saying goes, “don’t do the crime if you can’t to the time.” Tony was willing to do the time.
In 1985, fresh out of prison in Arizona, Tony had had enough. Ashamed of how his behavior and incarcerations had hurt his mother and concerned that at thirty-five, he had nothing positive to show for his life, he knew he had to make a change. With little by way of credentials to change the direction of his life, Tony went to work in a friend’s health club. Eager to help make the business a success, Tony started creating flyers and advertisements and in doing so, discovered a real passion for creating advertising. Perhaps for the first time in his life, Tony Venuti found a calling stronger than drugs and the lure of the underbelly of society. Twenty years later, Tony Venuti owned a million dollar a year advertising and publishing business. Then in 2008, the bubble burst.
Most men who have walked in Tony’s shoes, hide their past lives, worried that people would harshly judge or ostracize. Some men might play the public’s fascination with all things Mafia and craft a back-story suggesting, but not confirming, a dodgy past, designed to incite admiration or fear or both. Tony has undoubtedly utilized both methods of coping. But to friends, business associates, and most of his family, Tony was just a wise-ass, opinionated, Italian from a Boston suburb. But in 2008, as his successes lay shattered around him due to economic forces beyond his control, Tony played the card few have to courage to play. Tony came clean about his past, in a big way.
Over the past three years, Tony Venuti has become one of the most out spoken voices in radio. Bad news for liberals. With a practical, no-nonsense approach to local and national problems, he has established himself as the voice of reason in an often reasonless media sea. Unlike many political analysts, Tony approaches topics from the perspective of “what is” instead of “what should be.” This has made him a target. Tony isn’t a “rich, old, white guy.” He is impossible to box up, label, and dismiss. His background has made him wise to the con games that the government perpetrates and to the manipulations of the media and political mouth pieces. And he tells it like it is….
Tony Venuti represents a growing number of Americans, disenfranchised with the double talk and condescension of the lawyer/politician class that has taken control of the both the power and the message. Preaching a healthy dose of personal responsibility and constitutionally protected rights, his listeners are inspired to take action, participating in campaigns against illegal immigration, Sheriff Dupnik of Tucson, and the public sector unions. But as more and more people tune into Tony’s “Ex-CONservative Radio Show” on Blog Talk Radio, the threats have increased as well. Liberal groups are taking aim against the Tony Venuti’s of the world.
Alinsky counseled his followers, “ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Liberal henchmen have taken this lesson to heart, digging for potential skeletons in the background of anyone who happens to gain some notoriety as a voice opposed to their agenda. And there in lay liberal’s the problem with Tony. His skeletons are out of the closet. How do you ridicule a man who points out his own flaws and failings? How do you silence a man who owns his life and has taken responsibility for his actions? How do you blackmail a man into silence, when his past is the foundation upon which his current success is built?
America is a country founded upon second chances and underdogs. Many of our most treasured folk heroes had been failures who picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and tried again. Ex-cons, bankrupts, drug addicts, rouges and drop outs, some of America’s greatest figures started on their path to greatness from the very dregs of society. And while they may have shared a poor start or abject failure at some point in their lives, they also shared something else, the belief in themselves and in their own ability to change their futures. Tony Venuti lives this message every day. This message, above all others, is the one that liberals are desperate to silence. Liberals only hold power as long as people believe that they can’t do anything for themselves, that they can’t exist without a hand out, that they can’t change their future.
Generally, I use this column to point out wrong doings in politics or to argue a political position. Much of my day is spent dealing with politicians who only want to spin their actions or inactions into something palatable to the people. But every now and then, I meet someone inspirational. Someone who is a game changer. Someone brave enough to stand in the harsh glare of the unkind spotlight. Liberals, you can’t solve a problem like Venuti. But if you listen, really listen to what he has to say, you may find that YOU no longer fit into that liberal box either.