Former Obama speechwriter Kevin Samy and filmmaker Chris Roessner presented the Dog Whistle Project. to Ohio University College Democrats Tuesday night. The initiative was created to combat political doublespeak, which the speakers alleged is often used to promote a hidden agenda.
Samy and Roessner started the organization partly because of the rise of Milo Yiannopoulos and his speeches to college students across the United States.
“He is able to maneuver and say hateful stuff under the guise of freedom of speech. Who here is against freedom of speech? Nobody right? It’s the power of dog whistling,” Samy said.
“Dog whistling” is another name for political doublespeak. Roessner said this exists on both sides of the political spectrum. He went on to explain the concept is based on two terms: idealogues and institutionalists. Institutionalists are known for ideas and problem solving, while idealogues are often known as agenda pushers.
“Idealogues commodify anger, and they sell it to you. They sell you your own anger and it’s very lucrative. They work people up into a frenzy,” Roessner said. “They are not interested in the mess of democracy. In fact they don’t participate at all. What they are interested in is identity.”
Both speakers agreed there are three important phases to opening up honest dialogue between opposing parties. The first is “go on,” the second is “how so” and the third is “are you sure?” In facilitating these open-ended questions, ideology will hopefully be turned into policy while also assisting the individual with validating their opinion.
College Dems Vice President Anthony Eliopoulos said the event’s topic was particularly relevant as the Democratic Party moves forward after a difficult election cycle.
“They brought about a new topic that we haven’t really had a chance to discuss,” Eliopoulos said. “And I think it can create a way that we can sort of, as (the) Democratic Party, fix some of the things that went wrong and really bring about some better odds for the next election.”