Persuasion: the 99% or the 1%?

Since the Occupy movement began, they have offered the choice between the 99% and the 1% as a metaphoric dividing line. Removing all consideration of Real Percentage, the point is clear: Most aren’t while only a few are. I’m just now asking that question about persuasion. Is persuasion for the 99% or the 1%?

If I’m selling ice to the Aleuts or sand to the Sauds, then, yes, persuasion is for the 99%. Hear the band strike up strains of the Music Man in the background as I explain why the 99% needs these instruments, these uniforms for the big parade to take back the streets of America. With 76 trombones we can make this country ours again.

Just sign here on this contract for the instruments and uniforms, and hey, I’ll throw in the lessons for free.

But, then, that’s not really persuasion for the 99%, is it? That’s what persuasion for the 1% would do to everyone else.

Persuasion should wrap itself in the 99% flag, but any thoughtful analysis reveals, the 99% don’t want or understand persuasion because they in all their incarnations never change the Other Guy; they just want a parade. Persuasion is a 1% activity. People who define the TACTs then run the Box and Play until they get the Change are always the 1%, the ones who see, want, and do more than the 99%. The 99% is always about themselves and keeping what they want; the 1% is always about the Other Guy and making a Change.

P.S. The Music Man is a sweet and charming musical about a persuasion maven, Professor Harold Hill. The show romanticizes the ruthlessness of Changing Other Guys and reverses to a happy ending where the Professor switches sides from the 1% to the shiny, happy 99%. In between, however, is nothing but persuasion.