As I explained in another post a few months back, for many years I’ve toyed with the insane idea of running for public office. I think most people who spend much time thinking about civic issues, sooner or later conclude that they could do a better job than the partisan hacks and corporate servants who now occupy our state and national legislatures.
A big problem – after more than a century of dominance by just two political parties – is that our ballot access rules make it all but impossible for the average citizen to run for public office outside of existing party structures. Adding insult to injury is the fact that in order to obtain support from either party and their wealthy donors, a candidate must fit certain criteria just to be taken seriously. There are several, but foremost on the list appears to be a willingness to prostitute one’s mother or sell one’s offspring into servitude. In short we only get to choose from candidates who are carefully vetted and proven sociopaths.
So a few days ago I got fed up with ‘business as usual’ and started looking for options and ways to make a difference. The obvious place to start seemed to be my local county party. So I paid a visit to my county Democratic Party’s website, and let me tell you, I was sorely disappointed. The total lack of activity was truly depressing.
Now I realize that I live in a predominantly “red”county, but that doesn’t mean we should just give up and hand them the keys to the kingdom. I’m pretty sure that’s not what the county leadership intends to do, but in this age where people are interconnected in ways unimaginable even twenty years ago, the Randolph County Democratic Party seems content to live in the past and let the world pass them by.
Here’s what I mean.
The most recent news on the local party’s website is an announcement about the Senior Democrats monthly meeting, posted in August of last year. This year, 2012, is an election year, and I would think that by now any serious political party would be actively seeking candidates and funding through every avenue available to them, but I don’t see anything of that nature. Are these folks even in the game, I wondered?
I decided that maybe I was being too hasty in my judgement, so I clicked a link and checked the contacts page. There I found a listing of my county officers, with email addresses for three of the four listed. That’s a start, but today it’s simply not enough.
Social media isn’t a passing fad you can lay low and wait out; it is reality and it isn’t going away. Just like our Neandethal cousins in the past, you either evolve or you become extinct, and it appears that the Randolph County Democratic Party is facing an extinction event. I noted that several leadership positions appear vacant, and with this level of visible activity, it’s really not that surprising. Are we really that weak in Randolph County? Really?
My wife did a bit of research while I sat here screaming at the screen, and she discovered that while Republican voters in this county outnumber registered Democrats by a two to one margin, there are almost as many unaffiliated voters as there are Democrats. That tells me there is potential here for growth. There may not be enough of us to take back the county government, but that doesn’t mean we should cede the field of battle without a fight. No Republican (or Democrat for that matter) should ever run for office unopposed.
I dug around a little more in the website and found a list of auxiliary groups, but only the ‘senior’ faction listed a contact person. From the lack of social media presence it’s pretty obvious there aren’t many young people active in the local party, so it’s no real surprise there was no point of contact for the younger folks, but there was also no contact for the women’s auxiliary. There’s no excuse not to have at least somebody listed for either causcus, if only to recruit new members.
Are we really in that bad of shape?
In my attempt to find any presence for my local Democratic Party on social media I did eventually find a Facebook page for the Democratic Women of Randolph County. Other than a news item that someone, not a woman nor from Randolph County, posted this week, the most recent item on that page was posted in 2010 – over a year ago!
Zero activity equals zero interest in my and most other Internet savvy minds. Hell, I created a page for this website less than a month ago and it has more likes than the page in question. Come on ladies, lead the charge! Get active and make some noise! The men obviously haven’t got the time or inclination.
Look, I didn’t set out intending to bash anyone’s efforts, and I mean all this in the most sincere spirit of constructive criticism. I’ve never been inclined to join much of anything, but today I find myself wanting to join the fight to save my state and my nation from the terrible fate that awaits us all if we don’t change direction.
Our national parties are both sold out, and at this point it seems they have almost no other choice. The highest bidders have always made the rules and picked the winners, and the highest bidders today are corporate oligarchs so far removed from reality that, whether they meant to or not, they have set this nation on a collision course with fascism and tyranny.
I always heard that the path into politics starts at the local level, but with a local party that appears so totally disinterested and disorganized, I don’t see much in the way of opportunities to serve, much less any point. I don’t like to stir the pot, but somebody needs to shake things up, and I’m an agitator if I’m anything.
The Democratic Party of Randolph County is in danger of becoming totally irrelevant, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Democrats in North Carolina outnumber Republicans by a strong majority. This may not be the case in Randolph County, one of the most Republican leaning regions of the state, but it’s unacceptable for our county party to appear so utterly ineffective. Nothing breeds apathy like apathy, and so far that’s all I really see from the outside looking in.
Have I reached out to anyone from the local party yet? No, I haven’t, and I probably should have prior to posting this, but writing is my thought process, and I think best when I think aloud.
I have no money to donate and I don’t much care for sugar coated truth. That combination pretty much guarantees me a losing spot in any popularity contest. I don’t do canvasing or cold calls, and I damn sure don’t beg for money. What do I have to offer? An opinion and a functional knowledge of rudimentary social networking. I’m not the best writer in the world by a long shot (Have you SEEN my typos?), but I manage to hold my own most of the time.
So here I am Randolph County Dems; I’m not your knight in shining armor, but at the moment I don’t see anyone else stepping up to try and put us back on the political map. Call me sometime (or email), I think we’d make a cute couple.