Monday, March 15, 2010

2010: A New Beginning of the Spotsylvania County Republican Committee! Part 1 of 2: A Few Reflections from the Vice-Chair

From the eyes of the 2008-2010 SCRC vice-chairman… that's me.

Over the past two years, the Spotsylvania County Republican Committee (SCRC) has been blessed to have a prosperous track record and a growing and great collection of volunteers. I hope this will not change and will continue its progress. (By the way, the pictures in this post are a hodgepodge of snapshots I've collected at various events to demonstrate the many things we do throughout the year on the committee. It's not all just election-day campaigning. It's SO much more! They're in no particular order...)

On April 1, 2010 we will vote for a new chairman and executive staff starting at 7pm at Riverbend High School. Three men are seeking the chairman's seat but the one who gets 50% +1 of the vote will assume the job the next day. He'll need a strong and dedicated vice-chairman to help him succeed. This blog entry is dedicated to that person and to those who he or she would come in contact with in the next two years.

This committee has grown from just a few dozen regular attending members in 2007 to nearly a hundred— with more new faces coming to each meeting in 2010 than ever before! Growth has come especially since the 2008 presidential defeat when I think it started to actually “sink in” that our country is indeed in trouble and the “someone” who should “do something” about it is staring at us right in the bathroom mirror.

These new faces didn't just happen to stumble across the committee though (well I hope not anyway.) For the most part, they were somehow touched in their lives by some program or outreach that we've done either in between election seasons or during them. Some were contacted by an active or passive member who participates in our committee at some level and invited, or they might have just simply "Googled" us. Either way... the groundwork was already laid by "someone else" to get them to the next committee meeting where they became enticed enough to come back again and join.

While serving as the SCRC vice-chairman, I’ve accepted a lot of grunt-work duties and tried to make lemonade from the lemons. In retrospect, it was all worth it, and I can hardly believe it’s already been 23 months since I was sworn in! I’ve been an integral part in fundraising, committee promotion, recruiting, marketing, blogging, campaigning, organizing volunteers, lobbying, organizing huge events, phone banking, sign building, t-shirt making, social networking, advising elected officials, liaison work within the business community, street activism both locally and nationally, making headlines … and making new friends too! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg… and I’m only the vice-chair!

Our chairman does MUCH more than this, but I’ll get to him in the next post. Stay tuned.

The SCRC is bountiful and blossoming in 2010 despite our community, state and national setbacks— most of which are financially related, but also spirit-related too. I’ve talked to literally hundreds of folks in the region about their fears and realities in life and what role that government leadership and politics plays in them. I believe most would agree, when an honest conversation can be had— free from party rhetoric, name-calling and mud-slinging— that the government presence in our daily lives has expanded from a potential presence to a seemingly permanent one.

No one I know on either side of the aisle feels that they are freer and have more opportunities than they did 10 or 20 years ago. Most feel like they are one step closer to being royal subjects than free to do as they wish in a free country. No this isn’t all Obama’s fault— this is a growing epidemic in all levels of government that started long before the "anointed one" took the helm. If there's anyone to blame, we have only ourselves for not becoming more involved in who's running our government, and our lives, at ALL levels... from the HOA to the school board, the board of supervisors, the state we live in and most certainly the federal levels of leadership.

As vice-chair, I get a lot of emails asking about what we do and what is expected of our members. I love getting them! I try to get others involved and activated any time I can. This is the only way to get true community involvement in OUR government right??

Across the board, as I typically get around to what amounts to a recruiting speech for one conservative cause or another, the endgame responses I get usually contain, “I don’t have the free time”, “I wouldn’t be good at that sort of thing”, “someone else will do it won’t they?” “I don’t follow that sort of stuff (politics)”, “that’s what I elect other people for so they can worry about these things” and so forth.

BUT once in a while, I am fortunate to find a diamond in the rough, often with groups of younger people who aren’t as committed to the chains of adult responsibility yet; and we seem to be able to move mountains together with only the slightest direction and leadership. These are the moments I live for. These are the moments that make volunteering for a Republican Committee worth while… when I realize I’m not alone and I don’t have to do all the heavy lifting myself. There's actually "someone else" to help me!

Thanks to the committees I’ve served on or the groups I've given a talk or speech with, I’ve made friends that I know I’ll be in touch with for many years to come. Not all of them staunch Republicans either! Surprisingly, I’ve learned that not every Republican is an angel, and not every Democrat is a demon as MSNBC and FOX would have us all believe. I actually met a staunch Democrat named Angel working for a conservative Republican's campaign though. My head is still spinning from that one but it did answer the question, "can't we all just get along?"

YES WE CAN! (...MOST LIKELY)

In good economic times, it’s very hard to convince people that they need to join up with a conservative political committee to “keep what we have” and fend off those who would take from us and redistribute our collective wealth to others who don’t want to work for it. After all, there’s no immediate threat to anyone and it sounds like “boogeyman” talk. Folks get complacent quickly it seems. I’m supposing it’s because they didn’t help out then, and things are good for them— so why change?

When tides turn and the county is scraping for cash to provide the same level of service at the same time our families are losing jobs, while interest rates go up and credit gets scarce; people tend to look out for themselves first and leave the politicing to “the other guys”! This too is a seemingly impossible time to ask a neighbor to invest their time and resources in something greater than self, when they are legitimately concerned that they can’t provide food for their families.

In the past two years we’ve shared in good times and bad. We’ve had both victories and defeats both locally and nationally as a political party. But you’re reading this blog now and hopefully have been for a few years now since we started it, so I’m going to assume you know this already.

CHANGE WE CAN ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN!

I say all this to be brutally honest to the next vice-chair… to do this job right, you have to DEDICATE yourself to it, or you’ll let a lot of people down. I’m a firm believer in term-limits from a citizen-run government, or quasi-government group. It’s time for that “someone else” to step up and take the job, and I’m hoping that YOU will consider doing so. Yes YOU!

Victory favors the bold, but elections are won by those WHO SHOW UP.

Will you be the next SCRC vice-chairman or will you trust that “someone else” will do it for you?

If you won't step up that far to actually do the job, I'm asking as a favor to that person who does... please volunteer your time to the committee and its related causes that you're called upon to help with. If you can't do that for some reason, please send a financial donation in your absence to lighten the load of those fantastic volunteers with whom I've come to admire and respect. They don't usually get a fancy title, but they ARE doing the heavy lifting for ALL OF US.

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