Thursday, August 11, 2011

All politics is local

For a couple of weeks I've been stumped -- what should I write about? The manufactured debt ceiling "crisis"? The Wisconsin recall elections? The crazy people in my home state of Arizona (particularly in Quartzsite -- Google it if you don't know what I'm talking about)? The absolutely crazy people running for the Republican Presidential nomination? The even crazier people who talk about these issues on Fox News every night (believe it or not, even with RupertGate going on in the U.K., they are still with us)?

Nope, instead I'm going to write about something a little more serious -- politics. I can't remember offhand who it was who said "all politics is local" but I'm coming to believe that it's true. Everytime I think of my state senator, Ron Gould (AKA the man who feels that guns are a good idea in both the state senate and on college campuses), I feel a pulsing in my temple, a vein pops out in the side of my neck, and my face gets as red as a pomegranate. So I've decided it's time to try to do something about it.

I was listening to Thom Hartmann the other day and he was discussing how the tea partiers have come to have such an inordinate influence on the Republican party and, by extension, out entire political system recently. He said something that struck me -- the most powerful office in the U.S. is not the Presidency, or a seat in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives, or even a state governor. Nope, it's the local precinct committeeman. You see, those are the people in every district of every state who ultimately decide who goes on the ballot in primary elections. If you look at what the tea party has done since 2009, you'll see that they've gone in at the local level and made sure that their candidates are always on the primary ballots and then they work like hell to get them elected. That friends, is power.

So I went and volunteered at my local Democratic HQ the other day and told them I wanted to run for precinct committeeman. I found out that it's actually very easy -- in fact, the first step is just to be appointed. Tonight I attended a meeting of our local Democrats and trust me, in my area (Mohave County, Arizona) that is a small meeting. My thoughts in the past were that I couldn't make a difference here -- after all, I wouldn't even put an Obama sticker on my car for fear of vandalism. That is how pervasive the right-wingers are here in Kingman. But I've now come to the realization that if every Democrat or progressive out there in the red states and red counties continues to feel that way, then nothing will ever change. The meeting tonight energized me in a way I haven't felt in a long, long time. Writing on a blog is wonderful as is commenting on political bulletin boards. Making telephone calls and going door-to-door for a national candidate is a great thing as well -- but now I'm going to try to get in at the bottom and really try to make a difference.

After all, all politics is local.

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