The first thing that we need to do as a people is stop abdicating the most basic office of our government - the Precinct Representative - and take back control of the local party organizations.
People think "I just can't do any more, I'm too tired and stressed-out." Or they think that all politics is a dirty game full of slimy people. That's because good people have abdicated their responsibility in our democracy by letting the most basic party office go mostly unfilled.
Simply-put, if only bad people go into politics, only bad people will be in politics.
What I find on the ground, being involved in the local party organization, is that you have a few dedicated individuals who are trying to fill the boots of what should be three or four times their number, at least on the Democratic side. That's the case here in DuPage County, at least. I can't speak to what's going on in other regions, but my guess is that you'll find a mix of people who support the status quo corporate agenda in opposition to a few dedicated people trying to do good for their fellow citizens.
We need to take these basic offices back. We need people to get back in and work at the local level for change - because one guy in the White House is going to get his behind handed to him if he has no allies behind him.
Precinct-level Representatives in aggregate can pull on the Party platform, filter information to the officers above them, elect the officers above them, and control the boots-on-the-ground efforts of the local parties. The more Precinct Reps there are working for good campaigns in our elections, the less those campaigns will be forced to depend on corporate campaign donations to hire out what currently non-existent Precinct Reps should be doing. That's right, you can have a direct effect on how dependent political candidates are on donations to get their message out. How?
You, and sometimes volunteers with you, go out walking door-to-door talking to the people in your precinct, letting them know who the candidates are. You hear their concerns and take them back to the campaigns. Believe me, people will value a person they see face-to-face who will listen to their concerns over someone in an ad on the TV that they can't talk to.
If you can't stand what's going on in Washington, contact your local Democratic Organization, and do some volunteering with them. Attend a few of their meetings and get a sense of who they are. If there isn't an appointed or elected representative in your precinct, consider taking on that position. If there is, offer to help the current Precinct Representative in your precinct.
Most precincts are maybe 100 to 200 households in size. Large ones could have up to a couple of thousand people, but they're not too large for one person to walk. The other Precinct Reps who've been at this for awhile will usually help you and explain how things work. Often, you can walk precincts together with another Rep. It is doable, and it is very valuable to the benefit of our society.
In order for the Grass Roots to be truly effective and put an end to this long slide we've been going down, we need a fully-grown root system. We need our fellow citizens to get in there and pitch with us.
Just going out and voting isn't enough. You can't just give Democracy a kiss and send it out the door and expect it to come home for you. You have to give it time, attention, and kindness if you want to feel the warmth of a solid and gracious society standing with you. Like anything else in life, you get out of your government what you put into it.
We can do this. The results of failing to do this are clear all around us, in empty houses and empty storefronts and restaurants, and in tired faces and pink slips skittering down Main Street when the cold winds blow. It's right there in the scent of cigar smoke and clinking champagne glasses coming out of the bright neon windows of those 1% mansions on sprawling grounds hidden from the rest of us by tall trees and heavy security.
We've all done wonders at the jobs the Capitalist Captains of Industry want us to do, but so much so that we've ignored the duties a functioning democracy requires of us, which is to be involved and informed.
The only way the Ship of State is going to sail Main Street's way, is if Main Street gets their hands on the ropes and tiller.
All the best, if you work for it,
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