On September 12th, 2009 a crowd estimated at 500,000 to 2,000,000 gathered in the nation’s capitol to make their wishes known to Congress. They wanted irresponsible spending stopped. They wanted an end to unconstitutional legislation. They were ignored. Everyone I spoke to who took part in that rally labeled it one of the most personally inspiring events of their lifetime. Unfortunately, they hadn’t gone to Washington for a “mountain top” experience. They went to effect political change. At the time, it was all people could talk about. Today, just a few months later, I hear next to nothing about it.
By contrast, in the middle part of the last decade, a small number of wealthy men quietly flipped the state and federal delegations of one state from Republican to Democrat and did it without leaving home. Tim Gill and a few others dropped $10 million dollars into a couple of consecutive election cycles in Colorado. They, too, wanted to effect political change. No doubt many questioned their sanity and tactics. Those who ignored them did so to their detriment. Today, years later, I still hear about what is known as “the Colorado model”. Not because it moves men’s hearts; but because it changed a state.
The bottom line is “giving” is more effective than “going” – at least in politics.
These two stories from the past, one success – one failure, illuminate what’s at stake in the present. Let’s assume 1,000,000 people marched on Washington, DC last September spending 48-72 hours and $500 each to do so. Simple math reveals a pool of 48,000,000 to 72,000,000 man hours and a whopping $500,000,000 in cash. That’s enough to put 1 to 1.5 million man hours into phone banking, envelope stuffing, and door knocking to go along with $10,000,000.00 in giving to candidates in each state in the Union! In a single election cycle, in all 50 states, we can duplicate activity proven in one state to produce the political change we want.
I’m not saying marching on DC is a bad thing. In fact, I believe the 9-12 March helped solidify the national legitimacy of our political opposition to the agenda of those who would steal away our Liberty. It brought us together in a needed way. But it failed to put Government in its place.
There are already calls to return to DC in 2010 in even bigger numbers and to gather for a variety of causes. In this election year, I think that’s a mistake. Take the $500 you would spend and the hours you would invest and spend and invest them at home. Find and support – with your time, talent and treasure – candidates and organizations that represent you. Not only will that produce the political success we went to Washington to accomplish, it will produce the “band of brothers” relationships we’ll treasure for years as well.