I pulled into my driveway today I saw the guy was there do to my termite bond inspection. He pointed to the Spartanburg Tea Party magnets on my car door and smiled and said “Ah! Tea Party!”
We chatted, and had the same conversation that you’ve probably all had. How’s it looking for President. Our disappointment that Cain had dropped out. How angry he was, as a combat veteran and Ranger, at the state of our country. The gap between those who pay taxes and those who live off entitlement programs. But then … as I’m wont to do … I narrowed it down. Explained that while the rallies have had their day, it’s time for “boots on the ground” in this battle for our country. That the new fight is to spend the hours and days it takes to knock on doors for a candidate you are volunteering for. To spend 6 hours sitting in a chair labeling and putting stamps on mailers. Driving across the county to staff a candidate appearance.
We agreed that neither of us gave much thought to politics before, and we had similar volunteer backgrounds. I helped run a spay/neuter program for 7 years, he volunteered for Animal Rescue Foundation by building a kennel in his backyard and fostering and vetting dogs. He remarked that it’s disheartening that our votes don’t seem to count these days, and I shared with him the story of how one of our local school board candidates, with a strong commitment to reform, had recently won a school board seat by 3 votes, and that I and two of our tea party folks voted in that election.
We talked about how “they” don’t seem to want to do what it takes to make the changes we need. I explained that by becoming a precinct delegate and then a county and state delegate that “WE” can become “THEY” and set the direction for our party. He admitted that he was not even registered to vote. So I set him a mission … between now and the end of the year he was to register so he could vote in the June 2012 primaries … and no backing out just because he didn’t want to be called for jury duty! Which, he admitted was the major reason he hadn’t registered yet :) We kinda agreed that complaining without being in position to do anything about it wasn’t a good strategy.
So he took my tea party business card, said he’d get on our email list right away. He also wants to check out the RINO Hunt since he lives in Greenville/works on Spartanburg.
So … one thing that I’ve found applies to volunteers in both the animal advocacy field and the tea party field is to give people a “task” … a “next step”. A belief that if they take action, they can make things change. Registering to vote is step one. Getting on email list step two. Finding a candidate and volunteering is step three. I don’t even know the guy’s name, but I envision that either Harry Kibler or I have found a new partner in liberty. I can see him being the “go to” guy for one of our statehouse candidates in the Spring.
Let me give you a task. Find someone between now and the end of the year, have a similar conversation, give them a vision for impacting change instead of just being angry. Chat with them about their next step.
Cross post from Spartanburg Tea Party