I had an interesting weekend…well Saturday at least. Like many, I’ve been greatly disappointed in the ‘Pub establishment at all levels. Most of my ire is focused towards the Washington leadership, slightly less so at the state establishment. With those sentiments in mind, I’ve been looking and searching for other conservatives who feel like me. I thought I’d found one such group.
One of the problems we conservatives have is that we’re divided. If you analyze the 2012 election results, you’ll see that more than two million “conservative” voters stayed home this year. Those missing voters had an impact at the federal and state level. The primary problem appears to have been the disbelief and rejection by those voters of the establishment ‘Pub leadership, platform and candidate. A portion of those voters dropped out due to the man-handling of opposition delegates during the Miami convention.
We all laughed when the democrat party ignored their delegates on reinstating God into the dem platform. No one laughed when the ‘Pub establishment added more constraints on grassroots organizations with the goal to minimalize the power of those delegates.
So I and others have been looking for conservative groups whose aim is to rebuild the party—to create coalitions, to unite the various splinter groups, to build a convergence of thought to strengthen the party and to reinstate, to renew and merge, our views with those of the establishment. The establishment has run rough-shod over internal opposition too long. It’s time to force change. With those thoughts in mind, I drove to Columbia to meet with some folks whom I thought may be one such group.
There were only a dozen people overall. Many had driven similar distances as did I. A couple were local drop-ins who sought more information. The group leaders had some slick flyers stating their purpose and vision and copies of the state by-laws. I scanned the material and found nothing therein that I opposed. In fact, from the documentation, I thought my search was over.
I was mistaken.
I followed my usual methodology…I listened. The groups was clearly divided by age—the “thirty-somethings” and those in their fifties and older. I was encouraged. The age spread would provide a good mix.
Then I listed to the rhetoric and doubts began to appear. The younger and more numerous members were clearly frustrated Ron Paul supporters. Some of the older members were too. As the discussion continued it became clear that the purpose of this group, contrary to the printed documentation, was not toward convergence with other conservative groups nor with the Tea Party organizations.
Some of the older members invoked the Reagan/Goldwater rule, “Never speak ill of another republican.” The more vocal speakers agreed, reluctantly, to abide by that rule and broke it within minutes.
Instead of soliciting ideas for moving forward, the meeting was quickly devolving into complaints about ‘Pub state officials and other conservatives groups. Instead of building consensus, some attendees used the meeting to promote personal political views. Rather than allowing the meeting to continue to slide, a member asked to shelve discussion and elect members.
I was not surprised to see the new leadership rest with the more vocal, younger members. I didn’t have issue with that. They were more plentiful and demographics ruled. Someone nominated me for Secretary and I quickly declined. I had not yet decided if this was a group that I was searching for and wanted to join.
The meeting broke up after two hours giving me plenty of time to drive home and do some research. I wanted to compare the written goals and purposes of the national group with the personal views of those attending the meeting. It was easy, most were on Facebook and I could visit their pages and see exactly what and who they supported.
My fears were confirmed. Instead of building support among other grassroots groups, a number of the members were seeding discord. No coalition building but creating more discord and divergence. They claimed to support freedom and liberty…as long as it didn’t interfere with their pet positions.
The group was not for me. I wish them well and I hope they return to those principals and goals they supposedly followed. However, I doubt that will happen.
All-in-all, it was an interesting day. I did meet a few like-minded folks and I was able to meet some I’ve only conversed with via the internet. For now, I’ll continue my search.