Ed Note: Earlier this morning Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords – AZ and as many as twelve others were shot in front of a Safeway grocery store in Tuscon. As of this writing at least five have died as a result of their injuries. The status of Rep. Giffords is unknown. Giffords regularly held public events in places such as this. This is a very sad day for our country. Please keep the families of all the victims in your thoughts and prayers.
Congratulations to Chip Forrester on his re-election to Chair the Tennessee Democratic Party.
As I noted yesterday, we have a lot of work ahead of us. In order to do this work we have to make a conscious decision as Democrats to come together and commit ourselves to the ideas we hold dear, not just give lip service to them. No one can make this decision for us. It is a personal decision that we, as individuals, must make for the good of the party, regardless of who the Chair is.
It is my sincere hope that Wade Munday and Matt Kuhn, who spent considerable time and resources running for this position will continue to commit themselves to the Democratic cause despite the outcome of the election. Their leadership, in this regard, will be a signal to their supporters that despite a sometimes contentious cycle there is a place for all of us in and around the party. We need their leadership to support the actions of all the Democratic institutions that support our candidates. I look forward to their future involvement in the Party.
There are lots of ways that you, dear reader, can get involved with your state party. First, sign up for an account on the TNDP website. This will allow you to connect with Democrats from all over the state. Further, there are many groups, from issue groups to local and regional groups that use the site to help promote their events. You can even use your Facebook or Google login to do it.
If you’re not into the social media aspect, you can still sign up for emails from the party. The form is on the right of just about every page on the site.
Giving money is a good way to help the party help local parties and candidates. The party spends a good deal of money on candidate support tools. You can either give a one time donation, or a monthly recurring donation.
Finally, if you really want to know what’s going on, get in touch with your Executive Committee Members. These folks help guide the party and can be a valuable resource as you become more involved.
As a party, we have a lot of work to do. Later this year our County Parties will begin their reorganization. In order to ensure these party organs are functioning properly to support local, state, and federal candidates we must commit ourselves to increase our involvement in them. The first step is understanding the reorganization process in your county. The TNDP website has contact information and county bylaws for most county parties. Familiarizing yourself with these bylaws is the best way to prepare yourself if you intend to run for a position on your County Party Executive Committee.
Some county parties are more open than others. Some are more involved than others. You need not be a member of an Executive Committee to be involved in the party process. I’ve never served on the SCDP Executive Committee, though I do either attend meetings or speak to members about the meetings just to keep up with what’s going on. Most parties meet monthly, so it’s not like there’s a huge time commitment associated with keeping up. It will also help you find ways to use your talents in the service of the party and candidates.
Even if you don’t have the time to dedicate to your local party, you can still give your next most valuable resource…money. Most county parties don’t have much money. In fact, time is the greatest resource most of them bring to the table. That said, giving a recurring donation of $10/mo. may not seem like that much to you, but to many parties it can be a game changer especially it it’s multiplied by 20 or 30 people giving at that level. The easiest way to do this is through Act Blue, though I suspect many county parties may not be set up with them. Setup is easy, and if County chairs understood there was money in it for them, I’m sure they would jump at the opportunity.
Get it Going
You can do all the things I mentioned and still feel like you want to do more. Great! The opportunities are really only limited by your imagination. Host a block party, or just a party that serves as a fundraiser for one of the groups mentioned above or another Democratic group. Get out and register voters. Voter registration forms are available here. Heck, you can just talk to your friends about issues impacting your community and take that conversation back to one of your Democratic elected officials or Executive Committee members. The opportunities are endless.
At the end of the day its on us, the folks who call ourselves Democrats, to build a better party. Democratic institutions from the Federal level right down to the local level depend on us. We can’t wait for them to magically find us. If we want to build a better Democratic Party here in Tennessee, we have to take the first step.
Let’s do it.