For the last few months in my local TEA Party, we’ve been talking about the upcoming elections and how we should be involved in them. Though we are expressly non-partisan, our views are most closely represented by the Republican Party, so that is where our discussions have been focused. We were taught about how the process works, how voting is done, and how our precincts function among other things. Each time we met volunteers would be called for as various needs were brought up. I sat there taking it all in, not sure how or even if I wanted to get involved on the party level.
I have not always been happy with the Republicans, particularly at the national level. Yet when it comes time to vote, where else am I going to go? I believe there are more than enough principled people in the Republican Party that we can move it in the right direction rather than try to form something entirely new that doesn’t have any real power. We can only do that by participating in the process.
So when the call went out once more for delegates to participate in the local district convention and go to the state convention in June, I decided to at least investigate the possibility. This is the place where the party platform is created and where state party leaders are chosen. I began asking questions of people who had been involved. I looked at the online material provided by the Texas Republican Party. I watched a mock district convention video they have on the site. The only remaining concern I had was based on that video. They agreed not to read resolutions since they were visible on screen. What if something like that was done in my district? What if printed material was presented that I could not access? I wanted to be able to make informed decisions and I didn’t really want to put the hard-working organizers to more trouble making accommodations for me. I went ahead and asked the question. No definitive answer was forthcoming, but it turned out not to be a problem.
I was encouraged to come, so I filled out the delegate application sent to me via email and ended up at the district convention. Everything was read aloud, and I am sure I could have requested any clarification I needed. A couple of times I almost got up the nerve to speak out on something, but there was no need. I think next time I’ll be more likely to do that. From time to time proceedings would be interrupted by a candidate for office swinging through on his or her multi district convention campaign run. This is common and provides a way to get some exposure to lower level candidates you might not know anything about otherwise.
I will be involved at this level from now on, and I think I’d like to be part of the resolutions committee. That’s the first stop for anything that someone wants on the platform. In a couple of months I’ll be going to the state convention, and I’m looking forward to the experience. I think this is the right approach rather than trying to start something entirely new. If you haven’t read the platform, go here and do so. I can’t speak for other states, but in Texas we’re on the right track. When I read the platform I decided I wanted to be part of keeping it that strong.