I wish I had taken the time to write down my experiences sooner, but I feel like I’m still catching up on everything I didn’t do that weekend. Life goes on and doesn’t stop to let you catch up. I went to the Republican Party of Texas state convention as a delegate from my district for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It was an interesting experience. As expected I did lots of voting, but I think I did a lot more learning. I have a lot more to learn, and I look forward to the opportunity to do so.
I don’t think i know anyone who loves to go to meetings. I’ve had a theory for some time that there comes a point at which adding participants to a meeting begins to decrease the effectiveness of that meeting inversely as more are added. Being in a meeting with over 6,000 people hasn’t done much to challenge my theory. There’s no intelligence test before someone takes a microphone, and there’s no test of parliamentary procedure knowledge. I have to credit our chairman, Steve Munisteri, for handling the madness well. I’ve heard it was actually better than in previous years. Maybe there is something our local chapters could do to educate delegates a little better before they hit the floor.
Another thing I learned is that the real decision making happens in the committees. That’s true at both the state and local levels. It is the local resolutions committee who decides what makes it to the district level conventions, and it is the platform committee who decides how much of that ends up the platform that we all end up voting on. Though anyone can submit changes from the floor, there are practical limits to how much of what is presented can be changed.
We have a very good platform. I would have changed a few things, but there’s nothing there that I can’t abide. Therefore, I am not bothered much by the way things went, but I suspect a lot of others might be. By the time we got to the platform we were in a late session. I didn’t check the time but I figure it was around 10:00 p.m. before we even got started. We fussed over the immigration plank changes for most of the remaining session time, then someone moved we accept the whole thing as written, including the changes we just made. The motion was seconded and and overwhelmingly affirmed. Thus, what the committee did went largely unchallenged.
The caucuses were interesting for other reasons. We elected various people to represent us in different ways. The positions are fuzzy to me now, but I remember thinking that sometimes the reasons given by people who spoke for a particular nominee were specious. I suppose I understand rewarding the party faithful. I’m glad they are thought of as nice people. I would certainly appreciate testaments to their character. If the job carries some prestige and doesn’t require much else, I can even support sending someone to do it out of appreciation or good will. However, if they are being asked to represent me, I want more relevant information. I want some assurance that they are going to vote the way I would vote. That’s the idea of representation. Some of those were committee picks. Others were nominated on the spot, though not necessarily without forethought.
There again I see the importance of the committees. A delegate selection committee at the district level was responsible for naming the slate of delegates in the first place, though again anyone could have applied at our local convention and I seem to recall that a couple did. at that level all that is required is that you breathe and vote Republican, but this should be our first line of defense against influences that are contrary to what we say we stand for.
I found the whole process intriguing. Unless they decide to run me off I’ll be back again next time and hopefully take a greater roll. If you have the time and the will, what has come to be called the “grass roots” is the place to be. We complain about the intrenched party leadership, particularly at the national level. If all we do is complain we are going to continue to be disappointed. Texas is a pretty conservative state. We’re probably never going to be entirely satisfied with what comes out at the national level, but if we don’t work to change it, we never will.
If you agree that our country is headed in the wrong direction both economically and socially and that we must turn around quickly and completely, I hope you’ll join me in the fight. I don’t know what form that will take even for me. I don’t believe many of our traditional methods work so I am reluctant to perpetuate them. I believe we’ve got to come up with ways to build relationships before our message will be heard. I don’t know about you, but calling me in the middle of dinner or interrupting any part of my day for that matter to give me a sales pitch makes me less likely to buy. That’s the opposite of what we want.
Now I speak to Christians specifically. We can’t fix this with politics. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do what we can in the political arena so that conditions are as favorable as possible for the triumph of good over evil, but it does mean we’ve got to do more. We live in a country that is governed (at least by design) by its citizens. If we are corrupt, then our government will be corrupt. It falls to the ones who know the Truth to share that Truth at every opportunity. If we hope to save our nation, then God must save its people first. We are His messengers. In all that we do, let us never lose sight of that commission. Otherwise, nothing else we do will matter.