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The Tentacle


April 22, 2008

Keeping the Basket Full

Farrell Keough

I have the great privilege of enjoying a variety of friends. It is likely that my ability to keep and keep up with these people is more a tribute to my wife, (She Who Must Be Obeyed), than to my sterling personality.

 

To that end, I have been thinking about and discussing various relationships with some of these people. For instance, the Frederick County and State of Maryland Republicans encompass a wide variety of people. But, are they really working towards keeping those relationships strong? Many of us get email blasts that keep us informed of issues and might mass up a quick surge of action. While those are good and often necessary, does it really create the relationship we need?

 

I would posit that if you ask most conservatives you know if they have attended any of the state or county Republican functions, you would either get a blank stare or worse, a grimace.

 

This will not be a missive on what is wrong with the party, or what we need to do to amass real change and solutions. Lots of people sell books or subscriptions to their website to present you with that information. Rather, my desire is to spur a desire to become involved and, more importantly, tend to our relationships.

 

We are all very busy. Those times we make plans to attend functions, meet with friends, or even watch a special program on TV are precious. Time is the one commodity we have which cannot be saved and only gives us a return on investment when we spend it.

 

I am probably one of the leaders in wasting this precious commodity by sitting at my computer, or filling my time with tasks that do not have a great return on investment. As I said, I am fortunate enough to have married someone who knows and works on keeping the real important relationships alive and well.

 

In short, nurturing a relationship does not necessarily come naturally to many of us. But, if we do not make sure we stay on top of these relationships, they will, like teeth which are ignored, drop away. And keeping these relationships alive requires interest in those who form these relationships.

 

For instance, a number of our elected representatives have shown little interest in keeping contact with a large segment of their constituencies. They may say the right things during an election year. They may show up at the important events and shake our hands. But, when it comes to garnering opinions or determining what is truly important to us regular people, they are difficult to find.

 

Of course, when we consider that one person has no possible ability to stay in contact with the multitudes they represent, what mechanism do they have to regularly keep in touch? Answer: the Party operations.

 

The state and county Republican Party is – and should be – our method to keep up-to-date and influence our leaders. But who is the Republican Party?

 

Actually, any registered Republican is a part; but we all know that in truth, only 5% of the people do 95% of the work. And, it is hard to think of a more thankless job. Those in positions of leadership are often unknown, behind the scenes people who are doing the best they can.

 

So, it is incumbent upon us to work at becoming involved. That can be as easy as attending the upcoming Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner, (Wednesday, April 23rd at 6 P. M. at Dutch’s Daughter) all the way up to working towards being elected to the various central committees. And, herein lays some of the difficulties.

 

As time goes on, we all fall prey to following the same old tried and true methods of retaining relationships. But, it seems these tried and true methods are losing their vigor. We are a minority party within this state and it is showing more and more.

 

Our message has become one more of whining about how tough we have it, than one of energizing our existing party faithful and bringing in new people based upon our proven values.

 

For instance, meetings at 8 A.M. or 6 P.M. during the week are very difficult for our transient populace. Most of our membership works outside the area and with traffic, there is no possibility of making many of the regularly scheduled functions. We need a mechanism to either inform those who could not attend just what took place, or rethink scheduling and whether it is meeting the needs of the general populace.

 

Advertising events should also be high on the list. Both the Democrat and Republican parties share equally in how poorly many events are promoted. Tiny little ads in the paper a day or two before an event will not promise a sizeable crowd.

 

And don’t even begin to talk about how soon we need to schedule a speaker – we live in the midst of some of the most respected and exciting Republicans, but they too have busy schedules and require much more than short notice to attend.

 

Finally, we need to start thinking about and remembering the next generation! A friend of mine was talking with a recent college graduate and this person had an hilarious theory: today’s youth join the Republican Party as a means of rebellion toward their parents.

 

True or not, it is the fodder for some pretty comical thought. But, getting back to the point, we have an influential and sizeable organization already in place to build a young and upcoming Republican generation: the Maryland Federation of College Republicans.

 

This is a relatively new organization, but they have already shown tremendous promise. Voicing opposition to the tax increase including rallies, Letters to the Editor of various newspapers, and letters to the elected officials; testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee against in-state tuition for illegal aliens; and even traveling to Virginia to nurture that relationship and help in the legislative campaigning.

 

This group has been chaired by Ashley Barbera (ash_barbera@umbc.edu) and its ranks have grown to nearly 1,000 students from across the state. This is an example of new thinking about an old problem; building and developing a vibrant Republican Party.

 

Take some time and drop Ms. Barbera a line to both show support and begin to develop your own, new relationship. And for goodness sake, come and attend the Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner! We all need each other and we need to build up this Grand Ol’ Party.

 

fkeough@hotmail.com



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