Reflections and Lessons
I just did time on the inside – of the Republican Party that is. Two years ago, I was appointed a member of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee (FCRCC). It doesn’t seem that long a period, but honestly, the experience taught me more about politics than my B.A. in Political Science degree ever did.
I’ll admit I was completely jaded before entering the local political arena. Most of what I thought I knew about the GOP turned out to be false. And, to my further dismay, many of the Republicans I believed were the right people in office ended up being the same power-hungry, self-serving politicians as the Democrats our party always bashes.
This is somewhat embarrassing to admit, but I use to get nervous, when meeting politicians. They had accomplished so much, with their long list of accolades, obviously admired by a seeming majority of the population. People respected them, and some even feared them because of their political clout and Rolodex contacts.
And then I worked and interacted with them.
I quickly learned to automatically assume politicians are a bunch of self-serving, narcissistic monsters who are completely willing to sell their “principled” soul for an extra $500 in their campaign bank account, Republicans included.
My faith in the Republican Party has decreased in the past two years. Trust me, I don’t like to be a “Debbie downer,” seeking to find the best in every situation, but our party functions in ways that seemingly go against everything it claims to be.
The most disturbing element within the local party is the in-fighting and heated battles of a contested primary election. As much as Republican voters think their votes elect a particular candidate of their choosing, it does not. In fact, party politics dictates who the “chosen” Republican nominee will be, with the party throwing money at their ‘Chosen One’ faster than Democrats spending money on entitlement programs. So, your choice doesn’t matter as much as you think when you are standing in the voting booth on primary election day – the powers that be in Republican Party have already spoken for you.
The deck has already been stacked, and it may or may not play out in your favor. Pretty ironic for being the party of free enterprise, where multiple options are valued and the ability to make your own decisions based on individual needs is so highly revered.
Another valuable lesson I’ve learned is to trust no one. Or at the very least, understand what the specific source of information has to gain by their statements.
Do not trust everything you hear, no matter who or what the source may be – perception is reality. I had preconceived notion of one elected official before my service on the central committee, based on harsh criticism from the media and even other Republicans. Turns out, after working with this person for more than two years, he was one of the most honest, hard-working, respectful members I had the honor serving with on the committee. Make no assumptions about anything or anyone.
And last, but certainly not least, I learned the ultimate place to position yourself in politics is with you and your values, not with the highest ranking party officials in the state party, nor with the senior most elected official in Frederick County. The most liberating and objective place to be in politics is standing alone on your principles, owing no one any favors.
To say the least, my time spent on the FCRCC has given me a different perspective on the party and many of the elected officials within it. And I’m now free to express these opinions now that I am no longer bound to party rules.
Please know, just because I stepped down from the FCRCC doesn’t mean I’m leaving politics or discontinuing my service to the Republican Party. I will continue to shake things up by holding those in our party accountable. Especially now that I’ve seen many in our party play by their own rules.