“It’s just a drop in the bucket, but that’s how buckets are filled.” J. Corey
From the Chair- The Buncombe Republican Party faces a daily challenge – How do we effectively counter an opposition party that outnumbers us 2 to 1?
It may surprise you to know that this is one of the easier parts of our job. We’ve got some caring hearts, positive spirits, creative minds and working hands that are pretty good at challenging the built-in limitations of those we like to call “Brand-X.” Though it’s not always easy to function as a quiet, productive and value-driven conservative in Asheville, let’s just say we live in a target rich environment that never ceases to disappoint our absurdity meter. Anti-circumcision protestors – really?
Nope, our most effective antagonists don’t wear blue – they come in red. We have a few too many people who find satisfaction in kicking over Buncombe’s Republican bucket. Here’s a quick list of some of their kicking styles-
- Holding grudges with the half-life of plutonium
- Seeking and cultivating drama everywhere but at a theater
- Pushing anger buttons – theirs or others
- Playing “gotcha” with or without supportive data
- Needing an audience and running over folks to get one
- Mattering through malice and mischief over more productive approaches
- Indulging mood swings as a form of personal entertainment
- Gossiping and criticizing as a hobby
- Wearing a cynical view like a pair of sunglasses
We could go on, but you get the picture. There are a lot of folks who spend more time, energy and resources trying to kick our bucket than fill it. In a progressively hostile political environment like Asheville, we need something better – something directing our precious and limited energy toward the real bad guys – not one another.
Case in point – our team of elected officers and other leadership roles is comprised of 13 people. When I took office a year ago, I loaned each of them a Silver Dollar. “Recognize that there are two sides to this coin – your job is to be a constructive “edgy” leader that brings those sides together.” “Unity is our mission and your behavior is key to our success – please use that coin to remind you of your important role.” “I have one too, and if you see me violate that covenant, tell me and I’ll hand it over – will you embrace the same standard?”
So far no one has come up with a legitimate reason to ask for my coin and I haven’t chosen to ask anyone for their coin. Were I to do so, less than half of our leadership team would be carrying that loaned silver dollar.
Ironically, some of those coins would come from the pockets of those who have encourage me to take coins from others and yet remained somewhat oblivious to their own significant failings. Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” for good reasons.
All this is to say that if we are going to keep the Republican bucket in Buncombe County filled with constructive enterprise; creative actions; good will; and conservative driven values countering the harms of our opposition – we’ve got to have a whole lot more people filling our bucket than working hard to kick it over.
Why do people like to play kick the bucket you might ask? Usually it’s because their own bucket is empty, damaged or filled with some not-so-good stuff. We get that – we all get that. Life is hard. But we are all equally stuck with the fact that filling our bucket with good or bad stuff is a choice.
If you were to ask me what the local Republican Party breakdown is today, it would be that for every productively engaged person there is another who can’t manage to resist mischief. The quietly conservative majority are standing back – somewhat in fear – and waiting to see who will win.
The answer to that question is easy – no one. Tug-of-War is a game that can be played endlessly.
There is a solution. If we can get a few more people to step forward and help us fill the bucket and a few of the bucket kickers to reconsider their course, we can really do some special things together.
Where might we begin? How about borrowing a paraphrased quote from Old-school Democrat Eleanor Roosevelt – “A marriage (and a political party) is a union of forgivers.”
Please let the chair know if he can help – or if you would like to help us. Preserving our America requires that we build on our common ground – not pour our blessings upon it. A lot of drips can overcome an occasional kick…