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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My way of Re - Grouping

Some Times I Feel Like a Nut.

Sometimes I Don't

Better yet Sometime WE Don't

Before the Tea Party thing, I had been trying to do all I could to get into politics, not as a candidate but I rather viewed the process as the one real way to affect change in our country, at the top or the bottom. Affect the process. Politics seemed the key.

I tried in vain unsophisticated ways to get a foothold in the Republican Party. While I was allowed the grunt work my ideas weren’t followed. Sometimes later some or parts would be enacted but I was determined and kept charging.

The problem was I was getting opposition from leadership. I don’t know what I expected them to do or how they should react to a newcomer with "wild" ideas; but I think I made some difference just by demanding and barging around, the bottom line was that I was there doing things and learning from my mistakes as well as the few successes I had. The Party finally did get a website built and I had a role in keeping it updated though not in formatting it.

I was allowed to manage the HQ during the 2008 election 5-6 days a week but not to have an effect much on policy. But hey I was a newbie and expected and wanted to do the hands on stuff. The grunt work.

I started looking for other ways to make a difference. I went to all the political events I could afford to. I had started blogging before this political involvement and at one time had 3 blogs going. My second blog which is now my flagship blog I call “Bottom Up Politics” which I set up as an unofficial Muskegon County Republican Website because the Muskegon County Republican party simply had no site. The time was right as the candidates just started to announce, so I had lots of fodder for my blog. I started listing all the candidates and their websites and then set up a calendar for them to send me their fundraisers and other things. I was offering free publicity and a few started to take advantage of it. At our GOP meetings I started taking pictures and writing articles about the meetings. Once on their mailing list I would put up on the calendar any events the County party was having. When I went to party or candidate events, I would take pictures and blog.

The main thing I was always around asking questions and taking pictures.

From this I started to meet the candidates and eventually started helping some I liked. I eventually became the chief cook and bottle washer for a County wide candidate. She called me her campaign manager but I really wasn’t, just a go to guy when something needed doing. In the real sense of the word I was far from a campaign manager. But boy did I love it; and I was learning a lot.

This became my way of trying to get some respect and a foot in the door into the party. I would drive my truck, and still do, all over the lower peninsular if necessary to further my education to further my cause. My cause simply stated was to make the Republican Party at least in my sphere more conservative and to win elections.

Elections are the way in our democracy to put our ideas into practice, like it or not it at least gives us the chance however slim no matter our standing to do it. I was determined to do just that.

My first outright activism was to organize a “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” protest in front of the county building in Muskegon with another blogger friend and a couple of others from the party. It was a meager affair but it was fun and we all still talk about it. Below is my post about it at the time click on the pics to see who the mystery activists are.


Nationally Newt Gingrich had kicked of a petition drive of the same name that went viral (a forerunner of the Tea Party Movement) on his new internet platform and through his fledgling American Solutions group. For that date in time it was a revolutionary advance for Republican politics, Newt with the likes of us at the local level were beginning to pull the Republicans kicking and screaming into the Wild West of the Web. Even with my meager website and few successes I feel a part of that success.

With that petition Newt got 1.5 million signatures online that forced candidate Obama to change his platform on the offshore drilling plan. It also forced Republicans across the spectrum to take heed of the new media. Regardless of Obama reverting back on that change after elected, it did have an effect. I was able to say with some justification that what we few we four (Jim, Susie, Tom and I) did at the local level had some effect on that and I was really hooked.

Needless to say when I brought the signs into the meeting of our County GOP before the protest, they were thought funny and of no consequence. Being naïve I blamed it entirely on the party and had the protest anyway. In retrospect I learned that if I had presented the case differently and if I could have rounded up more support ahead of time the party may have been swayed or at least more may have been sympathetic. What I missed with my thin skin was that there were and still are many in the party that are just waiting to be asked in the right way to make a difference.

That is a major key I'm learning is that a lot of people out there want to be asked and they will be happy to help in their own way. The trick I still need to figure out is how to ask and then have something they are willing and capable to do. It is not their fault they do not flock to my ideas but my fault.

The point is, I learned from that failure and I used that failure as motivation to learn more.

I've learned to try with what's available and not let the perfect become the enemy of the good but rather the goal pushing us onward learning from our mistakes and successes.

Well; they say nature abhors a vacuum and in my case I got hooked up with the Tea Party thing last year after I heard Rick Santilli’s rant on CNBC.


I was hooked. I tried organizing the Republican Party for a Tea Party rally and that went over like a lead balloon. So I started looking further afield and Wendy Day with Melanie Hall and Joan Fabiano were organizing a big march on Lansing, there was talk of an even bigger one in Washington. My finances precluded Washington so I signed on to help in Lansing.

Finally here were individuals and a group that wanted help and were willing to share their wisdom, something I couldn’t find in the Republican party. That may have been my fault as much as theirs but either way there was some chemistry. Then to my chagrin I found two different Tea Party Groups in Muskegon trying to form and unaware of each other so I called both and from that they set up the Muskegon Patriots and Muskegon’s first Tea Party Rally. The rest is pitch fork history. Wink to GordoM (:-)

That was a success but I had nothing to do with it other than what I said, I went to Lansing for the big rally, plus one later in Jackson and a third in Rives Junction, ending up at the Livingston County Republican party Lincoln Day Dinner and I was surprised to see some faces I had seen at the Lansing rally. This county party seemed more active than the one I belonged too. That gave me hope and started the wheels turning about how to affect change at home.

-----link to my blog on the 15/Lansing Rally-----

After the 15th, things just got busier and busier as active politics was all I was doing. The Muskegon Patriots faltered due to an internal struggle; and I let it go but kept involved in the bigger movement. I with a blogger friend went to different activist trainings across the state to learn how to make things happen. Kept scouring the web for resources to do that and made connections all over. The bottom line is simple, Nike picked up on it a long time ago. JUST DO IT.

The activist trainings are ok but the real learning comes from actually doing things and I might add from doing them wrong or if your sensibilities prefer; not doing them as well as you are capable of. For me the main thing is forcing myself to do things with others even if sometimes it seems less efficient. The task at hand may be but to build a group or a coalition, fostering involvement is the key.

Well I’ve been doing that with various Tea Party groups and political groups. I’ve tried to teach myself things like computers and the social networking tools like facebook twitter etc. --- they all have their place --- but nothing beats one on one communication.

Along those lines I keep trying to learn how to communicate better in person as well as online. I have been trying to talk in front of people a little, and trying to assert myself in other ways. I hope I’m making progress. I know each time I try something different even if I fail, I pick up some valuable info. I’m 60 years old for crying out loud, I do understand my limitations.

The fun part is when something works out and the joy I feel that something worthwhile is accomplished. It is the same feeling as in writing when all the pieces fall into place and an article seems to write itself.

Like seeing a football star make three effortless moves and trot into the end zone untouched. We know the years of practice that went into perfecting those moves and the uniqueness of time and event that went into that combination falling into place so effortlessly.

Well, I truly resonated with the whole Tea Party Angst against Big Government and Big Everything that has been encroaching upon our freedoms for decades and now seems to have gathered a full head of steam.

As for now I'm working on my moves. I won’t bore you with more,other than to say I’m involved in a hopeful resurrection of the Muskegon Patriots and also I’m involved in Icausus the political arm of the Tea Party. I’m continuing to blog and have set up a “Five County” Republican website to act as an informational hub for the transfer of information and ideas across the “Five County” politicdal lines. I hope simply to disseminate information and foster a stronger sense of unity within the party. Just as with my attempt at a county site this site lists candidates and events along with tools to help visitors understand the Republican party and other tools to help them get involved. The "Five County" websites and or contact information are provided.

Right now through Wendy Day’s state wide efforts, I along with Fred Bertsch have become Muskegon county coordinators for the Health Care Freedom Initiative calling for a state wide referendum on Health Care in the form of a Constitutional Amendment. This is no small task. State wide we need 500,000 signatures.

I'm in favor of this because it will test my abilities, the Tea Party's abilities and Since Wendy recently got the Republican Party on board, their abilities as well. This effort if worked can not only improve and help organize all our groups but teach us how to coexist. Create a synergy creater than our selves; but it all boils down to "Just Do It".

If anyone can get people motivated to do this it is Wendy Day. Now I have to go back to the basic premise of my blog Bottom Up Politics and that is “What can I do today?” In other words I need to start practicing what I preach and preach less.

If I don’t continually force myself out there to do the work, I would be like the candidate that spends all his or her time figuring out what they should do and then fail to put their boots on the ground and do it. That is my stone I constantly carry. I would rather talk about doing something than doing it. It is odd - perhaps mental because my greatest joys come from doing things well as stated before I get great inner joy when things, “fall into place”. Why I have that constant tendency to procrastinate in the doing I really have no clue.

Sometimes the on edge of sanity is the path upon which I tend to walk.

Professional activists and political bigshots may find this post rather silly but what I’m trying to do is learn something from the ground up and question each step of the way hoping that I may be able to put a different spin on the age old art of politics, and try to bring it back into the respectability it deserves.

I don’t want a book on how to win an election, I want to write a book on how I learned to change the process from the Bottom Up. At that point the elections will win themselves. There are plenty of paid political experts what will hurt if one trying to learn his own way?

So I’ll leave you, my worn out but faithful reader at this point; for at this point you are at least dogged if not faithful. Tomorrow I’ll be back with pithier less philosophical posts. Lots of Pictures. I have been doing lots of stuff the last few days and I’ll bring you up to speed on what I’ve found out. Till then thanks for letting me rant awhile.

As always and with Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

A sad Post Script.

Prayers to those hurt by the loss of the Mayor of Roosevelt Park. I know nothing of this and only met the man once; I know only the shock and grief from a sudden unexpected loss and how hard it is to bear. Again; my prayers to those suffering that pain.

Regards, Bob Carr

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