It is always inspirational when you are surrounded by people who not only believe the things that you believe, but are working toward making them happen. Saturday, September 20th was one of those days for me. The hundreds of people who attended the We the People Convention in Columbus were people who are on the ground getting it done. These are ten things I learned at the We the People Convention.
1. It’s the primary stupid.
The opening of the convention started with a video speech by an author of a book that Tom Z, Ted Stevenot and a lot of other leaders all over Ohio are reading, ‘Takeover’ by Richard A. Viguerie. Mr. Viguerie is a long time conservative activist. He was instrumental in the rise of Ronald Reagan in the 1970’s/80’s. He believes, as do a lot of us, that the political parties are made up of the people that are in them. The GOP (and the Democratic party for that matter) are poised for a takeover. The primary is where the changes happen. He goes even deeper and says it is before the primary where the real change happens and that the big moves happen in the endorsement vote of the party Central Committee. If we have liberty minded people deciding who we are going to support on the ballot. We will get our candidates elected more often. The decisions are made in the primary.
If you haven’t read Takeover, it is worth a read. Mr. Viguerie’s comments to the convention are below.
2. We are all red fire ants.
We are many. Most people agree with what we believe when we go out and speak on principle. But many are afraid. The years of political correctness that we have be inundated with, has become entrenched in our society. That fear needs to go away. Tom was given a gift for the convention, it was a stain glass image of a fire ant. He said, “We need to become the fire ants.” We will go everywhere and spread. When we spread, there is nothing they can do but run out of fear of our sting. The way we become that force is through education. We need to become the machine that gets candidates elected. We need to become the candidates, the treasurers, the campaign managers and the social media/public relations experts. Once we have a team in place that can raise our ideals up into the public arena, the establishment will have no choice but to run.
3. Central Committee is our brightest hope at change.
It has been said many times, Central Committee is the key. Each county in Ohio has a party Central Committee, a person from each precinct that votes on the endorsement of candidates supported by the party. We need to become that committee. We need to be the majority that says who the people of principle are in our races. We have already taken over 5 of our 88 county parties. We need to move that ahead and take them all. If you don’t know who your Central Committee person is in your neighborhood, then is should be you! Ted Stevenot gave a great talk at the convention about how this is possible and why it is important. It was a great and inspirational speech that all should hear before the next primary in 2016.
4, Most folks agree with us, they just don’t like how we say it.
Charlie Kirk from Turning Point USA and Dr. Tim Johnson founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation gave great speeches on reaching out to those folks who have not traditionally been supporters of the liberty side of the ledger. Charlie Kirk spoke about the young people of our country. His main point was that the youth agree with us, they just don’t like how we say it. They don’t want to dig into the weeds of policy. They don’t want to hear about Obama this and Obama that. They want to hear how things affect them as individuals. Dr. Johnson gives a similar message about the African American community. He encourages people to reach out, not make African Americans a special project, just reach out to them like you would your neighbors. Invite them into the conversation about how their future and their kids future will be affected by the path that we are on. It is a message that resonates with everyone.
5. Third parties have a huge struggle getting on the ballot.
I got a chance to talk to a lot of third party supporters, Libertarians and Constitution Party members. They tell a difficult story about how difficult it is to get ballot access if you are a third party candidate in Ohio. It surprised me how the political parties, both Republicans and Democrats, have shut the door on people with another view. It is a serious problem in Ohio that needs to be recognized and reevaluated. Read the story of the Constitution Parties struggle with ballot access here, from Constitution Party Chairman Don Shrader.
6. Technology is still a chore for everyone.
We, here at Ohio Rising, do a lot of work with technology and social media. It was a surprise to me how many groups still don’t have a website and Facebook page. These tools are the most important you have to spread your message to your supporters and to those you are trying to reach out to in your community. If you still need those tools, reach out to us. We are hosting Technology Summits all over the state of Ohio in the coming months. The first is October 4th in Cincinnati. We need the tools to spread our message now more than ever.
7. State School Board is the most important race this fall.
Got to talk to Mark Stevenson from Ohioans for Educational Freedom. The work that they are doing, promoting candidates for the State School Board is fantastic. This is the group of people that will write the Ohio Standards when Common Core is repealed. It is an important vote this November….and again in two years. We need to watch this one.
8. Everyone is fired up about Common Core.
Common Core was still the issues de jour at the We the People Convention. There was a lot of talk about what is happening in Columbus regarding House Bill 597, the repeal and replace Common Core bill. Many were shocked at Governor Kasich’s statement that he had no idea a repeal effort was going on… That story will continue into 2015.
9. John Adams supports Jim Butler for Ohio Speaker of the House.
State Representative John Adams gave a great speech about how Columbus works and what we as liberty minded people need to do to make a difference in Columbus. He has been accused many times of violating Reagan’s 11th Commandment, don’t criticizes fellow Republicans. He very clearly pointed out that this doesn’t mean point out differences in policy, it means don’t get personal. He took a stand on the Ohio House Speaker race, endorsing Jim Butler. He said that Rep. Butler’s team is full of business people and those ground in principle that would make a big difference in Ohio the next term.
10. Jim Jordan is awesome!
Congressman Jim Jordan was the first speaker of the day. He set the tone well. When he speaks he bring the focus on moving forward with our prinicples. We have done so much as American’s, we need to keep moving the message of liberty forward. His great speech is below.
This is a great annual event. Next year, as we move into the 2016 primary season, will be even more important. I hope everyone can make it!