Friday, December 16, 2005

On the Home Front

I have believed for some time that national campaigns are to have one purpose at this time, and that is to serve the needs of local and state parties. In that regard the Cobb/LaMarche campaign did as good a job as any of us could have asked for, given the resources available to the cause. Here in South Carolina for example, Cobb came to the state before our convention seeking our nod, and while here he did appearances for the Greens where he and we all knew no voters minds were going to be turned. The people attending these events were ineligible, under SC GP rules, to vote at the coming convention.

I also want to point out that the precincts and county where we had the best vote totals for the Cobb/LaMarche campaign, outside of Columbia, were at Parris Island, home of the Marine Corps Boot Camp. How in the world did that happen you may ask? Pat came to Parris Island days before the vote, at the request of Marines based there who had listened to her on the radio in Maine, where Pat helped them with their Toys for Tots campaign. Pat checked with us here in South Carolina before accepting the invite, which was an exceptional piece of connecting with the state party, and very "classy" if you'll excuse the expression.

While I am sure Pat didn't do a bunch of campaigning, her being there with those Marines, and the local coverage of her entirely positive visit, made the vote a reality. I only wish our state party had sent someone to work Parris Island with her, and that today we had an actual honest-to-god chapter there. We could have done much more than we did with the opportunities we had, myself included.

Cobb returned to South Carolina after the state and national convention, and again spoke for us wherever we asked him to. There was, as far as I know, never any attempt to fit the visit into the mold he may have preferred, but rather he seemed willing to do whatever we wanted him to do.

Perhaps however, the bigger question is, which national campaigns, if any, benefit the local chapters and state parties? As I have mentioned elsewhere, I don't think anyone would claim that the 2003 to 2004 period was one we would want to repeat without making a few changes. But, life must be lived in forward, not reverse.

It seems to me that the Green Party is strongest at the local level, and that the local level is where cohesion is the strongest. Greens from Smalltown South Carolina are more likely to get along with someone from Bigcity South Carolina than they are with the Big Old National Party. Frankly, I understand that. I think a lot of Greens distrust centralized anything, including centralized Greens.

So, how do we create a sense of Green connectedness? Perhaps there is a way to create a national campaign that can win local support almost everywhere. Is that possible? How would you structure such a campaign? Would it involve a membership drive? Lobbying? A national day of protest? A series of civil dis-obedience across the nation on a given day?

I know I'm just thinking out loud. Drives Nancy crazy.

The point is, we don't have to wait on some national committee to begin thinking of ways to grow the Green Party and spread the Green message. Any official Green Party action would, of course, have to be approved by the National Committee. But, if Greens here and elsewhere post messages about their plans to do XYZ on January 21st, then other Greens could decide independently if they want to join in the effort. (just pulled that out of thin air. Don't even know what day of the week that is.)

I'm going on a walk. Shouldn't take too long, down to the corner and back. It's cold outside, but the pounds around my waist don't seem willing to go bye-bye without some effort. When I get back, enough opinion for is next!
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