chelsea headingI know some of you may count me out as an old, washed up man who is way beyond help. But (he says emphatically) since I believe in the U.S.A. and believe in keeping it going, I attended a precinct meeting earlier this week. At one time i was fairly politically active and tried to support a better tomorrow for all the children growing up. But--more of that later, perhaps. Anyway, I went to a precinct meeting at a library, which was about the size of my former hometown, in almost south Tulsa. There were so many cars it was hard to find a parking spot even for my tiny Smart car. It appeared that everybody in the entire precinct turned out and some drove two cars. I thought I may have to call an Uber to get a ride from my car to the door, but I braved it out and walked. I found a place to park within 100 yards - or so.
After getting inside I discovered that four or five other meetings were going on and I thought this was marvelous. Why? Wellsir, there were so many people attending meetings that some thought were important enough to get out on a lightning filled night and that many people could find a library and there was a public place to have all these meetings. One meeting looked odd to me as i peeked in whilst looking for my place. The room had many people but all men and most of them were gathered together on the speaker’s level and I couldn’t tell if they were praying or saying a ritual. Being over-the-top brilliant, I was sure that wasn’t the political meeting.
Now here is the good part. After sticking my head in a few rooms and asking some, I found the correct place. When it came time for this, I was elected precinct chairman by acclamation and got a standing ovation. See, I knew there was a reason I left hearth and warmth to do my civic duty. The best part of the meeting was that it was short. Whoever planned it did the correct thing and got the business over with and turned it off.  Don’t you just hate meetings that drag on forever and it is hard for you to enlighten everybody with intelligent observations as they keep droning on with things not nearly as important as what you have to say.
I have only lived in one other country but I think the people there were more politically active than here. Yes, I know there are places in the USA where people actually do get involved but I don’t think Oklahoma is one of those. It seems to me that most USA citizens are content to let others do the work of making this a better place and only get involved over a cup of coffee when a group gathers. We Americans really, really like to complain about the “crooked politicians” but we don’t get very involved in helping someone better run their campaign. Except for a few, we don’t put signs out, don’t hand out literature, don’t volunteer to give our time and then we complain because things are not going our way.
Whether or not you liked Barrack Obama, he said one of the best things ever. To paraphrase: If you don’t like the ways things are going, don’t complain, do something about it. If just 50% of the complainers got out and did things for the candidate of their choice, they could win almost every election. Oh, and if you want a politician to do the “right thing,” call him/her, go visit them at their office, take a group to visit him/her and you will get their attention quickly. Even the ones who have sold their soul for large “donations” will pay attention if you put the pressure on them. Do not complain, do some action.
When I was in high school, a group of us band kids had a “pep” band and went with a candidate for county commissioner on his speaking tour one Saturday . It seemed like we made a zillion stops but we got to spend a large part of the day helping the father of our drum major. It was great fun and he got elected. Many years later i took a bunch of nutty boys on a tour with a U.S. Senator and that was even more fun. We were even at his watch party in Oklahoma City.  Yes, he got elected. Doing something instead of just complaining IS the thing to do.
Oh, getting back to my precinct meeting, I was the only one from my precinct to show up and I had to fill out the paper. One of the ladies sitting behind me jumped up, as a joke, and applauded when I said I was elected by unanimous vote. That was the standing ovation. But it makes a great story - if you don’t know the details.