Following our convention Saturday, I had the opportunity to talk with one of the Republican party leaders here in the county. In the course of our wide-ranging discussion, I asked him, “What do you think is the difference between our two parties here in Tooele?”
“Obama,” came his earnest reply.
“You’re telling me that, in our county, our values and visions are so aligned that we have to reach out to a national figure to find something to be divisive about?”
“Pretty much, yeah.”
As shocking as this revelation was, it didn’t much surprise me. As I went around the state during my campaign last year, I heard from disaffected citizens that they were fed up with both parties and that many couldn’t tell them apart. In my mind, this is both good thing and a bad thing.
It’s a good thing because it means that, despite the name-calling and mean-spirited propaganda that we hear nationally, the reality is that civil dialogue is still possible between opposing parties here in Tooele. This further means that the spirit of compromise, upon which our country was built and is maintained, continues. We have not forgotten our roots.
It’s a bad thing, because, as the minority party, we run the risk of assimilation and attrition from our more powerful competitors. If ideology doesn’t convince someone to join the Democratic Party, the wealth and promise of power surely must appeal to them from the Republicans.
For those who want to get more involved in creating good government, may I suggest that you bring your chair over to the Democratic Party’s table not just because of an ideological affinity, but rather because where there are fewer people, your voice is heard louder? If you want to see change, start with the minority party and build momentum.
For those who have joined the party, I encourage you to post your own thoughts on the subject. Why have you chosen to be a Democrat in Tooele? What do you hope to accomplish through this vehicle of change?