So I cleared a patch of land out back behind my home. I sprinkled down a bunch of grass seed. The snow got to it, it rained, and before too long I have thousands of beautiful bright green and needle-thin blades of grass. Whilst I may get some stuff from the utah sod company to give it a boost, they look awesome. I got lucky with my grass; not everyone gets these bright green blades. Fighting with your grass can seem like a losing battle, especially when it’s patchy and brown, and that’s why some homeowners purchase wpc decking to create a more stylish garden.
Before too long I am going to have to fight the weeds. Those beautiful little green rootlings will have to combat crabgrass, ryegrass, clover, wood sorrel, dandelions, and just about everything else.
Thankfully the weather has co-operated with the watering, but as soon as the rainy season is over I’ll have to get the garden hose and tend to that patch of real estate. Next year, I’ll have to overseed and repeat the task.
Now some of my friends will look at their lawns and chuckle. “If it weren’t for crabgrass, I’d have no grass at all!” For most, the fight for saving the lawn is a losing battle. Crabgrass runs wild, the tall ryegrass consumes all sorts of water, dandelions leave huge patches, clover and wood sorrel conspire as well.
Eventually, the competition gets so bad and the neglect so damaging, the grassroots dry up
As a former unit chairman, a campaigner, a candidate and a volunteer I could tell you countless names of folks whom I know to be grassroots activists. They are the folks who come to the dinners, come to the meetings, stuff the envelopes, knock on the doors, and make the phone calls. They’re quiet, dutiful to the end, reliable, and believe in the cause.
Of course, we all know the sort that drives folks like this away. Someone will force a pamphlet, an issue, a litmus test. Another crank in the back of the room will constantly criticize and never contribute. Yet another will seek titles only for personal advancement. Others seek responsibilities and do nothing with them. Some folks who should be doing outreach do pushback instead. Leaders of organizations have to deal with them all — and sometimes, the weeds take over.
Just like any lawn, plenty of good grassroots makes the fight against the weeds easier. But when the lawn is nothing but crabgrass, it’s tough to get started, isn’t it?
The problem of any organization is when the crabgrass starts pushing out the grassroots. Typically people begin to realize the problem when there is work to be done, and the reliable stalwarts haven’t shown up again. Phone calls go out, we beg and try… but the grassroots just don’t want to deal with the blowhards, the lazy, the ambitious, or the incompetent.
Grassroots require cultivation. Individual attention can go a long, long way. A phone call, a thank-you note, a Christmas card, free pizza, some access to the candidate they are helping. That’s all helpful. And when the weeds start infecting your pristine lawn? Weed them out.
The problem with Virginia Republicans is that we’ve become like the neighbor who is happy with the crabgrass, for fear we wouldn’t have any grass at all. That goes for virtually all sides, whether it is conservative, moderate, or libertarian. We simply aren’t taking care of our own, and it’s killing Republicans statewide.
Who are the grassroots? They’re not coming to your unit committee meetings. They’re not coming to your rallies. They aren’t coming to your chicken dinners or barbeques. They’re at home — blogging, e-mailing friends, participating in “Tea Parties”, griping at work, praying in church, but otherwise have been burned by the crabgrass in the party.
My solution? Same as in the lawn. Weed out the crabgrass, overseed, cultivate heavily, and keep weeding out until we get things back to where they should be.
Will it take years? Yes.
Will it take money? You bet.
Are we ready to drown out the crabgrass and take back the party? Dunno…
For a long, long time we’ve had leaders and activists who don’t know anything but crabgrass. When I first got started back in 1993, the party was nothing but grassroots. When was the last time we had a ticket that brought the fire and energy the Allen/Farris/Gilmore ticket brought?
I say it’s 2009. I say it’s today. I say that what’s left of the grassroots who stuck around in the unit committees, who elected their District Chairs, whose unit representatives elected their State Central members, those people deserve their shot.
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the grassroots. If any other group truly were that group, they’d have representation at RPV State Central.
I have long argued that RPV is the aggregated voice of the grassroots. Those grassroots deserve leadership willing to foster and cultivate their efforts. No more snapping fingers and expecting an army just because the other guy is worse. Our grassroots want to believe again.
The bottom line? Too many folks have replaced their conservativism with condescension… and we’ll continue to learn the hard way with still more losses until Republicans earn
rather than expect votes.