Keeping the grass roots growing!!
[Do we discard, reject, throw-away what could be great, because we perceive that it cannot be made perfect?
"We can DWELL upon (the minor points/issues) that which we disagree and that divide us, or we can (and should, IMO) concentrate/focus on the things on which we agree and that unite us. -- I choose cooperation, and I hope you'll join with me. It is about Principles, NOT Personalities."
The following was originally a response to MI4CS regarding others' continued opposition to MI4CS. I have revised and expanded from my original response. I am providing it, rather than any direct response to any particular anti-MI4CS writing - though it addresses a counter-point for every point others are using as a reason to DIVIDE rather than unite.]
Re: MI4CS respect member groups' privacy, and related....
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 7:31 PM
From: "Joseph M. Lenard"
Cindy, I feel you could have added some additional key points of contention (or stated issues/concerns) some TEA Party groups have with MI4CS that I hope you'll also share with everyone...
First, though, let me again remind everyone (as I've said in my previous Open Letter, see: http://t.co/edK3dEbM) [or see it below] - TEA Party members are going to from time to time have minor disagreements. However, that should not stop us from working together when our beliefs, goals, principles, values, all coincide. One of those goals: replace Stabenow. Another goal, bring like minded people together - while some "divide." Yet another, inform/educate. MI4CS DOES ALL THOSE THINGS!
Next reminder, while some keep bringing up "names" and/or a particular Group or Groups - I speak in terms of - Principles, not Personalities. In terms of TEA Party group's in an un-emotionally attached, reasoned/logic, abstract sense, not from the perspective of what benefits ONE group I belong to. I speak first and foremost about the "cause" on its own merits and NOT Political posturing for the benefit of one Candidate or another and NOT ONE Candidate I prefer. The process and cause on its own merits.
Plus, it is one thing to say "I don't think I want to be involved" or to say "my group" maybe shouldn't get involved, and something else entirely to actively attempt to undermine the process (for whatever other agenda/motives) and try to keep other groups from joining in. Others just try to delay, stall, procrastinate, the process in the hopes that it just becomes too late for you to bother.
You (Cindy) pointed out MI4CS is protecting groups' privacy and clearly state why (others seek the list to exploit it, SELL IT, attack those on it, etc). NO TPG is prohibited from issuing a Press releasing announcing its involvement, if it so chooses! They respect the process, while others openly "shout" their efforts to keep people controlled/divided. You also mentioned how some TEA Party groups have decided to endorse on their own, and while criticize MI4CS about "secrecy," do NOT release with their mailings/endorsement a list of their members nor even a shorter list of those on their "committee" that decided the "endorsement" for the Media to contact. One has to ask then, What is the difference? (your implication)
Are the names and contact information for ALL the leaders of any particular TEA Party group (Pres., VP, Treasurer, Chair of each Committee, etc) listed on the front page of their web-site? Chances are they are hiding behind the "Contact" page (or generic e-mail address) of their web-site, and FOR GOOD REASON. They protect their privacy, yet under a "double-standard" the MI4CS is demanded to be different. Some will argue it is somehow "different" that naming the TEA Party groups so they can be harassed is alright but them NOT listing their names so they can avoid being harassed is (again) "different" and alright. It is NOT any different, but only a degree of scale/scope!
I have run for Office myself (and those who create/manage a TEA Party face some of the same issues/attacks), and having stuck my neck out I know first-hand WHY you don't publish that willy nilly. I am one that happens to believe having the participating TEA Party group's names listed would have a benefit, but (again) I know the downsides. I can then DWELL on that/negatives, or "accept" because I am willing to "understand" why it isn't being done that way - not sweat the little things - and focus on the bigger picture, issues, and things on which we agree (while others divide).
One last thought on "memberships." A Club that charges for membership has a REAL membership list. Entities that allow anyone to sign-up for free, basically have a "contacts" list not an accurate representation of "members." TEA Party group events are open (generally) to the Public, is anyone that shows up and provides their name automatically a member (or really just a "contact"). Someone signs up for a web-site to get occasional information (later may ignore all e-mails) or to make a comment on a message board - that is a member?!?!
Further, though, some TEA Party groups (TPG) have also "endorsed" with no mention of their membership being Polled or otherwise consulted in determining the endorsement. MI4CS suggests/recommends just the opposite, in that each TPG actually Poll (or by other methods, consult) their membership in determining who to support at the MI4CS Convention in order to reach a "consensus" nominee to endorse. Isn't a TEA Party tenant - getting folks involved?
Next, if any TPG believes any one Candidate is the "obvious" favorite enough to endorse them - why wouldn't they think that other TPG would also reach the same conclusion? Why don't they have the courage of their convictions to want to come and fight for that/their favorite Candidate at the MI4CS Convention and cast votes for that Candidate in the Straw Poll in order to earn the MI4CS endorsement?
More-so, some have mentioned they don't want to entangle their group in an "alliance" while they have already joined other (smaller, co-operative) such alliances? No names need be mentioned, a simple google search reveals all this. For the same reason an individual joins a TPG; to make ones voice louder, than when standing alone; the MI4CS co-operative makes a TPG voice greater, not less.
Lastly, some still claim an objection based on "representation" size. They try to complicate the basic, simple, common-sense, of the composition. They say "why should MY group get the same as so-and-so's group?" Should we throw out the Constitution and give CA more Senators than MI and both of those States far more than IA? Do they also think we should just throw out the Electoral College and usher in "Popular Vote" as many are. THERE ARE REASONS IT WAS SET UP THAT WAY, and MI4CS is setup to MIRROR the Founders setup of the U.S. Senate - they body we are trying to replace an individual of. SIMPLE CONCEPT! A chance to inform/educate the masses why the Senate is the way it is, States' Rights, the 17th Amendment, etc. SIMPLE!
What/Who is a Member?? I once signed up to get information from the ACLU - does that make me a Member? NO THANK YOU!!! Just because a group has X number of names and e-mail addresses, doesn't mean much. I think there is one group that claims 1,500 members - for all I know all they ever have at any event, meeting, rally, etc, is the same dozen (or so) people --- why should they have more representation than a group that has 150 names and 100 people consistently (actually participating) in attendance!?!? Two representatives, keeps it simple and is purposefully, willfully, and with careful consideration and fore-thought, designed to be like the Senate body. SIMPLE and practical!
If your Group's "first choice" is so "obvious" a choice, then go make the case! Some would rather try to RIG the outcome by changing the composition of the voting. Sound like a Conservative value?!?!? or something ACORN does? Again, do they insist on changing the U.S. Senate composition as a "condition" of their voting for a U.S. Senator? This is little different than any other nominating Convention of a REPRESENTATIVE GROUP, LIKE OUR REPUBLIC (inform/educate), NOT A DEMOCRACY! Just like the Electoral College, NOT a "Popular Vote" as some are trying to circumvent the Constitution to do via "State Compact." Again, these are all EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES for those serious about that side of what a TEA Party is about.
Again, we can certainly have differences of opinions. I'd just like to hear honest/open discussions/arguments. I respect the decisions (for whatever reason) of any TPG to NOT join or be involved with MI4CS (or any alliance, for that matter), I just find it offensive when someone seemingly tries to undermine the involvement of others.
Not all of the "input" I have provided has been "adopted" and I can either sulk and dwell on it, or I can do something CONSTRUCTIVE/POSITIVE and continue to work toward making a difference, by being involved. I choose to focus on what we agree on (what is ACCEPTABLE, not quibble over it not being "PERFECT" by my definition) and which brings us together. Others choose to sow discontent. If they put half the effort into cooperating that they do trying to divide people, Stabenow wouldn't stand a chance.
People can and will always find a way to criticize. Perhaps we should all just focus on our differences, as they suggest, and just disband all the TEA Party groups and stay home and take what we get. DON'T THINK SO. It will be the same people that will point out the obvious about divided votes and people therefore sitting out (because of an - if it ain't my guy, I'm not gonna bother - mentality) that may give us Stabenow and Obama again!
Joseph (JLenardDetroit) Lenard, 1108 Mulberry Street, Wyandotte, MI 48192-4115
AS FOR THAT OTHER LETTER MENTIONED....
With respect, in advance, to any potential difference(s) of opinion. Remember we seek the same basic goals and because we may not agree on one thing or another, it does NOT mean we cannot/should-not continue to work together in other regards. Please be sure to read this in the tone of care, concern, and respect it is intended rather than something other (harshness) some others might wish to interject.
Please share with other TEA Party groups in regard to the upcoming US Senate race and the rumors, bad mouthing (one group to another), divisive campaigning strategies, fomenting "suspicions" and conspiracy theory, in regard to the MI4CS "concept" and/or the TEA Party movements in general.
Let me start by stating the obvious. Like minded people may still disagree by some degrees on varying issues. We will all have our own set of prioritized criteria by which we use to decide upon our favorite/preferred Candidate! Regardless, we still need to focus on the key beliefs, principles, and values which unite us!
Some Candidates (and frankly some TEA Party Groups), while trying to tell you we need to "unite" as "Conservatives" they sow the seeds of discontent and engage in a "divide and conquer" strategy; rather than focus on the issues that bind us as Conservatives and TEA Party activists.
Many of the Candidates seeking the nomination to oppose Stabenow are wonderful, but just aren't making the traction they thought they'd garner (this is a shame, but just because they may not be our next US Senator doesn't mean they wouldn't make great Candidates and potential Representatives for our values in some other capacity) and while previously seeking our/your favor now disrespect us/you, try to pit us/you against fellow activists, and the like. Having made the calculation they cannot earn/win our/your support in large numbers, they hope to pick off your members around the edges. They seek to operate "one on one" with your group, they'll tell you, because they cannot stand up to direct comparisons in a debate or forum setting - ask them why? Encourage them to participate in the process. Are they afraid to compete in the market of ideas?!?! Each Candidate deserves our consideration, but why (really) are they avoiding our debate?
Some Candidates, rather than wanting to earn your support, expected you to just "anoint" them as the presumptive nominee and just "assume" you should be flattered they bothered to reach out to you in the first place. As I said, they speak of "like values" (issues that bind, values we share, etc) but (play the Liberal game of) "divide and conquer" hoping to drive a wedge between TEA Party activists, splitting the vote (the antithesis of why you considered the MI4CS notion in the first place), thinking they can sneak out a victory, yet will demand your support after the fact despite disrespecting you now.
Some Candidates now turn their back on you, disrespect you, refuse to take part in the CMU TEA Party debate (they don't want to appear that close to the TEA Party movement on such a visible scale. Telling?), while previously speaking in such "glowing" terms about how we as TEA Party's "educate," offer such a great "opportunity," and how they are "one of us!" One Candidate's representative told me, his Candidate "no longer" will partake in forums/events, or participate with groups (read: MI4CS for one), that hold Straw Polls (since when, I asked). Could that be because he refuses to RESPECT you enough to want to EARN your trust and support and therefore has shown incapable of winning any such poll? Amazing how they seek to win an election (votes) yet do not respect the VOICE/VOTE of the (your groups) people! From a Political strategy, I can understand that, they do not wish to show they cannot garner your support but yet wish to tout their candidacy as the "TEA Party" candidacy. Seems to me they may NOT really share your concerns or values but see us/you as "useful idiots" on their way to securing a Washington paycheck. Ask yourself, do they want your support or just want to use you for your mailing list?
Again, we will all disagree from time to time and have our own "favorite" Candidate, but we must remember that which brought us to the TEA Party movement to begin with - remove Liberals (whether Progressive Democrats or Liberal RINOs) - from Elected offices everywhere; and Stabenow, in this case in particular. I certainly hope my "preferred" first choice in Candidates gets the nomination, but I am keeping my eye on the prize of removing Debbie and hope you will continue to join with me, and so many others, in that effort.
There are some that criticize the MI4CS concept and now refuse to "be nice." It is they who have the "my way or the highway" and "my 'one' or no-one" attitudes. This is a COOPERATIVE, no-one is forced to join! Don't let anyone LIE about the movement or process!!! They (critics, manipulators, those who found they cannot CONTROL YOU, etc) ask - who are YOU to claim to represent all TEA Party people? Simply stated, YOU DON'T CLAIM TO!
Those "co-operating" in the MI4CS process POLL their active membership in order to determine who is their "preferred consensus" Candidate, there is NO DICTATING (people/groups CHOOSE to join and "co-operate" because the see the merit in the shared values and efforts, the same reasons one becomes a Precinct Delegate)! They then come forth to a Convention, as any other Primary or brokered Convention does/would, to ELECT (vote, select) the Candidate with the greater "consensus" to back to insure we have a "Conservative values" Candidate to help bring to victory, for a change, rather than divide/split the vote allowing ESTABLISHMENT PARTY POWER BROKERS to try and force a Candidate upon us. A Candidate (elected MI US Senator) that will PUSH the GOP (especially the Establishment Senate Leadership) to do the Right things as much as they will oppose/push the Democrats - while anyone will be better than Debbie (and will be backed past the Primary) - we need one that will FIGHT rather than just go to D.C. to coast or cash in!!!
It is that simple, it is the very definition of the TEA Party thought of providing a place for "like minded Conservative individuals to come/band together" to inform, educate, and be involved! You and your TEA Party has a GREATER VOICE, not less of one! You as TEA Party people make your presence known and are a real force to be reckoned with, rather than be marginalized (as you are in smaller groups or as lone individuals).
The very structure of the MI4CS is an educational endeavor; a teachable moment opportunity to those just becoming Politically aware and learning what they forgot or were never taught in our Nations Indoctrination factories posing as Schools (issues of a Federal Education Department); as it portrays perfectly the US Senate composition. MI4CS demonstrates perfectly our REPRESENTATIVE REBUBLIC (NOT, outright Democracy that the OWS morons don't understand and can't grasp why it is that/this way). It provides the "teachable moments" launching pad to further educate about the "States' Rights" balance the US Senate is SUPPOSED to provide (and issues of the 17th Amendment). MI4CS is quintessential TEA Party and Founding Father values in scope and actions, where many come together as one to have their grievances addressed regarding an oppressive Government!
Perfect, by no means - how could it be when the very point is to have it as bottom up (coordinating and getting folks to agree) rather than dictating a process to all. Hopefully it won't take landing up with Stabenow for another six years for people to recognize their mistakes at not being willing to get along.
My opinion, with due respect,
Joseph (JLenardDetroit) Lenard, 1108 Mulberry Street, Wyandotte, MI 48192-4115