We can talk all we want. We can organize. We can support and motivate each other. But unless you are willing to get officially involved in the political process, it doesn’t mean a thing.
What does that mean to get involved in the political process? There are lots of ways to get involved in the process that do not involve running for office. The simplest, easiest, and most effective way is to join your county party’s Central Committee. There are different names for it, but they are all the same thing. For the most part, your central committee involves a few meetings a year on off years and more during election years. It lets you network with like-minded men and women, who know how to get things done. What getting involved with the county party does is gives you a platform and away to see behind the curtain of the political process. The time commitments are usually minimal unless you are in a leadership position. Don’t know who to talk to? Your county party chairman is listed on the state party’s web site. Look him up and give him a call.
All politics is local. Do you know who your county supervisors are? Do you know your state reps and senators? What do you know about these people? Being involved will allow you to get back room time with these people. And if they are not the type of people that you want to represent you, then you are in a position to change them. The most important part is the ability to influence party positions, otherwise known as planks.
In a nonpresidential election cycle, this is the time to get involved. Attendance is usually lower this time around so you can get a better look behind the curtain and have more influence.
So how can you influence the process? First, all your voting precincts get to send representatives to the county convention. At the county level, it’s a good time to get your feet wet. If you want to speak for or against a position, do so. If you want to be effective, here are some pointers.
First and foremost, know your position. Know its good parts, and its weaknesses. Every position has its bad parts; if you don’t think your position does than you don’t understand your position. Second, practice. Public speaking is NOT easy. Getting up in front of dozens to hundreds of people and stating what might be an unpopular opinion is terrifying for the average person. Practice helps. It doesn’t eliminate that fear, but it does help mitigate it. Sounding competent without sounding like you are reading from a note card will help you be persuasive. Third, look the part. You don’t need to be in a suit, but dress sharp, keep your head up and believe what you are saying.
The future belongs to those who show up. The first part of showing up, politically, is getting involved at the county level.