Saturday, August 15, 2009

Grassroots: Labor of Love (J. Ranson posting)

Several weeks ago, I attended a widely publicized event in the area called Liberty 101. It featured exhibits by dozens of groups interested in educating citizens about liberty, our country’s founding principles, and grassroots activism. A main stage featured bands and keynote speakers, while a fan-“cooled” building hosted educational seminars on a variety of constitutional topics from guns to taxes.

This event was extremely well-planned. By whom?, you might ask. The answer might surprise you given the recent press reports depicting conservative grassroots activism as “Astroturf” and “well-funded by special interests.” This event was put on entirely through volunteer work of people passionate about their country and its freedoms. Mostly, the brains behind this event emanated from the local Tea Party group.

These volunteers labored long hours for weeks in advance of the event. They also invested gallons of sweat on that 100-degree day to bring educational opportunities to local citizens. Oh sure, they received some business sponsorships and donations from private individuals, but this was no “Astroturf” event. As Mickey White told me, “It was a labor of love.”
After the event, I was motivated to write about it, but I didn’t. Around the time of Liberty 101, a lot of negative press was swirling around the fake and manufactured grassroots activity going on all around the country. I thought my disclaimer would just be more clutter in the blogosphere. But the passion of the American people has not been quelled. We still wish to be heard, to be taken seriously, and, above all, to reclaim the liberty bequeathed us through the struggles of our founders.

Yet amidst the disparagement of grassroots efforts to push back on healthcare reform as currently envisioned in Congress, the former-community-organizer himself, President Obama, has tried to gin up grassroots workers who will pressure lawmakers into passing a massive healthcare overhaul. Contrast the “labor of love” work of my local compatriots to recent Craigslist advertisements to pay $15 per hour to “volunteers” to work to pass Obama's Healthcare Plan. Quite a difference in commitment, wouldn’t you agree? Real grassroots is “money-poor and people-rich” according to Wikipedia. Hmmmm.....

I’ve been calling and writing to my representatives for nearly ten years. Yeah, a real time-waster, I know. Until this year, I had never marched in the vicinity of a legislator’s office, but I’ve now done so three times. I still haven’t carried a handmade sign! But I really do admire the creativity of my grassroots colleagues.

Individuals around this great land have spoken up to our government leaders and found themselves thrust into the spotlight. So many of them have faced cameras and questions from all types of media and held their own in the debate. I have been enormously impressed by their courage and their passion. I don’t care much about the limelight, but I am going to keep working on the grassroots projects I’ve committed to. No one has to pay me; it’s a labor of love.

1 comment:

  1. It was so hot, I had to send my Brooks Brothers suit to the cleaners afterward. I was out in the hot sun and my limo driver got to sit in the air conditioned car. There is no justice in this world.

    Seriously, it was a great event, the organizers did a great job, both in the number and variety of speakers.