Time to Pitch In
No one is coming to save us
Note: There’s an “ask” at the end of this ramble.
Party politics never much appealed to me. The marching and banners of the national political party conventions seemed rather silly. Although I held a fundamental skepticism about their motives I was mostly content with the idea that people elected to government offices would do the right thing—and all would be well. I felt confidant that our involvement in the Second World War had saved the world for democracy and that both the Republican and Democratic Parties, being devoted to democratic principles and something called “the rule of law” would guide us into an ever better future without my having to get involved any more than casting a ballot when presented with one. I thought of myself as a social Democrat and a fiscal Republican, a concept I now see as nonsense.
Small d democracy works only when we pay attention and get involved to a greater degree than reading the newspaper, listening to the (mostly) national news as presented by the media, and casting a ballot every four years. Functioning as an individual who was brought up on the idea that one did not raise the issue of politics in polite company, it was easy to succumb to a sense of despair as the Republican Party shed its roots as the party of Abraham Lincoln and became the party of implicit racism intertwined with a malignant streak of Fundamentalist Christianity. When that transformation culminated in the manifest cruelty of people like Donald Trump and (now) Ron DeSantis, to say nothing about local extremists like Matt Shea and Rob Chase, I decided that I needed to seek out strength in numbers and reassess my prior distaste for party politics.
In March of 2018 I emailed a post entitled “A Political Journey–My Changing Impression of the Democratic Party”. It stands up well now as I re-read it. I have found solace and many like-minded friends among local Democrats. From a nadir in the mid 2010s I have seen the Spokane Democratic Party on a track to rebuild, galvanized, in part, by the extremism of local and national Republicans. The rebuilding is happening on account of the dedication of individuals with a variety of skills uniting in common purpose to preserve democracy that has felt like it was slipping away. This rebuilding is not happening, as I once imagined and as Republicans conveniently assert (think “George Soros”), because of infusions of cash from rich folk manipulating the naive. Instead, this rebuilding is from the previously complacent and now threat-perceiving grassroots on up—and it’s about time lest we see our country slip away from us.
Two months ago Spokane County Republicans (aka the SpokaneGOP) was taken over by some of its most extreme elements. More traditional local Republicans, apparently asleep, were outflanked by the extremists deploying the “Precinct Strategy” popularized by Steve Bannon. The SpokaneGOP is now chaired by Pastor Brian Noble of the Valley Assembly of God Church, a man who challenged the more traditional incumbent County Commissioner, Mary Kuney, in last fall’s election—and lost badly. The rest of the local SpokaneGOP leadership is populated with similarly far right individuals. Next door in Kootenai County, Idaho, extremist Republicans, intent on destroying any lingering opposition, even attempted at takeover of the local Democratic Party using the “Precinct Strategy”. Let that be a lesson.
Meanwhile the Spokane County Democrats are rebuilding under the able leadership of Carmela Conroy, a retired U.S. Consul General and former Spokane County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. Last December she was re-elected chairperson by the central committee, that is, the Democratic Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs).
The Spokane County Democrats also elected Steve Kirby, CEO of Tikor Consulting, as Vice Chair and Giacobbe Byrd, a former U.S. Congressional Staffer who was born and raised in Spokane, as Second Vice Chair. They elected two State Committee Members: Blair Anundson, a labor organizer, and Bernie Bank, an OB/GYN doctor.
Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton addressed the meeting, stressing the importance of citizens’ involvement in their communities so they choose competent leaders to carry out the work of local government. The elected Party officials pledged to build on the organizing and fund-raising successes Democrats enjoyed in Spokane County in 2022.
All shoulders to the wheel. There is no one coming to save us. It’s just us and all the individual skills and dedication we possess. Lest we succumb to what extremist Republicans wish us to become as a city, a county, a state, and a nation we need to join forces with like minded individuals and push back against Republican extremism and push forward with a positive agenda. Everyone has something they can volunteer. Among the roles are PCOs, election observers, event hosts, phone bankers, door-to-door canvassers. If you’re feeling anything like the same angst as I’ve been feeling, visit the website Spokane County Democrats and sign up. There’s a place for all skills and a welcoming community.
Keep to the high ground,
Thanks for reading Indivisible--The High Ground! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.