These days, whenever certain people on the rightward end of the spectrum disagree with me, I’m called a RINO or part of the Establishment. And you know what?
They’re damned right I’m part of the Establishment.
I started getting involved in my mid-twenties. I attended one meeting at church on advancing the pro-life agenda in my precinct conventions, and I never looked back. I’ve been actively engaged in politics for eighteen years now. Can you name any club, organization, or cause you’ve been heavily involved with for eighteen years? Not so many people can claim that.
But it isn’t just the eighteen years’ worth of involvement that makes me establishment. I learned how to participate in the system. I watched others, I asked questions, and I studied. I talked to anyone in leadership who would give me the time of day. I made notes and collected my observations. And I stayed involved. I’ve built a knowledge and experience base, as well as a base of influence.
You’re damned right I’m Establishment.
And sometimes, the Establishment didn’t like having me around.
- Like the time I started a tea party and didn’t turn it into an endorsement vehicle for Republicans.
- Like the time I worked on campaigns to unseat the leadership of my local party.
- Like the time I endorsed a challenge to the leadership of my state party.
- Like the time I started training people to use social media when the party leaders thought it a waste of time.
- Like the time I spoke to groups that weren’t sanctioned by the party.
- Like the time I started training people to join the party system and recruited scores of new precinct chairs.
- Like the time I started training people on parliamentary procedure so they could follow meetings.
- Like the time I started training people to attend party conventions.
But here’s the thing. I didn’t care if they didn’t like it. I stayed.
When they made things up about me, I stayed.
When they wouldn’t listen to my suggestions, I stayed.
When they rigged meeting agendas so I couldn’t offer any resolutions, I stayed.
When they continually shut down dissent and debate, I stayed.
When they took to whisper campaigns and slander to beat back opposition, I stayed.
And I’M STILL HERE.
I’m still recruiting.
I’m still teaching.
I’m still training.
I’m still mentoring.
I’m still challenging.
I’m still a burr in leadership’s saddle, too. And I’m making more just like me.
I understand the folks who want to walk away after a setback. I’ve felt the same way. But I’ve always felt more strongly that I didn’t want to give The Powers That Be the satisfaction of having driven me away. At every gathering, at every meeting, they have to look me in the face. They are forced to deal with me. And as I have found allies and brought other people into the process, they are forced to deal with them as well. It was easy for them to dismiss me with ‘You and what army?’ way back when.
But now, when they see me, they increasingly see that army too.
So you’re damned right I’m Establishment. I’ve worked damned hard to become Establishment, and bring as many of the rabble like me into the Establishment as possible. And if you think about it, I am JUST the kind of person you want in the Establishment. If you’re on the outside of it all, you need to know that I’m the kind of person you want on the inside.
People can call me names all they want. I’ve been called worse. I just want to go on record with *my* record, and to explain that there are lots of people like me in the party process.
And we’re becoming The Establishment.