Since we launched the OKGrassroots Project four months ago, we’ve become familiar other groups that believe the precincts are key to restoring constitutional, representative government to America. In fact, we’ve drawn from, and been inspired by some of them.
So far, except in a few isolated places, no one has been able to get the project off the ground, or to keep it going when they do. The problem we’ve all been grappling with is how to make the precinct organizations meaningful enough for people to get involved, and stay involved. Most people are busy with jobs and families, and not looking for another meeting to attend.
The keys to success seem to be:
- developing and instilling an overall vision for the project;
- making the meetings meaningful, going beyond politics to developing community, linking participation into achieving the vision;
- developing a methodology that is easily replicable;
- developing a communications network for inter- and intra-precinct communications;
- getting a working model going;
- recruiting those already called to be a part of the solution into the process.
The monthly, non-partisan precinct assembly is the basic building block. The town meeting, where direct democracy among the people in the immediate area, is what made America great. It is from there that representative government arose. Preceding and during the American Revolution, Committees of Correspondence, operated in a similar fashion, with the overall vision of restoring the liberties that the Crown was rapidly eroding.
We envision vibrant precinct assemblies, operating in a town meeting format, communicating with each other and cooperating appropriately to the issues important to those communities. One precinct in isolation is about as effective as one hand clapping. Twenty precincts in a House District, or thirty in a Senate District or municipal ward, can accomplish wonders.
By providing a way for the people to apply pressure where it is needed, a sustainable liberty movement can develop. Informed citizens, who understand the issues in their immediate community and are willing to do something about it, can make a difference. They can hold a conversation about the principles of liberty, and how to apply them consistently to public policy. They can develop and elect good representatives and hold them accountable to their principles.
The precinct assemblies need to go beyond political issues to community and neighborhood issues. After all, a precinct is only a neighborhood of neighborhoods. And life is certainly much more than politics. Modern American society has people so busy, and so disconnected, that it seems to be the norm that few people even know their next door neighbors well, much less the rest of the people in their immediate area. Yet there is a great need to community and neighborliness if we are to successfully navigate the many crises we face today.
Since project inception, we’ve had a chance to share the concept with a number of groups in Oklahoma and elsewhere. The reception has been very positive. People are hungry for a solution to problems that seem insurmountable. They are glad to have a plan with promise to help solve them.
With the political convention season winding down here in Oklahoma, we are laying plans for launching our first precinct assembly. We plan to use it as a model to see what works, and what doesn’t. We’re planning to live stream video so you can join the fun, if you can’t join in person. We hope you will join us and be thinking about how you can do the same thing in your own precinct, and encourage others in neighboring precincts to do the same.
Stay tuned for more details, and we hope to see you there!