I’ve never been a fan of politicians so when my wife told me we were invited to a political rally I immediately felt the stick in my eye. I had soured on politics since the last elections when I was forced to vote for the best of the worse. I’m a registered independent voter who is frustrated with both parties and their inability to find some good forward-thinking candidates rather than the same old rich white guys governing with 1950’s values. I was not going to attend the rally but my sage wife reminded me that this was a new group organized by some young and smart people and that there would be free food and Craft beer. I agreed to go with an open mind—what kind of beer?
Although I was a reluctant attendee I was interested to hear from this group Our Shot NC because they were born from the Women’s March back in January. Millions of mostly women demonstrated and promoted local and national issues, many near and dear to me, like: health care for all, combating global warming, and gun control. I obviously don’t agree with all their platforms but I am a fan of women who have a kick-ass way of getting things done–get out of the way guys.
As per the group’s website:
OUR SHOT NC is a political action committee formed by ordinary citizens, just like you. We believe in a North Carolina where ALL can work, prosper, and raise families. OUR SHOT NC is raising money to donate directly to progressive candidates running for State House of Representatives, to help them early in their campaign. Candidates who value fair elections, education, health, environment and equal rights.
Even though I promised to have an open mind I couldn’t help but feel like I was about to be sucked into the same old political game with some repackaging. “Give us your money, vote for us and then we’ll abandon you for the big money.” But the friends who invited us to the rally are: young, smart, and HONEST so I am willing to listen and hope for the best.
When we arrived at the meeting I was relieved to see that there weren’t thousands of demonstrators outside chanting “SHAME” and I didn’t see many BMW’s, Mercedes, or chauffeurs. We signed in and I immediately noticed that Millennial women were running the rally and the few old, white guy’s, in attendance, only dominance was being first in the line for the feeding frenzy of free cookies and barbecue. I went to the bar and they had one of my favorite beers which was a positive way to start the night.
The rally quickly turned into a true love fest with the packed house, desperate for political change, cheering every word. Friendly to the cause politicians attended and motivational words from a local young and smart, charismatic Legislator, who is destined for big things, kept the crowd psyched. The excitement rivaled rabid fans at a Yankee-Red Sox game or parishioners rocking a Baptist service. I couldn’t help but feel the passion but did they have the right stuff to win over this independent moderate?
The short answer is yes with some reservations. To me this rally was all about the changing of the guard from Boomers to Millennials and it’s about time because we’re tired and can’t remember a damn thing. In general, the group was more progressive than me but I was impressed with their passion and commitment. On this night, the message was about finding and funding candidates who better represent the everyday people of North Carolina and not special interests. The most important point they made is how many of the past elections won by ultra conservative puppets were won with very slim margins even though they were funded with large war chests supplied by special interest groups (many not my interests). OurShot presented a Bernie Sanders funding model soliciting many small donations to raise enough money to level the playing field but also keep the candidates free of political bosses and big money groups.
Will we donate?—probably! The bigger question is will they get our vote? That depends on the candidates and platform although with our present lawmakers the bar for my support is set low. We must replace bad representatives on both sides of the aisle with candidates who are willing to intelligently debate and compromise to get things done while staying true to their constituents.
I also realize that to improve our government, old guys like me must be willing to consider a broader spectrum of candidates. Although I wouldn’t label myself a progressive I have more in common with this group than the ultra-conservative wing nuts. I left with a good feeling about our future and hopefully the new candidates will realize that getting elected is about following through on your promises and continuing the grass roots funding to avoid the temptation to be bought by special interests and party bosses. “Whose shot? Our Shot!”