Thanks to Richmond-based businessman and (self-described) “populist Democrat” Charlie Diradour for helping to open up a discussion on the future of the Democratic Party of Virginia. I couldn’t agree more with what Charlie has to say. What do you all think? Please weigh in below. Thanks.
In politics, doors open and shut very quickly. A door has opened recently that we as Virginia Democrats need to keep open for as long as possible, consider our options as carefully as possible, and make a decision based on the future of our party, not the present nor the past. As Richard Cranwell (not Dickey, as Eric was predisposed to calling him) walks out the door, it is imperative that we hold open meetings, find what people want in a chairperson, and with that advice, make a decision that will benefit us for the next ten years. I know that we reside within a party that takes the concerns of all the citizens seriously and listens with our ears wide open, I also know, therefore, that we need to make a decision that is modeled in listening, considering, and then, acting.
The youth of this country lives on the web, and yet ’08 was only the second presidential cycle that we as political people utilized the web effectively. Our next chair must be completely aware of all that the web has to offer us as a party as well as what that same tool may enable voters to glean from us via the web.
Secondly, we must hold a series of open meetings throughout the Commonwealth, Congressional District by Congressional District, to better understand what the Democrats and those who may want to join our movement want in a leader. Only then will we fully understand what folks are saying and be able to respond by choosing a chair who hears and is heard effectively.
Finally, we must pick someone who is brave. Leaders come in all sorts and shapes, some quiet and studious, some loud and brash. But the common denominator for leadership is bravery. Our party needs to find that one person who is brave enough to issue a press statement regarding an issue of import that is effective, effectively communicated, and carries weight throughout the depth and breadth of the party and the Commonwealth. We need someone people respect for their brave stances, not simply their political acumen.
If I was twenty-five, and needed to know how to involve myself in a race in or near the place I lived, I would go to the web and Google “Democratic Party of Virginia”. I would wait for the home page to load and expect during that wait time to see a video from a dynamic chair urging me to take up a call to servant leadership. Thereafter, I would navigate the site to find out how I could lend a hand. If I was that same twenty-five year old and the splash page included an insider who had been hashing the same hash for years and was revered by folks who grew up in the party during the Eighties, I would scratch my head and wonder, “Really?”.
The door is open, let’s not trip over the threshold of insider party politics.