Political Activism

Integrity Restored in George Phillips for Congress

Posted on July 23, 2010. Filed under: Political Activism, Tea Party Movement | Tags: , , , , |

Almost a year ago my husband and I marched Pennsylvania Avenue with 1.7 million other Americans for the first 9.12 Freedom Works DC Tax Revolt March.  It changed our lives.  Until that day we’d been blissfully living a “regular Joe” life; raising a family, working, and  living morale lives.

From those millions of DC marchers, thousands went home and got to work mobilizing to put the brakes on an out-of-control, arrogant,and defiant White House and Congress. My husband and I were one of those thousands. We formed a local community based 912 Tea Party group.

As we navigated through unchartered waters of Tea Party activism the more politically active we became.  Some Tea Parties and 912 groups are adamantly opposed to the Tea Party participating in the political process other than to educate people about the political process.  Other groups believe it our civic duty to become pro-active or to  accept,without complaint, the outcome at the voting booths this November.

This article is not about the Tea Party.  It is about a man we met along the way of our journey with the Tea Party this last year.  His name is George Phillips and he is running for Congress to represent the citizens of district 22 of the state of New York, of which I am one.  George needs my support and he has asked for my vote.

You may be unaware the Tea Party has been openly vetting candidates for the last several months at local Meet & Greets and Candidate forums.  These events are free to the public and tend to be well attended. Our first encounter with Republican candidate George Phillips was at one of these events.

What struck me most about George was his ease with people, his casual dress and his in-depth knowledge and  understanding of the Constitution and the rule of law, something I was witnessing our state and national representatives knew little about and were less willing to follow.

I’d never seen a candidate up close.  So, I was immediately intrigued as I listened to George lay out his Bold Plan for fiscal responsibility, return to moral principles, term limits, and a strategy to combine government committees and programs in order to diminish bureaucratic waste.  Since, I wasn’t an expert on many of those topics I took notes and resolved to check out his platform for accuracy at a later date.

We extended a visit to George to come speak to our group.  George immediately resonated with our Tea Party.  George is the first candidate I have ever known personally.  Getting to know him and his campaign staff was my first political experience. The George Phillips for Congress team have been true friends to the Tea Party in Congressional District 22-NY.

I simply can’t say enough good things about George.  But, here are a few:

George is a man of tremendous character and integrity.  The more I interact with George the more I see this depth of character in George.

How do I define character and integrity as it applies to George?  I define it according to what I observed in my grandfather’s life and generation.

I tell folks that I consider my grandfather, who left this earth a few years ago, to be the last of the great generation of men who lived by an unwritten code of integrity.

I recently looked up the definition of integrity. Here are the three main characteristics of integrity:

1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.

3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

George fits all three. These things come naturally for George.  He doesn’t have to manufacture integrity. George is just genuinely George, a man of strength, stability, a high moral standard he lives by, and a deep concern for those that he is seeking to represent in DC.

George is just George.  Most of the time I see him, he is eating fast food on the fly…eager instead to get out and shake the next hand, hear the next story from a concerned voter, and struggle to make a scheduled event on time.  I’ve learned candidates are notoriously late, especially the ones that really have a shot at winning the race!

They are so popular their managers over-schedule them.  On top of that when the people connect with a candidate like George Phillips both the average Joe Citizen and George have a hard time stepping away from the interaction.  Every one needs affirmation and encouragement, no matter if you are candidate or voter.  That basic human need connects us.

I have heard the statement, “George is such a nice man” so many times it got me thinking of him as someone like  Mr..Smith, i.e., Mr..Smith goes to Washington.  I have even heard the statement, “I like George so well.  He is so genuine.  I hope he will not change when he gets to Washington and has to play party politics!”

Well, there is no guarantee he won’t. Most of them do. But then some of them become our greatest mavericks like Michele Bachman, Mike Pence, Joe Wilson, Sarah Palin, and Jim De Mint!  The risk of George loosing what I value the most about him; his internal moral compass, self-modeled modest and sound economic principles, and his refreshing depth of understanding about the American History, the Constitution and the problems facing voters in the 22 NY Congressional District.  I’ll take the risk!

George asks, “Have you had enough?”  The growing numbers of New York CD 22 concerned voters say, “YES!” We have had enough!  It is time to unseat career politician and left of liberal Maurice Hinchey this November.

The reason?  They believe George.  They instinctively trust his genuineness. If voters demand a well polished, flashy, freshly tanned skin against shiny white teeth and distinguished grey hair wrapped in expensive clothes than George is not for you.  Unfortunately,these are the things that ignorant voters use to define competent politicians.

George is not a politician. George will become a statesman. George will bring some sorely needed integrity back to Washington. You can count on that.

Check out George’s Bold Plan, volunteer, donate, and vote for George Phillips for Congress!

Elect George Phillips for Congress

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On the road with the candidate

Posted on April 2, 2010. Filed under: Christian American, Political Activism, Politics, Tea Party Movement | Tags: , , |

If I wasn’t spending so much time creating group and event pages on social networking sites, uploading pictures and current news of the candidate I am supporting I might have time to actually write more about said candidate and my experiences with such said candidate’s campaign!  Whew!

Last Saturday I had a rare treat. A glimpse into the life of a  grassroots candidate on his Saturday tour around his congressional district.  At a previous Meet & Greet for this candidate I had flippantly suggested to his communications director that I would love to be a “groupie” for a day.  Now, I say I said this flippantly because if the communications director didn’t bite on it I could save my dignity and say, “but I realize that wouldn’t be possible since I’m just a little rah-rah girl.” 

However, if this said PR guy did bite on it  I would be able to continue my secret wish of seeing first hand the workings of a political campaign.  He bit. I was scheduled to travel with candidate and staff of two.

My day started at 8:30AM when I put a call into the communications director to ask what the days events were and how I should dress appropriately.  We were scheduled inside and outside that day.  I sheepishly asked, “did I wake you up?”  What a silly question.  “No, was the response..My day started three hours ago with email and news alerts. We are jumping in the car now for our two-hour drive to you!”

My first scheduled appearance with the candidate this Saturday was a phone bank I had set up for him.  I was meeting several other volunteers willing to give two hours to work the phones identifying party supporters. If we identified who the voters are that will vote for our candidate without much prodding it will save campaign funds down the road sending mailings.

At 11 o’clock I arrived at the restaurant.  Twelve wonderful servants showed up to make calls, some nervously. At 11:05AM I received a phone call from my candidate that he was getting off the exit.  He was very excited to meet the folks and get us going on making calls.  We all scurried inside awaited his arrival.

Cheerfully, our candidate greeted us with a short synopsis of his platform and some current news related to his campaign.  He explained the phone bank process and his staff distributed the phone bank lists.  He ordered pizza and soda for the volunteers, answered a few questions, thanked everyone for their time and support and then excused himself to his next destination.

Since, this is where I jumped on the campaign express I kissed my kid, handed his baseball stuff to a friend who was taking him home for me, thanked my fellow volunteers for coming, grabbed my bag and steno pad and headed for the car with the candidate and campaign staff.

Now, the phone bank was somewhat in the boonies and the next event was in the boonies in a different part of the district.  The directions acquired by the communications director would have routed us from the opposite direction.  So, my value on this expedition increased immediately as I was able to direct us via back roads to the protest rally we were heading too.

As we pulled up to the rally we could see about 50 patriotic citizens assembled at the gate of a national wildlife preserve. This group had assembled for what they called a “for the birds” protest rally of wasteful spending of taxpayers money. Money going to haul dirt in to cover a runway so the birds would have a nice place to drop their droppings.

The candidate jumped from the car, almost before we came to a complete stop,  ready to engage the fired up crowd.  Later, his communications director would tell him that was the best speech he had heard my candidate give so far.  The mixture of zeal from the assembled “ticked off” citizenry and the crisp outdoor air added to the energy of the moment.

These generous community minded patriots quickly collected almost 900 dollars for the candidate by passing a hat. That is truly grassroots American generosity at its best!

After a quick walk around shaking hands and briefly answering questions we were back in the car. The communications director refocused the candidate.  The drive to the next event was about 40 minutes.  Enough time to go over the candidates presentation to the protestors. I informed this is “Critique of how candidate did” time. 

The consensus was Candidate had missed on two points and these needed correction.  ‘I give you a strong A for this time with the folks,”  communications director said.  “So do I!” chimed in campaign staffer and designated driver. That was real encouragement to candidate.

“Was there a reporter there?” someone asked.

“Yes.” I replied.  “He was standing to my left.”

My Candidate is trying out a new campaign slogan, “Had Enough?”  In earlier interchanges with voters he had received a less than enthusiastic response but, with this group of outdoor protestors he heard a boisterous “Yes!”  “We have had enough!”

“Next,” mumbled the communications director as he thumbed his blackberry, “we must address the question you will be hearing more often,  What is your opinion of the Tea Party movement and especially the claim the Tea Partier’s are racist?”

My ears perked. I was especially interested in this planned response from my candidate considering I am one of those Tea Partier’s.

Candidate didn’t hesitate and stated, “My response is, It’s wonderful more American’s are getting involved in the process. They may be some inappropriate sayings and signs but for the most part Tea Partier’s are great patriotic people and should be encouraged to continue to get active.”

Good answer.  I smiled.  Isn’t that what I’m doing right this very moment by sitting next to someone who could be described as “the nice guy next door” candidate in his less -then- prestigious car driving around a congressional district I didn’t even realize existed a year ago.

After peeling and eating a banana, candidate asked,  “Do we have time to stop on this leg for something to eat?”  “NO,” was the response.

I had stuffed the other half of a cream cheesed bagel into my bag just incase.  I offered it to Candidate.  To my amazement he humbly accepted it and didn’t waste a beat eating it.  We arrived at our destination sooner than planned and made a swing through McDonald’s for cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, and sodas.  I asked, as I unwrapped my sandwich, “is this really chicken?”  I can’t imagine a months long menu of fast food dining!

At senior center voters showed up, paid the entrance fee to hear our candidate and enjoy refreshments.  It was a nice affair with decorated red, white, and blue table, lottery for donated gifts, and generous contributions to the campaign.

Since I knew some of these awesome patriots from earlier jaunts to DC and local rallies and meetings it was a wonderful time of Tea Party networking for me.

After goodbyes  to the senior group and we were back in the car. This car time was the most interesting of the day for me. Early on in the day the communications director informed me that certain things were for “in the car discussion and certain things were Not for out of the car discussion.”  Boy, did I feel important to be “in on” the inside the car discussions!

Minutes later the candidate was stuffing some campaign papers inside the storage sleeve of the back side of the driver’s seat and pulled up a soft baby neck sleep aid.  The stuffing was oozing out of the torn edge.  “This is my son’s,” he said.  “When we are in the car and he is cranky we give it to him to rest his neck on.”  I responded,  “I think maybe we should get little son of candidate a new one!”   “Yeh,” he chuckled.  Obviously, missing the little guy that snuggled the familiar object.

I pondered what it must be like for a husband and father of such a young child to be away so much. It only served to reinforce my high opinion of this candidate.  He wasn’t in this just to win or for the money and prestige.  That reflective star out the window said, “I’m in this because I’m concerned for the future of my family…of my son.”

Rule # 2 of a campaign groupie: Realize that the amount of time, effort, emotional energy, and physical stamina required to win a campaign is doubled for the candidate.  All the more reason to know what his true motive to win is all about.

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My Secret Life as a Campaign Groupie

Posted on March 15, 2010. Filed under: American Patriotism, Political Activism | Tags: , , |

I have a secret.  Something I think I’ve only ever mentioned to my husband.  I have always secretly wished to work on a political campaign.  Since, I’m the most ignorant of all persons about the political process and the least polished of un-professional politicos my chances of that ever happening were, well, rather slim.

Then Barak Obama was selected as our 44th President and the Tea Party Revolution was born. I’m not sure but I think there were Tea Partier’s around prior to the inauguration of Obama but after that sad day there was NO question that the Tea Party/912 Movement was going to thrive.

I have since wondered why we (my husband and myself) didn’t know about our local Tax Day Tea Party Rally April 15, 2008 but then I remember I was in the Caribbean marrying the first of our three daughters. Our first encounter with the Tea Party Movement was in DC, September 12, 2009, a day I will never forget. If the collective energy of that miles wide gathering had been encapsulated in a rocket booster it might have been enough to launch the Space Shuttle.

As, I have stated in earlier posts my husband and I returned home to our lefty liberal district in upstate NY scratching our heads and itching in other places, wondering what difference we might make.  We immediately felt like the runt ants of the litter in the ant hole. We had no idea HOW to get involved.

Soon we formed a local 912/Tea Party Meetup group. While having meetings and continuing to attend ObamaCare protests and various other rallies encouraged us greatly we became increasingly aware that these events would not bring about the real changes we desired to see in our local, state, and national government systems.

Had our first meet with the Tea Party Movement not also coincided with an election year my secret wish might not be a reality.  Not only is this an election year but this is most likely the most important non-presidential election year in the last fifty years or possibly the history of our young US Republic.

We realized we must pivot and do more than complain about the current state of affairs.  We had to become active and we encouraged the members of our 912 group to consider pivoting with us.  We were painfully aware that we had NOT been concerned citizens soon enough…back when the snowball of crushing tax burdens and loss of liberty was small and not a hair’s length from rolling over us, leaving us bruised, victimized and demoralized.

We had been complacent, ignorant, and too busy to care much, let alone get involved.  I have to be honest, before this last year I couldn’t tell you who my state senator was or my US congressman.  I didn’t even know what congressional district I lived in.  And, Assembly District? What’s that?

I had never gone to a town board meeting, didn’t know that I was supposed to represent my party as a precinct committeeperson in my neighbor, and did not know the name of a single party “who’s who” in my district.

I did, however, pride myself that I knew that the little building in the middle of my dilapidated town was where I showed up once every two years to cast my very important vote.  I felt so relieved each time I entered that building, pulled the lever, and voted, sometimes for people I had never heard of.  But, what did that matter?  I had cast my vote, accomplishing my civic duty because I made sure I cast my vote for my party…right down the line…R?, click, R?, click, R?, click.

Well, not this past election cycle of November 2009.  I got up early that day, drove to the little stone building, and instead of signing in I asked the nice little ole’ lady,who had the auspicious job of making sure I was who I said I was, if I could have a ballot list.  I didn’t even know it was called a ballot list. I asked her for the piece of paper that told me who was running, that’s how pathetic I was.

The little ole’ lady looked a little disappointed I wasn’t going to sign her book…she was desperately trying to stay awake;  not much action in our little town.  “NO,” I said, “I’m not voting just yet but I’ll be back later.”

I returned later to cast my more informed vote after I having googled every candidate on that ballot list and checking them out thoroughly. When I left the stone building that evening not only did I “feel” relieved I had done my civic duty, I “knew” I had done my civic duty.  I was getting smarter.

Now, how does this fit into my secret wish to work on a campaign?  Well, as I educated myself about the candidates on the ballot that day I began to explore what candidates were running in the 2010 elections. I educated myself about my state senators, my state congressmen, my assembly district, my US senators and US congressmen. I shared this information with my husband.

About that time another Tea Party group in our region was having a Meet & Greet for a candidate running  for Congress representing our district.  He is running against a nine term incumbent congressman who is, to say the least, a career politician and did not host one Town Hall Meeting in the summer of 2009 when we, his constituents, needed to hear from him and voice our concerns about the presidents supposed bill to improve the care of our health. I call that cowardice at its best.

My husband and I had never been to a Meet & Greet for a candidate, any candidate, let alone a candidate for the US Congress.  We listened to his platform stump.  We observed his demeanor.  We listened to the questions other attendees asked. I took many notes.

After, the meeting we introduced ourselves to this candidate.  We let him know of our interest in learning more of his platform and possibly helping him in our community. My husband and I talked all the way home about how much we instinctively liked this man but we needed to be wiser than we once were and take it slow.  We decided to research this candidate before we rushed to do anything for him.

Well, that was three months ago and we are now full-fledged supporters (mostly volunteer time and energy) of this man’s campaign for the US Congress. 

I will be writing more about my experiences as I walk a path I’ve  never walked before; the path into political activism. Along the way, I’m sure I’ll will make mistakes but that doesn’t bother me.  I know I will learn a great deal and that energizes me.

What have I learned so far?

Groupie Rule # 1.  Don’t whine about politics if you don’t plan on doing anything to change it. Educate yourself.  Take a stand for something.  Get active.  Support SOMEONE!

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