Saving America: What is a Precinct Meeting?

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A reader asked me to explain what a precinct meeting is, and how it can be used to take back our country.

I haven’t had time to research how this is done in each state. I will write other posts describing each state in detail. But this is the process in Oklahoma.

The two political parties do not get their platforms out of a box of Cracker Jacks. These platforms are voted on by elected party members. Any registered member of a political party can participate in party politics. No one can stop them. All they have to do is begin by going to a precinct meeting.

Here’s how it works in Oklahoma, which is probably not all that different from other states.

Each of the two political parties are divided into territories. These territories fall along state lines. Thus, you have an Oklahoma Democratic or Republican Party, a Texas Democratic or Republican Party, a Michigan Democratic or Republican Party and so on throughout all 50 states. For the purposes of what I asked Public Catholic readers to do yesterday, which is convert the Democratic Party, I’m going to describe the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s process.

State parties are subdivided into territories. In the Oklahoma Democratic Party, these territories fall along the lines of state legislative districts. Thus, the district I represented, District 89, is a district in the Oklahoma Democratic Party, at least for precinct meeting purposes. Each house district is divided into precincts. These precincts are the same ones that the state election board uses to divide voters in order to determine where you go to vote in elections. You can look on your Voter ID card to see your precinct.

Once each year, the Democratic Party (and the Republicans, I might add) hold what are called precinct meetings. Anyone who is a registered member of the Democratic Party can attend the precinct meeting for the precinct in which they reside. These precinct meetings elect officers and vote on resolutions which, if they are passed, will be forwarded to the next step in the process for consideration in becoming part of the party platform. The precinct meeting attendees also elect delegates to the next set of meetings, which are county meetings.

Any one in attendance can introduce resolutions about what should be included in the party platform. Any attendee can be elected a precinct officer or delegate. There is no requirement for having been active in the party previously.

Precinct meetings are usually sparsely attended. Many times, they are held in someone’s home. Other times, there will be district meetings at a union hall in the district or something similar. In areas with really low turnout, several districts may meet together. It does not take much to take over a precinct meeting. You can bring a few friends and family members and sweep it. Precinct meetings take a couple of hours. They are held on a Tuesday evening early in the year.

The delegates who are elected at precinct meetings are then able to attend the county meetings. These are usually much more heavily attended. There may be several hundred people there, and most of them will be party regulars. Members of the Oklahoma House and Senate are automatically delegates to the county and state conventions. These meetings usually take most of a Saturday.

County meetings also elect officers and delegates to the next stage of the process, which is the Statewide convention. At this point, it’s more difficult to get elected a delegate. But it is very do-able if you work together with other pro life Democrats from around the state. If you are a firefighter or police officer or member of another union, you can unite that with your pro life beliefs to gain votes. Ditto for other groups. Also, if we manage to get enough pro life Democrats to show up at precinct meetings, we’ll have the votes at the county meetings to elect pro life delegates to the statewide meeting.

At least in Oklahoma, pro life Democrats are a majority in the rank and file, even though they are almost non-existent among the party regulars. That’s not because the pro choice Democrats have been evil about this. It’s because they were the ones who cared enough to show up at precinct meetings.

County meetings also vote on the resolutions that were passed up from the precinct meetings for inclusion in the party platform. There is a Resolutions Committee that vets these, and also writes resolutions of its own. (This part can get a bit nasty when you’re talking about issues like pro life, which is another reason why we need a lot of pro life Democrats there.) All of these resolutions are voted on by the body at large.

There are a lot of tricks involved in these votes. One of the most common is to hold votes on something that the existing county leadership disagrees with until most people have gone home. Another trick is to use a voice vote to say something has won when it has really lost, or vice versa. At this point, pro life Democrats who are newcomers will need the guidance of someone who is both pro life and an old pro at this stuff. There are quite a few of those people. We just need to work together.

The next step is the statewide convention. This is the meeting at which state officers are elected and the party platform is written and voted on. It is also where Democratic Committeewomen and delegates to the National Democratic Convention which nominates the party’s presidential candidate are elected.

I have not been able to attend an Oklahoma State Democratic Party convention for many years because I have been a pro life Democratic elected official who actually passes pro life bills. I have put pro life first, even when it meant crossing party lines or voting against efforts of the party.

As a Democratic member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, I have always had the legal right to attend. I was an automatic delegate. However, I have been picketed at statewide Democratic Conventions and there was a vote at one of them to censure me by the party for passing a pro life bill. That censure came within 50 votes of passing. I stopped going to these meetings because (a) it was too unpleasant, and (b) my fellow elected officials asked me not to attend because my presence made things too unpleasant for them.

I’m telling you this to give you an idea of how hard core the Oklahoma Democratic party officialdom is in support of abortion. On the other hand, the rank and file is heavily — not exclusively, but certainly a majority — pro life. How did this happen?

It happened because of who attends precinct meetings.

Pro choice people have been working on this party for decades now. They organize and get their people to these meetings. We have lost the Democratic Party to the pro aborts by means of the oldest political truth in the books: Bad politicians (or in this case, bad delegates) are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.

We can turn it around by simply showing up. I mean that. It’s really that easy. It’s a matter of one Tuesday evening and two Saturdays, donated to the pro life cause.

Follow Jesus, Not the R or the D (Thank You Readers!)

Can a Christian be a Democrat?

That’s a loaded question in today’s America. We have one political party directly targeting Christians to the point of having paid organizers who “work” the churches for them. Meanwhile the other political party has become the outpost for every Christian-bashing group going. 

It would seem, based on that analysis, that the party providing the political home to the Christian bashers would be the one to avoid. That was the basic response of many of the commenters on my earlier post on this question. 

The arguments went back and forth, up and down, all along the political spectrum, but the upshot was that the Democratic party is hostile territory for traditional Christians, while the Republican Party is more welcoming to them. 

One commenter raised the question of what is a Christian. After all, there are some denominations who use the moniker Christian on their church bulletins and fit right in with the Democrats. Are they less Christian than the others?

In my opinion, all this begs the central question. Let me reframe it to be more specific. Can a traditional Christian who accepts, believes and tries to follow the 2,000 year old Christian teachings about human conduct and morality be a Democrat?

The converse question also bears a look: Can that same Christian be a Republican?

I think the answer to both these questions is yes … and no. 

You can certainly register as either a Democrat or a Republican. But you may not, on peril of your soul, budge one inch on the 2,000-year consistent teachings of traditional Christianity. 

Abortion? 

Can’t do it or support it.

Gay marriage?

Nope.

Stealing from the poor to give to the rich?

Uh-uh.

Unjust discrimination against other people?

Not allowed.

Following Ayn Rand?

Are you kidding?

The truth is that Christians can and should go just about everywhere in our society. We need to engage the culture at every level. But we cannot compromise the Gospels of Jesus Christ while we are doing it. 

If you follow that simple rule, believe me, you’re going to catch flak from whichever political party you join. Both parties torture the Gospels to make the Gospels fit themselves. Both parties have their toady churches who enable them to do this by providing theological cover. 

I’ve heard preachers quote take Bible verses out of context to justify everything from gay marriage to doing away with safety standards on food. The right wing does it for the corporations. The left wing does it for the gays and the abortion industry. 

This has reached the absurd point that people — intelligent people — will argue about which party is closer to Jesus. 

Repeat after me: Political parties are not churches. They are about getting power and keeping power. Everything else they say is a lie. 

The Republicans formed their pro life position as a strategy, not as a morality. They realized that it was an issue that could be used as a wedge to divide the Democratic party from their core constituencies of labor and working class people. This has been largely successful for the Republican Party.

It has not benefitted the sanctity of life or Christianity in this country. In fact, it has marginalized the whole concept of the sanctity of human life and turned it into a power issue in power politics. This over-zealous support by many religious leaders of the Republican Party and all its positions, including some that are quite evil, has tarnished the moral and prophetic voice of Christianity and weakened the leadership of Christian clergy.

People are sick of the Jesus-is-a-Republican heresy. Unfortunately, they tend to over-simplify and blame all Christianity for the sins of some of its more politically motivated leaders.

On the other side of the spectrum, good Christians are sick of hearing from the anything goes religious leaders who have searched the scriptures and come up with a namby-pamby version of Jesus that basically oks anything anyone wants to do except be against government hand outs.

Let me be clear about this. You can not say that killing unborn children is ok and speak for Christ at the same time. Conversely, you can not slight the needs of women or ignore the disgusting exploitation of and violence against women that is drowning our culture and be speaking for Jesus. 

You can not put your political party ahead of your fealty to Christ and be a faithful Christian. You can not do it. It makes no difference if you are a Republican or a Democrat, if you do not look at your party and see that it is doing things that are anathema to Christian teaching and following Christ, you need to get on your knees and pray for forgiveness and guidance. You have put the wrong god to the forefront of your life. 

Can a Christian be a Democrat?

Yes.

Can a Christian be a Republican?

Yes.

Can a Christian follow their political party instead of Jesus?

No.

We are called to convert the world, not let the world convert us. That includes our political parties. 


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