This guy . . . Jack Morris, chair of the Allen County Democratic Party. I saw him on TV Tuesday night, speaking to the assembled crowd of Democrats after a night of crushing defeat for Democratic Party candidates in Indiana and nationwide. The mood was beyond bleak.
He told us this morning at the Allen County Democratic Party meeting that he used to have a personal policy of giving himself 24 hours to suffer after a bad election result. But now that he’s chair of the party, he didn’t get to have that 24 hours; he had to wake up the next morning and do a radio interview at 8 am in which he had to speak with some hope. I don’t know how that radio interview went, but this morning at the meeting, 72 hours after defeat, the room was full of people with hope who are ready to make a plan.
Several people at the meeting commented on how happy they were to see so many new people at the meeting. I thought that was kind, given that it would be justifiable to say “where have you people been for the past year?” The long-time party loyalists undoubtedly felt like the regular gym rats do every January when a bunch of New Year’s resolvers start showing up, making it harder to get time on a cardio machine and creating lines for the weight machines. Unlike the gym rats, though, who can simply wait and hope for all those people to give up and stay home, the Democratic Party needs to harness the energy of those who will show up this month—here and across the country—but who will lose momentum if no one actively engages them. City Councilwoman Sharon Tucker said how happy she was to not be able to find a parking space today, but that she would be even happier if the parking lot was full next month, and the month after, and the month after.
Morris brought the candidates who had been on this year’s ballot to the front of the room and read a portion of a speech by Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Jack Morris had to wake up and have hope and a plan (or a plan for making a plan) by 8 am on Wednesday, because it’s his job to do so. If I’m going to be the Democratic Party, instead of a bystander who votes Democratic, it’s my job, too.
Rachel E. Hile