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Buncombe County GOP: Kicking Our Own Bucket

 By Carl Mumpower, Buncombe County Republican Party Chairman

Your local Republican Party faces a daily challenge – how to effectively counter an opposition party that outnumbers us 2 to 1.

It may surprise that this is one of the easier parts of our job. We’ve got caring hearts, positive spirits, creative minds and working hands that are pretty good at challenging the built-in limitations of those we like to call “Brand-X.” Though it’s not easy to function in Asheville as a quiet, productive and value-driven conservative, let’s just say we live in a target rich environment that never ceases to disappoint our absurdity meter. Anti-circumcision protestors – really?

Actually our most effective antagonists don’t come in blue. They wear red and play a political version of soccer. How? By kicking over the Republican bucket – and they do so with style.

See if you’ve spotted any of the following on the Republican playing field – (1) Holding grudges with the half-life of plutonium (2) Seeking and cultivating drama everywhere but at a theater (3) Pushing anger buttons – theirs or others (4) Playing “gotcha” with or without supportive data (5) Needing an audience and running over folks to get one (5) Mattering through malice and mischief over more productive agendas (6) Indulging mood swings as a form of personal entertainment (7) Gossiping and criticizing as a hobby (7) Wearing a cynical view like a pair of sunglasses

We could go on, but you get the picture. There are a lot of folks who spend a disappointing amount of time exercising their own demons. In a progressively hostile political environment like Asheville we need something better. Something directing our precious and limited energy toward the real bad guys – not one another.

Case in point – our team of elected officers and other leaders is comprised of 13 people. When I took office a year ago, each were loaned a Silver Dollar. “Recognize that there are two sides to this coin – your job is to be a constructive “edgy” leader that brings those sides together.” “Unity is our mission and your behavior is key to our success – please use that coin to remind you of your important role. I have one too, and if you see me violate that covenant, tell me and I’ll hand it over. Will you embrace the same standard?”

So far no one has come for my coin and I haven’t chosen to ask anyone for theirs. Were I to do so, less than half of our leadership team would have silver in their pocket.

Ironically, some of those coins would come from those who’ve encouraged me to take coins from their peers. It’s interesting how we can remain somewhat oblivious to our failings and maintain crystal clarity on those of others. It is for good reasons Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

All this is to say that if we are going to keep Buncombe’s Republican bucket filled with constructive enterprise; creativity; good will; and conservative flavored values – we’ve got to have a lot more people filling our bucket than working it over.

You might ask why people like to play kick the bucket? Usually it’s because their own bucket is empty, damaged or filled with some not-so-good stuff. We get that – we all get that. Life is hard. But we are all equally stuck with the fact that filling our bucket with good or bad stuff is a choice.

If you were to ask me what the local Republican Party breakdown is today, it would be that for every productively engaged person there is another who can’t manage to resist mischief. The quietly conservative majority are standing back – somewhat in fear – waiting to see who will win.

The answer to that question is easy – no one. Tug-of-War is a game that can be played endlessly.

There is a solution. If we can get a few more people to step forward and help us fill the bucket and a few of the bucket kickers to reconsider their course, we can reshape the future.

Where might we begin? How about borrowing a paraphrased quote from Old-school Democrat Eleanor Roosevelt – “A marriage (and a political party) is a union of forgivers.”

Please let the chair know if he can help – or if you would like to help us. Preserving our America requires that we build on our common ground – not pour our blessings upon it.

James Corey defined the BCGOP’s point of hope and potential, “It’s just a drop in the bucket, but that’s how buckets are filled.”

We need drippers more than kickers. How about you?

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