The agenda for the March 28 Meeting for the MCDP Central Committee indicated a very short meeting — it amounted to twelve minutes of announcements and reports. The you-tube video of the meeting shows that after this agenda ended, I addressed the group starting at 12:42. My goal in speaking was to make a motion that the Central Committee form a subcommittee, of everyone in attendance who would want to join, to meet with the chairman and discuss making deliberation a big part of our Central Committee meetings. I start my remarks by telling about the paper that I already had distributed to the group — a copy of a letter to MCDP Chairman, Mark Owens. In this letter I outline a list of six topics / issues that I’m urging that the Central Committee to deliberate — to research, discuss, and reach consensus about.
My name is Mike Bock. I represent the Democrats in Kettering 4-J. I first became a member of the Central Committee in 2006, was reelected in 2010. Did not seek election in 2014 and was elected in 2018.
I am very concerned about the party and I think we all should be. How do we create a strong party that has unity? This is the question we need to think about. How do we make these meetings of the Central Committee the kind of meetings that members want to attend?
I checked the sign-in sheet and counted about 60 members in attendance this evening. That’s out of a total membership of about 240. Thanks to Alison and Tim Benford about 110 new members have been appointed to the Central Committee since the Reorganization Meeting last June. This big increase is great, but it’s not going to matter unless as an organization we do better. We should be alarmed that in 75% of our Central Committee members are absent tonight. This is a tiny turn-out. We are not doing anything in these meeting that gives any member a good reason to attend.
I’d like for everyone to have a copy of an email I sent to Mark Owens. In this letter I am saying that the Central Committee must become a deliberative body and we must begin talkinga bout important things. We need to do the hard work of researching and dialoging about questions of real importance. In the letter I suggest six issues for deliberation. In this meeting, nothing of consequence has happened — there only has been announcements and club reports — nothing that would interest the 75% of the members who chose not to attend.
The Central Committee needs to discuss and deliberate important questions. We need to come to grips with what a twenty-first century Democratic Party should look like. Last May at the Democratic Primary, Democrats elected a new Central Committee. At the June Reorganization Meeting there were three big changes to the MCDP Constitution — pointing to a new direction of the party. The new Preamble says: “We the Representatives of the Democrats living in Montgomery County — in order to form a strong party organization that empowers representative democracy within our party and throughout the county — withing our party, and within the whole county — do establish the Montgomery County Democratic Party Constitution.”
I think we will become a strong party when we become a champion of democracy — when we become known as champions of democracy. I like the idea in the movie “American Creed,” that Alison referred to, that citizens need to work together to find common ground. What really unites Americans is our love for America. We love America. We all want our system of government to succeed but it is falling apart right now. We have no unity, we are pulling against each other.
Ralph Nader famously said that the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are like Coke and Pepsi. They are both trying to sell you something. People are cynical and sick of politics as it is now. We shouldn’t make it our goal to become better politicians. We need to stand for something. We need to stand for something as a party that transcends politics. We need to let people know that we are champions of democracy. We need to do the hard work of deliberation. We need to show our devotion to democracy by what we are doing in this room, by what we talk about in this room, by how we empower ourselves in this room.
There’s only 60 people here this evening. What does that poor attendance say? It says most members saw no value in coming to this meeting. We didn’t have an agenda for this meeting. We are not operating in a professional way. These remarks might sound negative, like I have some animus in my heart. I love you all. I want the party to be successful. How to make the party successful is the question.
Here’s is what we need to do. In most organizations, the real work is done in committees. Deliberation works best in small groups. Right now, this organization has no active committees, except, maybe, finance. (I turned to Kurt Hatcher and he verified.)
Where is the committee to do what our constitution challenges us to do? Where is the committee — “To connect Montgomery County Democrats within an extended MCDP community where every member has a voice…” That’s a big deal. Montgomery County has 60,000 registered Democrats. Why are we not brainstorming and making a plan for engaging our base?
Where is the committee that is studying the 2018 election in Montgomery County? There has been no report. Montgomery County voted for Trump and for DeWine. Why did we allow that to happen? Why won’t Democrats come out and vote? We have precincts that voted 90% – 95% for Cordray. It’s amazing. But these strong precinct only had a turn-out of 40%. What can we do to make 2020 different? Why aren’t we talking about this? What is our plan?
So, I’d like to make a motion …