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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Intra-Party Politics

Two Democratic Friends

I sent this out to a list of Oklahoma Democratic Party leaders recently. I plan to run for the chairman's spot in my county, Oklahoma County. Our county convention is March 31st and I will be elected by delegates chosen at our state-wide precinct caucuses on March 8t. These are some of my reflections as a candidate for a party office. I will have a friend or two running against me, and we will be asking mutual friends for their support. I hope we can do this a remain friends with each other and united as a party.

We, the members of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, are about to enter a time of "Intra-party" politics. In other words, we are deciding who will lead us during the crucial election we face in 2008. We will be asked to make many decisions and have in front of us many choices, few of them easy. No where in our society, except perhaps in sports, is it more impossible to create "win-win" situations than in politics. Elections mean someone wins and someone loses, if there are at least two people who want the same position. The fact that these elections pit Democrat against Democrat means that we will have friends, colleagues, even allies asking, often demanding our vote.
Yet we recognize that we need a united party in order to succeed, so what do we do? We remember first and foremost why we are Democrats. We have all seen the slogan posted on various signs and bumper stickers: "Democrats Care." I wish I could amend that to read "Democrats Care: About More than Number 1". Probably wouldn't make for good advertising, but to my mind that's why I'm a Democrat. I want a world where we truly realize "justice for ALL." And if my political ideals go beyond individual comforts, then my political commitment must go further than my personal ambition.
Personal ambition is good and necessary if we are to have a vital party. I am running for an office in my county because I truly believe I can do it better than those who are also running for the office can. (We will see what the delegates have to say.) But I do not believe that winning the election is a personal endorsement or losing it a personal rejection. It is an opportunity for service, a means to advance the cause of justice.
So if my Democratic friend decides to support me, great; I hope a majority of them do so. But if not, she is still my Democratic friend, and we will work together for this party we love. For me to feel rejected or, worse, to drop out of active participation in my party would make a lie of everything I feel makes me a Democrat.
I wish you the best of fortune as you help to guide your portion of the party through this often difficult time. May we recognize that we Democrats care about more than 1 in regards to our party as well as our country.
Lynn Green
OK County Secretary

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