One of my responsibilities is that of chairman of the Oklahoma County Democratic Party. Today at the "Speaker's Luncheon" our party holds each Friday at the Boulevard Cafeteria, I took a turn as the speaker giving what I called the "State of the County Party" address. I made some opening remarks which I have reprinted here:
Before I begin, I would like to reflect on why we are involved in this business called “politics.” I first got involved in union politics when I ran for job of political direction of the AFT in 1996 and then ran for the position of county secretary in 2003. But like most of you, I have been involved in various activities long before that.
Some times, politics can seem like a game or sport we play. We engage ourselves in contest, we work to win votes like so many points on the scoreboard, and we hope that through our efforts we win and the other guys lose. Someone like me, who was never athletic, can be rightly accused of using politics as a “sports substitute.”
But that’s really just the surface stuff of what we are doing, the method to get what each of us earnestly desires: a society where human dignity is upheld as our highest goal, a society where “justice for all” is more than just words we mumble over when we say the Pledge to the Flag. We must always be aware that our actions have real purpose. What we do and whom we elect may mean that a child, born into poverty, can be vaccinated against preventable diseases, and that child can receive the pre-school education she needs to stand on equal footing with any other child in this state. Our work may mean that a family can stop using the emergency room doctors as their primary care physicians. That a soldier who has fought in a war he didn’t create can find healing for wounds of both body and mind. That a single mother who works a full time job does not find herself at the end of each month falling further and further into debt and despair. That an elder, a member of the Greatest Generation, having built this Great Nation we all love, does not have to choose between buying groceries and buying prescription drugs.
When I was a lad growing up in a preacher’s home, we had Sunday School attendance contests and Membership Drives trying to increase the people attending church. We were frequently reminded that what we were doing was more than just a numbers game to outdo other churches. We were admonished, “There are Souls in our Goals.” Well, when you are asked to take part in a political activity, talk to strangers in person or over the phone, volunteer time and effort, give money, remember when you are asked to take part in a political drive of some sort, There are lives in our Drives. I know you will do your part.