Labor Day Message, 2021

“Labor Day marks a new epoch in the annals of human history,” wrote Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, in the New York Times in 1910. “Among all the festive days of the year…there is not one which stands so conspicuously for social advancement of the common people as the first Monday in September.”  Labor Day’s surprisingly radical origins (nationalgeographic.com)

I’m writing to you on this Labor Day because our county party needs your help and today seemed an appropriate time to ask for it.  Labor Day had its beginning in worker turmoil when workers had few rights, no safety nets, no voice.   Forget 9-5, shifts were 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.  Immigrants and young children were exploited for their cheap labor.   Ironically, Labor Day was created to placate workers with the hope of ending threats of a major strike.   Labor Day became a time for the last hurrah of summer, with one more get together or get-away before families are fully committed to back-to-school schedules.   The pandemic has opened eyes to the inequities in employment opportunities, wages, benefits and working conditions.   Labor Day is about individuals not corporations.  I believe that the Democratic Party, while not perfect, believes in opportunities and still works for the working stiffs, the underserved and underrepresented. 

I have been told, “I don’t want anything to do with politics.  One party is as bad as the other.” followed by words meant to be reassuring, “But I still always vote for Democrats.”  The challenge with those statements is that if you aren’t both engaged and involved, you can’t make the changes you want to see in the party.  Voting is vital and appreciated, but I am sure you have noticed there aren’t too many candidates with (D) behind their name in our District let alone our County.  Have you asked why that is the case?

For decades I took the party for granted.  I did not consider what it took for candidates and referendums to show up on the ballot. I congratulated myself for being an informed and consistent voter. I now understand that my complaisance allowed the local party to wither.  I was wrong; Democracy only works if we participate.  We want to know what you need from us.  What would make it easier for you to participate?  What changes are you looking for?

And yes, we need you as well.  At the August 29th Special Meeting, I was elected to the position of Chair, replacing Mandy Walters who resigned at our August 15th meeting.  That leaves the Vice Chair position open.  Our current bylaws state, “The Vice Chair shall assist the Chair and act in the place of the Chair when appropriate.”   The Vice Chair serves on the County Democrats Executive Committee, the purpose of which is to “provide direction to the Pend Oreille County Democrats.” 

The goal is to have officers who represent a cross-section of the population, currently Geoffrey Thompson, Committeeperson, is our only male.  All other officers are CIS gendered females.  We are seeking Vice Chair candidates who support the Democratic Party’s ideals.  We encourage any person who is interested to step up.  If you are not ready to be Vice Chair, perhaps you would be willing to attend meetings, join in our outreach movement, or help fund our efforts, or even become a Precinct Committee Officer.  I would love to speak with you one-on-one.  Please call, text, or email me with your thoughts. 

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