Down here in the Berkeley of South Dakota, you’d think we’d have a well-oiled lefty machine. And while our votes tend toward that southpaw direction (certainly in the Central Ward), we seem to be missing some pretty essential organization and communication machinery.
Case in point: the McGovern/Abourezk Town Hall at the Buffalo Run Winery last night. I’d post a link to some announcement of the event, but unfortunately, my Googling on “town hall mcgovern abourezk vermillion” comes up with exactly squat.
The only reason it’s even on my radar to bitch about is that yesterday in the early afternoon hours, I was working on cleaning out plots in the community garden, and one of our generous volunteers relayed the information to a couple I was working with–a couple that’s, generally speaking, much more in the loop than I am.
They hadn’t heard about it previously either, and commented that it was on the same night as our Farmers Market Harvest Dinner–an unfortunate scheduling overlap considering that many of our vendors and customers might have been interested in the winery event as well.
The reponse was that this Town Hall had been set up far in advance of the Harvest Dinner (indicating that perhaps we were at fault for the scheduling conflict?). Well, that may be the case, except it’s awfully hard to schedule around an event no one knows about.
While our Harvest Dinner was scheduled pretty late (a couple of weeks ago), I’m thinking we did a pretty decent job of advertising in a mostly paperless, inexpensive, and earth-friendly fashion–through our blog, Facebook, our e-mail list and those of other organizations who helped out, a few phone calls, and handing out invites at the market itself.
Our turnout was great, our vendors who came to sell made money, and the food was fabulous. We ended up having to set up a couple more tables to accommodate all the folks who showed up to share and eat great local food with their friends and neighbors.
It turned out there were at least one or two folks at the dinner who scuttled out around sevenish to drink local wine and talk politics, but the vast majority knew nothing about the important doings across town.
I had my son with me and was consigned to clean-up duty at the Extension Hall, so wasn’t able to make the Town Hall. My partner, who served as County Dem Chair for years (years ago) stayed and helped too.
He was interested in the event (which he heard about from me yesterday afternoon), but figured since he wasn’t invited, he’d help where help was needed. Was this an invitation-only event? Or was this just lousy communication?
If the Democratic Party wants to be active and strong, it behooves the leaders to get the word out about these types of events well in advance, to avoid scheduling conflicts and to create buzz that brings others into the loop.
This isn’t just sour grapes over my not having been invited; this is my complete bewilderment that virtually no one I know (good Dems, almost all) knew anything about this event until the day it was happening. With all the free and effective tools we have available for communicating with a wide swath of people, what gives?
When the Dems hold a stealth event at the winery for “those-in-the-know,” they perpetuate the common stereotype of an elitist party that’s out of touch (and communication) with not only the mainstream, but with their own members.