As I mentioned in a previous post, I held a social gathering for young conservatives in downtown Harrisonburg this past Thursday. Why would I hold such an event, you might ask? Well, with the notable exception of the College Republicans, not too many folks under the age of 30 take much of an interest in politics. For example, at the last meeting of the Harrisonburg Republican Party, I was the youngest person in the room. Although I don’t know how many people were more youthful than I at the last Tea Party meeting, I assure you that I was well below the median age…by at least ten years. I get it. Most people are not like I once was, a fifteen-year-old high school student champing at the bit to do his civic duty to improve his government. Nevertheless, citizens should take an active interest because the government affects so many facets of life. But let’s get back to our gathering…
I arrived at the library a few minutes after 6:00 PM but was dismayed to discover that the close parking lots were full. Therefore, I had to park on the next block away. Normally this setback wouldn’t be too troubling but, given that I had to haul multiple heavy items such as two gallons of tea, two gallons of water, and several boxes of cookies, I found the multiple treks to and from my car to be quite taxing. The first guest to arrive was Mr. Mellott, a writer for the Daily News Record. I was pretty surprised to see him because I didn’t think the local news would take much notice of my humble operation. His presence made me a bit nervous, not because I have any objection to attention from the media, in fact I welcome it, but rather I was worried that the event would be sparsely attended and therefore reflect poorly on me. Next to arrive was a handful of members of the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party. Although they too were not in my expected age range, I greatly appreciated their company especially their willingness to help me set up the room and return the items to my car upon the conclusion of the event.
All in all, about twenty people showed up to the gathering. We had a handful of people from the Young Republicans, the James Madison University College Republicans, Luis (a great guy who is very spirited about the cause), and even a few volunteers from Corey Stewart’s The Rule of Law Campaign. Even though I had prepared a few brief remarks for the crowd, I never had the opportunity to speak given that people came and went as they pleased. I don’t believe that more than ten people were in the room in any given moment. Then again, perhaps it was for the best. After all, the event wasn’t for me, but for everyone.
Overall, the meeting was both a disappointment and a success. It was a disappointment because, with the exception a few of the JMU CRs, I didn’t get to meet any new 18 to 40 year old conservatives. I didn’t bring in any new blood. By contrast, my unexpected accomplishment was the opportunity to spend a good bit of one-on-one time talking to the leaders of the local Tea Party. Although, in general, they are both considerably older than I and don’t have nearly the experience in politics, it is refreshing to hear about and witness their dedication and vigor in support of our shared conservative principles.
Let me take the opportunity to infuse this post with a bit of political encouragement. Don’t believe the lies. One person can make a difference in politics, regardless of age or experience. You are not alone. Never forgot that there are many conservatives, just like you, out toiling in the trenches to promote our ideology. But you should join a group. Whether it is the College Republicans, Young Republicans, City or County Republicans, your local Tea Party, or something else, find activists who believe the same as yourself. After all, while one person can carry away heavy stones, a multitude can move an entire mountain.
I guess in retrospect, I should have expanded my invitation for the event to conservatives of all ages. It just would be nice to meet a few more unattached conservative young women. Anyway, next time I hold a social event, I really hope you can join me.