This convention was a success for me on so many levels. Not just because of a great Blogger's Caucus of over 80 people, or because I got a chance to hear how so many folks are using the blogs to stay informed and get involved, or because I had the chance to meet so many incredible people and hear them say "Oh, you're Liberal Lucy!", but because I found a group within our great state party that exactly embodies the very reason that I live the way I do, I speak out on this and several other blogs every day, and the amount of time and dedication that I give of myself to the causes and people that I do - The Blue Tiger Democrats.
I'm not a Democrat because I was raised to do so. In fact I'm the only person in my entire family that claims a party membership. I'm not a Democrat because it's trendy, or someone said I should join. I'm a Democrat because I believe in giving back to my community, to my state and to the world, and that is who the Democrats are - the Party of the People.
I attended a session, along with about 50 others during the convention about the Michigan Blue Tiger Democrats, and I found myself continually nodding my head in agreement with what they had to say. A guy sitting next to me summed it up best, "What that guy (Blue Tigers founder Bill Samuels) just said in 5 minutes was the exact reason I've been coming to state conventions half my life."
Here are the Principles of the Blue Tiger Democrats:
- A Party isn't a Party if it's built top-down or supported primarily by large individual and corporate donors.
- A Party isn't strong if it only debates the major issues or refines a concise message that can be communicated in a thirty-second commercial.
- A Party is only as strong as its number of involved and dedicated members who believe in individual responsibility and demonstrate it by working in their communities.
- A Party must not just debate the issues of the day, but demonstrate its values by individual actions.
- A Party is strong if it is connected to its community through day-to-day work solving problems that exist in that community. People working outside the government, outside the bureaucracy, connect the Party to the voters.
- For Politicians to be Respected, we must free them from the humiliating and enormously time-consuming task of fundraising.
- Civic Engagement is a two-way street: it not only benefits individuals in the community, but it ensures that the Party is in touch with communities across America.
I am proud that Michigan is the nation's first official Blue Tiger state.
Our goal is to regain respect for the Democratic Party and for the political process. The Michigan Democratic Party is committed to making civic engagement an integral part of our state organization. By giving Democrats things to do between elections and providing meaningful services we, as Democrats, can show citizens that parties want to engage them more than just on election day.
The best part about Michigan's Blue Tiger program is that its so much more than talk. Back to Brewer-
Our first project was an educational program designed to help urban residents of our state manage the surging cost of their utilities.
The project formed local organizations to educate community members about options and solutions for energy efficiency to cut the cost of utilities. It began in ten of the poorest areas of Detroit and Macomb County.
This project is just the first of many we will launch with Blue Tiger to improve the lives of our people through serious, committed civic engagement. These projects will enable us to put our principles into practice and expand our foundation. In addition, we will develop new generations of political leaders and community activists who are committed to helping our citizens, and experienced in how to do it. In this way, our civic engagement projects will bare fruit for years to come.
Our leadership is committed to keeping Michigan a Blue State and we believe that Civic Engagement is integral to this mission.
That is exactly what it is about. It's not about television ads, or stump speeches or even who can have the coolest website and raise the most money.
It's about giving back, it's about really rolling up our sleeves and making our state and our party great again. It's not about you or me, Governor Granholm or Mark Brewer.
It's about how we serve each other and the effective mechanism for change that we become. That is what being a Democrat is about, and that is what being a Michiganian is about.
It's about what's best for MI, not just for me.