It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. -- Theodore Roosevelt, at the Sorbonne, Paris, France 1910Of course, it is still easier to see where others are mistaken than to recognize our own foibles and folly many times. And in politics, the game is all about conflict anyway.
Now that it is time for grassroots political groups to reorganize, at least here in Arizona, it is also a good time for serious reflection and robust discussion. I'm thankful for what Arizona Democrats accomplished in the 2012 general election. But I'm also keenly aware that there were big blunders and there was and is plenty of room for improvement.
How do we get where we need to go? How do we become the change we want to make happen?
MIT senior lecturer Peter Senge's book, The Fifth Discipline: the art and practice of learning organizations, is considered "seminal" by management experts and those who teach leadership of various types of organizations. The book's page on Amazon.com describes it thus:
This revised edition of Peter Senge’s bestselling classic, The Fifth Discipline, is based on fifteen years of experience in putting the book’s ideas into practice. As Senge makes clear, in the long run the only sustainable competitive advantage is your organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition. The leadership stories in the book demonstrate the many ways that the core ideas in The Fifth Discipline, many of which seemed radical when first published in 1990, have become deeply integrated into people’s ways of seeing the world and their managerial practices.What we have today, in the current reorganization environment, is a challenge to take what has been the reality of the organization(s) (the Arizona Democratic Party; the Maricopa County Democratic Party (and other county party organizations) and legislative district party groups -- then define the vision of what we will make happen, conduct the learning that it will take to get the end result to materialize as a result of the cooperative work of volunteer activists throughout the state.
I will have more to write on this subject, hopefully in the next day or two.
I will also set forth bits and pieces of analysis of election results, comparing those election results with voter registration rolls and the efforts of activists making calls, knocking on doors and getting people to the polls.
With the partial results that I have posted thus far, I have not taken the time to expound on what the vote totals mean when compared to voter registration. It is those analyses that will provide guidance for developing goals, strategies and tactics for the next two years (election cycle).
On Saturday morning, we will begin to hear from candidates for various leadership positions, ultimately choosing the executive team for Maricopa County Democrats. I am confident that we will have good people with solid Democratic values who will provide excellent leadership.
In the meantime, however, people with concerns about how the last election cycle unfolded will articulate their concerns and hopefully also ideas for improvement will begin working on that plan. They (we) will, ultimately (hopefully) grow to care deeply about each other and become teams willing to LEARN and GROW together to change the political culture of our great state.
We WILL persist until we succeed.