Sep 08

The Gateway Drug to Politics

The Gateway Drug to Politics

Andrew Genesius

we want youAsk most people if they would like to be involved in politics, and they will look at you as if you have a hole in your head. Most people would rather be swaddled in a blanket infected with small pox than be embraced by a politician. The majority of people do not want to be involved with politics, because no one wants to be involved with politicians. When people think of politicians, they think of slimy, underhanded shysters who are more likely to sell a person snake oil than a solution to what ails the United States.

Due to the dirty dealings of more than a few double-dealing politicians, most civic minded people with integrity want nothing to do with politics. They would rather throw a mongoose down their trousers than associate with politicians. Both political parties have stigmatized politics to the point that the average person would not touch anything political with a thirty-nine and a half foot pole. They would rather be put in a boat with a seasick crocodile than a room full of politicians.

With such animosity, how can a person with curiosity about the political process find a way to improve the lives of their family, friends, and neighbors? Everyone wants to make the world a better place, but not everyone wants to hang out with a perceived rogues’ gallery of politicians to do it.

Political groups have a serious problem. People care about political issues (i.e. education, healthcare, unemployment), but they do not want to be involved with political organizations. This is a serious conundrum for political organizations, and they have no answer for this glaring question: how can they help people overcome their revulsion towards political parties, in order for them to join their organization?

The answer is marijuana. Not the drug per se, but they need to have a gateway group that leads to the harder stuff. If the average person attended the local Republican or Democrat meeting, they would say no way Jose to politics. They would be bored by the details of policies no one really cares about, appalled by the infighting of who is allowed to be on which committee, and shunned by those who believe every new member is a threat to their position as assistant chair to the refreshment committee for the summer picnic. What is needed is a group who will allow people to stick their toes in the political water; instead of being thrown into the middle of the deep end to be eaten alive by political piranhas.

The Louisville River City Republicans is a perfect example of how a group can provide an on-ramp to the political freeway system. When a person is by themselves, it can be hard to merge into the political landscape. New people do not know who they should talk to about the issues that are important to them. The Louisville River City Republicans solves this problem by providing a friendly, fun atmosphere for people at all levels of political experience to come together and network. There are no people grasping for power, because the whole point of the group is to connect people with other like-minded people. This networking group helps to orient people who are new to politics in a way that is similar to how new college students learn about fraternities and sororities on campus, except without the hazing.

The other unique thing the group does to be successful is to make politics fun. The Louisville River City Republicans are not made up of octogenarians whose idea of a hot night out on the town is heading over to Denny’s for the early bird special before turning in for the night at 7pm. This group is not your grandparents Republican Party. It is for the young who have energy, enthusiasm, and excitement. The focus is on enjoying oneself while making a difference. They firmly believe that improving society should not be like a trip to the dentist’s office.

The approach of the Louisville River City Republicans is not something that is unique to Republicans.  Their method could be adapted by the Democratic, Libertarian, and Green parties who often forget that the second part of their organization’s name is party. Politics does not have to drab, dull, and boring. It can be fun, exciting, and sociable. The key is to have a fun process that will allow new people to join the political fraternity.


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