Whither now, local Dems?
The RI County Democratic Party was built in the late sixties by John Gianulis and a few pioneers who rolled up their sleeves and decided they were tired of Republicans dominating in key areas (Congress, county board, etc.). So along came a generation of new leaders and new energy (Gianulis, Evans, Jacobs, etc.)
That worked in the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties -- 4 decades -- but is anyone even addressing the inevitability that there must be a change? Is it respondible to continue to largely ignore the need for some new and challenging Democratic Party leaders to assume positions of responsibility in the party?
Where is the transition program? Any good corporation, any good political party knows that you need to work on transition plans to help usher in new leaders to replace those who have been in powerful positions for a long, long time and who will inevitably need to move on involuntarily, if they shouldn't have moved on of their own volition already. John G, now 83, Lane Evans, in declining health, and so on.
Where is the transition effort? Once these fine leaders move out of the scene, is the party going to be left grasping at whomever happens to be standing around and then thrusting them into the public eye? Why is there no discernable effort to at least have younger figures at the sides of these elder leaders in order to be groomed and mentored to make future success more likely? Would it not be wise to have people ready and able to take the reins when the time comes in order to ensure that the workings of the party continue as seamlessly as possible?
The success of the Democrat or Republican Parties is not based on individuals, but ideals and values and a grassroots army to support election victories. The minute our politics becomes focused on personalities -- whether that's Lane Evans or Denny Jacobs or whomever -- we begin to fail. The party is bigger than individuals. When a forest is full of older trees, they crowd out the new growth. Shouldn't we be planting some younger trees to ensure that they'll be strong and well rooted by the time the old trees finally topple? (to use an inelegant analogy)
It's time for change in the RI Democratic Party. Our incuments have done a great job, it's time to say thank you, thank you, thank you for the service -- but it's time for new leadership, new faces, new blood.
What's disturbing is that these leaders aren't moving aside to make way for new and energetic hopefuls. They are holding on to their positions far beyond what might be considered prudent or in the best interests of the future strength of the party.
When politicians don't have the grace, selflessness, or foresight to step aside after long and illustrious service, and their staffers seek to prevent any thought of retirement out of self-interest, the larger interests of the party are harmed. This inertia and putting self-interest ahead of the party will likely come back to haunt the party in the future.
When too many party leaders seem interested in nothing other than running out the clock until they're forced to leave due to death or illness, in essense staying firmly in place for life, and compound the damage by devoting little or no effort whatsoever to seeking out, identifying, mentoring, and supporting new leaders, the party is headed for serious problems in the not too distant future.
The time will inevitably come when the party needs strong, experienced leaders to run for office and to lead the party. Not planning ahead for that eventuality is irresponsible. When that time comes will it be left to chance, struggle, and infighting? Will these figures in power for many decades simply walk off the stage in essense saying, "See ya, good luck.", leaving the party in shambles and setting the stage for opportunists and factions to battle it out? This would be disasterous.
It has gotten to the point where it is approaching or past time for party leaders to step aside, and beyond that, it is irresponsible of them to have no established efforts to attract and groom their succesors.