Tonight I attended my first Allen County Patriots meeting. I found about them through my affiliation with the West Central Ohio 9-12’ers via the Web site Meetup.com.
I don’t know how else to put it, but this is one of those groups you have heard about if you watch or listen to Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity. They are everyday people who are rightly concerned about the direction to which our country is being taken. And, they have chosen to come together. I felt right at home.
Since I am not writing this as an official representative of the Patriots organization, I will not use people’s names. As we are a crowd who want to see our rights restored that we have seen steadily eroded over the years, I believe it is my responsibility to respect the right of privacy for my fellow attendees.
The president of Allen County Patriots is a gentleman who shares some uncanny similarities with me. He is 39, lost his job in our floundering economy, is unashamedly Christian, loves his country unequivocally, and also dreams of not only having children someday but hopes to raise them in an America that resembles the land in which he grew up and once knew.
And overall, the crowd was a dynamic mix of folks in their 30s, 40s, 50, 60s, and even older. In attendance were local professionals, retirees, blue-collar workers, widows, and good old fashioned small town folks of all walks of life.
The group’s president mentioned this was their fifth meeting. At this juncture, some steps and goals were explored. In addition to the standard positions for an organization’s executive board (president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer) they also sought to fill four additional senior jobs: business liaison; education representative; media relations/PR coordinator; and a community/youth group coordinator. The first three positions were filled by volunteers while the last remains open.
The extra responsibilities within this branch of Patriots just may go far in assisting them with nine goals -- or “Courses of Action” for them to accomplish -- as agreed upon by the executive board. They are:
1. Develop an e-mail newsletter or Web site (possibly even both).
2. Organize a “Launch Party” for this winter to bring even more like-minded citizens together -- the president is hoping for Jan. 18, but some members thought mid-February might be a bit more optimum, but the date is not anything official.
3. State coordinating -- essentially, networking with other county and local groups.
4. Establish ongoing dialogue with area schools and PTAs.
5. Grow the Allen County Patriots to 500 members by June 2010.
6. Return to Washington D.C. for another national rally.
7. Begin ballot initiatives for November polls.
8. Host a debate among candidates for various offices.
9. Put a candidate on the ballot.
On several additional notes, one area upon which everyone in attendance agreed centered on item number 4 as members discussed the need for area schools to dedicate more time to teaching our children about both the United States Constitution and Ohio’s state constitution -- possibly even getting the schools to issue pocket-size Constitution booklets (much like the ones available at askheritage.org).
The increasing rate of leftward political indoctrination in our schools made up part of the motivation to lean in this direction. Another point raised was the steady, gradual de-emphasis of American History as well.
On the point of hosting debates, the president emphasized the point of making sure in addition to the presence of a Republican and Democratic candidate running for a particular office there also would be an independent or third party candidate too (being a registered Libertarian, I wholeheartedly endorse this).
Another idea the president suggested spontaneously was having a day dedicated to rallying at the Allen County Courthouse. When the weather begins to improve in the spring, his suggestion was positioning group members at each corner of the block where the courthouse stands to hold signs both identifying themselves as Allen County Patriots and what their causes are.
Early in the meeting, the president mentioned the Patriots were not going to actively engage in fundraising just yet as they have not yet received 501(c)3 status. The secretary later added they were not necessarily pursuing full non-profit status since that would entail full disclosure of donations and activity to the federal government. The desire to maintain a reasonable degree of privacy being the key.
The next meeting for the Allen County Patriots has been scheduled for Thursday, November 12, 6 p.m. at The Meeting Place in Lima’s downtown.