Before we get started with our next installment of this series, I wanted to drop in a few key books that will help men keep sharp during their venture into the political arena. The two books that I have on my radar involved Black conservatives, how politics impacted their lives, and how their families remained strong during their political careers and public visibility.
One book is J. C. Watts’ “What Color is a Conservative.” The second is Sheriff David Clarke’s “Cop Under Fire.” Both are great political books for the brother of color who is considering a run for elective office, and will ‘fill you in’ on some harsh realities about politics…both on the opposing side AND your own.
Of course I recommend reading books on the office you are seeking. You MUST be prepared in your public office pursuit. However, it helps to read books by those who have ‘been there’, and that their faith in God that has seen them through the political storms of their office.
Furthermore, IF you are a Christian, DAILY KJV Bible reading is essential! God will feed your spiritual man, and give your natural man the wisdom and the eyes to sidestep the traps that your enemies have in store for you on the campaign trail.
LIKE IT OR NOT–FAMILY IS FOREVER:
Political campaigns and offices come and go, but family is forever. Family is also the ‘Achilles’ Heel’ of many an up-and-coming candidate. Thus it is crucial that the brother who is seriously considering enter politics MUST make sure that he has a strong marriage, and a strong home life. It also helps IF your wife has had experience in the political ranks, and has a clear standing of the politics of YOUR party. Lastly, you must have a wife that believes YOUR party is OUR party, and share much of the same political beliefs that you have. All one has to do is look at several high-profile marriages involving politicians over the past few years. The spouse that is in the public eye is of one party, and the other spouse is of the opposing party. The mainstream mess likes to cover the fireworks between the couple…and it makes for scandalous copy.
If I may, godly, married men, with strong marriages and strong homes, are held to be in order when it comes to seeking the office of Pastor. This subject is covered in great detail in the books of I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus in the KJV Bible. For a church to consider selecting a man who does not meet God’s standards for leadership of His church is a recipe for disaster.
This is probably why many churches are NOT growing in our present age. It is much the same thing in politics.
Show me a candidate who has a strong faith in God, a strong home life, a loving wife, and obedient children and I’ll show you one who is bound for political success…regardless of what the social media pundits may click on their keyboards.
Brothers, keyboards do NOT vote. Further, it has been proven that ONLY 10 percent of the ‘keyboard clickers’ generate some 80 percent of the content for social media. Like I said, keyboards do NOT vote…and neither does social media.
But, they MAY cause some problems for a godly candidate.
The impact of social media is not as big as one may think. Further, with more and more of the social media platforms declaring their allegiances to the Democrat party, and other liberal points of view, those who are on the godly side of the street may expect to have their content censored…if not downright blocked by those who are on the inside of the electronic landscape. Further, expect your on-line footprint to be thoroughly examined back to when computers were invented, JUST to track down any ‘dirt’ or ‘questionable’ internet posting activities.
The GOOD news? People STILL want to vote for candidates that have good family qualities–even IF you have stumbled. Party workers want to work for and contribute their efforts toward electing Men of color with these attributes. Sure, you are NOT perfect…but you MUST be heading in the right direction.
If one can manage their OWN home, he can be trusted–for the most part–with the keys to an elective office.
I not only had the support of my wife in my political efforts, but…should I decided ever to get into the ‘ring’ again, I know who is going to be watching the campaign contributions–and finances! She has my back, and God has both of us.
One more thing brothers–WEAR your wedding band at ALL times! People want to ‘see’ what you believe. People WANT to be reminded that you ARE married!
Here’s another one for you. Younger voters are amazed with those who have been married fifteen years or more! I know, I know…this is small potatoes for those who have been married over twenty years or more. However, the millennial voter wants to meet those running for office who have set a distance, happiness and time benchmark in their marriages. It DOES make a difference!
Let me also share, in closing, the sage words of Pastor Tony Evans: “If you treat your wife like a thoroughbred, she won’t become a nag!”
THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS ‘MARRIAGE’ THING:
There was a Country Western song a few years back by the title of: “All My Exes Live In Texas”. Well, for those of us who have suffered through divorce, child custody, child visitation and child support, some of our exes live in the same town.
Make peace IF possible.
A candidate will certainly get a lot of questions on his home life from the press and media. He will get even MORE questions on his home life IF he has a divorce or two in his past, and has NOT made the efforts to make peace OR keep your child support under control. Plus, you can be sure that some reporter that (hopefully) has done his or her job will make an effort to talk with your former spouse–just in case–there is some dirt that is hidden under the hallway carpet that is ready for public consumption.
Let me put this down in front, brothers. Do NOT disrespect the mother of your children. It WILL have long term consequences BEYOND your current campaign. Do NOT do it, no matter how many ‘shots’ she may throw at you in private–or public. Further, IF you happen to be estranged from your children–even if they are grown and have been in the custody of the custodial spouse for a number of years, this might be another sticky area of contention.
Brothers, we are not perfect. Each of us has flaws, shortcomings and failures. Even a Christian man has a closet with a few sets of skeletal bones. However, the advantage the Christian man seeking political office has is that IN Jesus Christ, he has help in rendering those bones ‘deceased’. This does NOT mean that some ‘exes’ will go quietly into that good night without taking a pot shot (or two) at you…especially IF you have a successful new marriage. Christ will stand by you in this matter when others are pointing fingers at you.
This doesn’t mean, though, that you won’t get ‘dinged’.
There are some exes out there that are just plain mean. Furthermore, some of them go to church every Sunday and keep sipping on the Bitteraide, while ‘pretending’ to be a Christian woman. Some may say that you can’t judge people. Oh? Read the Scriptures. IF There is no fruit of the Spirit (Galatians, chapter 5 KJV) in some exes, no matter what they say, they ARE not Christians. This is the biblical standard!
Some exes will stay mad you continually. Others have poisoned your children against you. No matter what you do to better yourself and be civil ‘for the sake of your children’ that she has custody of, she ain’t buying it! You could be elected President of the United States, and she would be on Capitol Hill pushing for your impeachment! All the while saying–in public–“Who…ME?”
In fact, President Trump made peace with his ex!
Here’s a tip. Hopefully you’ve tried to make peace. However, if this doesn’t work, then you are going to have to make a choice…prayerfully ask for the Lord’s help in making peace, sacrifice your political office dream and aim yourself in helping others with better backgrounds to ‘make it’ to elective office, or, look the press in the eye and run anyway, warts and all!
Every candidate and campaign needs a good ‘top kick’ to get things done along the political trail. You may be that person. However, a bad marriage, vengeful ex, and non-appreciative children won’t stop a bid for public office…but it could slow you down, even IF you have a solid marriage and family life in the present. Go WITH your faith in God! I’m not hating, I’m just stating; just pointing out the realities of the landscape, brothers. I’m not writing about what I don’t know, or haven’t experienced. Experience is a great teacher, but, sometimes is also a cruel master IF you don’t learn from the lessons brought before you.
WINNING THAT FIRST RACE…NOW WHAT?
Back in the day, when the polls closed, and the results came back, I won my first race my first time out for the office of Precinct Committeeman in the GOP. Of course, I got the formal attention of downtown, the local press, and my wife and family. It wasn’t a big office…but it was an important office. It put me on the map within my party, and got me ready for the hard work that lay ahead.
But first, let me explain what the office I won signified in the political process.
Every city and municipality has a political party in charge (major party) and the other political party is in a lesser position (minor party). In Indianapolis, Indiana for a lot of years, the Republicans held sway. Only in the last five years or so, Democrats have captured City Hall and the top county positions. This wasn’t such a shock, considering the fact that Marion County (Indianapolis) has been majority Democrat for a lot of years.
You see, among the things that those interested in politics need to understand is the lay of the local political landscape and why things are the way they are. Yes, Indianapolis has had more registered Democrats than Republicans–this has been true for a number of years. BUT the Democrats in the county–for the most part–voted for Republicans because Republicans knew how to campaign AND knew how to govern. When the Republicans did NOT govern properly, nor put forth decent candidates…guess what happened? Right! The political script was flipped.
Let me drop this in here as well. People will NOT vote for a ‘carbon copy’ of one candidate over another. There is no such thing as ‘Democrat lite’, or ‘Republican easy’. IF you aren’t willing to line up with your party’s platform, DO NOT run for elective office. This doesn’t mean you can’t come up with stronger ideas on some of the issues than exist in the platform. However, you DO have an obligation to ‘dance with the one who brung ya!’ Stay loyal. Voters respect this…and so does your party. If you can NOT be loyal, then switch to another party WELL before you run!
To me, there is just something ‘cheap’ and ‘cowardly’ about a man who runs and wins under one party, but who secretly supports another party, and THEN decides–while in office–to switch parties.
The Bible calls this person a ‘Traitor’.
The party bosses won’t respect that man…and neither will the voters.
While the Republicans are currently the minority party in my home county, the Democrats in positions of power KNOW that they have to govern LIKE Republicans (not getting rabidly crazy like the national Democrats) otherwise, they will be put OUT in the next election by what I would like to call ‘the little old lady’ army. If the little old ladies that work the polls are NOT happy, there will be a high body count for the party in power come primary and/or general election time.
Precinct Committeemen are responsible for their assigned precinct. They are the first lieutenants in the field. They are responsible for being the conduit from the poll workers to downtown when elections take place. They are also responsible for making sure households and individuals are registered to vote, and have their voting rights protected. They are also the best representative face of the local political organization.
Precinct Committeemen are the Ambassadors for their political party. These are ALSO the people whom you must impress and ‘court’ if you plan to get into the political arena. It helps–I say again, it HELPS–to have served in this position.
More to come, next month!
August 29, 2019
RAMEY’S GUIDE TO ELECTIVE OFFICE FOR MEN BY MIKE RAMEY (5)
A true story to lead off in our batting cage warm-up session. A young man, out for his first political office, won the primary and defeated his challenger from within his party by a two-to-one margin. He was looking forward to taking a few weeks off and resting up for the campaign trail to the general election in November. Life–and his party–had other plans. The incumbent of his party that held the seat he was campaigning for suddenly resigned, and vacated the seat.
Remember how I mentioned in an earlier writing of the importance of the Precinct Committeemen? PCs have an additional function…THEY are the ones who meet in caucus to select candidates to fill any elective office vacancies held by their party.
Our young man was selected by the party PCs to fill the vacancy. Now, instead of running as a ‘candidate’, he would be coming into the general election as an incumbent AND candidate. He will be able to know the office that he is running for, and have a ‘leg up’ on his competition.
In politics, you have to ready when the Lord opens that door for you to enter.
TIME IN THE STUDY:
If one is serious about any venture, there needs to be time spent in the study.
Winston Churchill, that masterful statesman and lecturer of yesteryear reportedly spent roughly eight hours researching and writing just to get one line perfect in his speeches. The legendary Vince Lombardi held a workshop for coaches once, where he spent eight hours explaining one play that was the mainstay for the Green Bay Packers.
By the way, Lombardi’s one play–the power sweep–revolutionized football forever.
Charles H. Spurgeon–the prince of preachers–had a library of 6,000 books, and re-read several of these books a year, including Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan, in addition to his regular devotions, Bible study and for sermon preparation.
The late C. A. W. Clark, a masterful preacher of the modern era once told me: “A call to ministry is a call to preparation”. The late E. V. Hill, another one of my preaching heroes, spent some time in politics AND was the Pastor of his church. He made sure that he and his members–when government money was involved–were good stewards of the Word and of their time. He was also a great man to talk with, as he broke things down for common consumption.
Time in the study is just as important as time in the weight room.
The quarterback who wants to be good at their position spends hours going over game footage. The doctor spends time in his medical journals. Even Scotty from the old “Star Trek” TV series spent time in his technical manuals to keep the starship Enterprise working at peak efficiency.
Politics is no different. It involves serious preparation. The successful office holder of today MUST learn how to read, study, research and digest information of not only yesterday…but yesteryear from successful office holders of the past. In addition, the man involved in politics MUST have or develop the ability to teach others, from his staff, to volunteers, to his voters.
In politics, there is a LOT of background clutter one must learn how to filter out to put forth a concise and uncluttered message. However, filtering out your voters…those whom you serve…is something that you have to fight. You must teach many of them!
You must dance with the ones who brung ya! You ALSO must make your voters PROUD to have brought you to the ‘political dance’.
Remember when we were in high school and went to a dance? You may have not been that much to look at, but IF you made your date feel like a Queen, many of them returned the favor and made you feel like a King, when they were on your arm.
TIME IN THE BOOKS (AND ON LINE):
Here are some of the resources that helped me during my days in politics and beyond. Feel free to expand upon this list with your own additions:
- The KJV Bible. Daily with The Book of Psalms and The Book of Proverbs.
2. The Drudge Report. Daily on line media resource.
3. The Constitution of your state and the United States of America.
4. The Election Laws of your county and state. These WILL serve you well.
5. “Roberts Rules of Order” plus rule books of your local/state elective bodies.
6. “Black Lies, White Lies” by Tony Brown
7. “In The Trenches” and “Fighting the Good Fight” by Reggie White
8. “Failing Forward” by John Maxwell
9. “Doing Business by the Good Book” by David L. Steward
10. “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty” by Harvey Mackay
11. “See You At The Top” by Zig Ziglar
12. “Uncommon” by Tony Dungy
13. A good book on political quotes (for speeches)
14. Any local books on the political makeup/history of your city.
15. Lastly, any books on the Christian application to political issues.
Contrary to popular belief, reading REAL books is still essential. In addition to using tech, flipping pages is a passion that those in politics have nurtured and developed.
Especially those quality books connected with political history.
This next point is crucial for your campaign. Build your team of prayer warriors well in advance and keep in touch with them monthly, weekly, if not daily, when prayer needs arise. Have an inner circle of prayer warrior advisors to bounce things off of, and special spiritual needs. Also, have a stable church you are attending and have sunk your membership in AND seek your Pastor early and often for prayer and consultation.
In addition, you will also have to spend time in meetings and training sessions, both with your political team and with your political leadership. The OLDER you are and the LONGER you have spent in the political game, you will have to teach others where you stand, and have them carry the torch and the battle to the front lines for you.
Time management is essential, as well as sharpening your people skills.
Also remember…the local bookstore is your friend; with a wealth of information from days past. A good film (video) can do wonders in addition to books. “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” starting Jimmy Stewart is a good political thriller. It may be dated by today’s standards, but old truth is still truth. It gives one a true picture of political power and political machines, in a black and white format.
If you can, pick up some audio tapes on past political speeches and learn from them. Brevity IS the sole of wit…and politics. Learning the particulars of public speaking will aid you, and help you in your bid for elective office.
THE WORK LOAD INCREASES:
When we last left our hero (yours truly) he had won his first political contest and was elected GOP Precinct Committeeman. No joke. However, with the job came more work and more responsibility.
Every municipality political organization has first lieutenants to serve as part of the field management team of the local party. Now, in the military, second lieutenants are often called ‘90 day wonders’. First lieutenants have more experience, but still are learning the ropes of command, including the top sergeants in their political party. Successful Precinct Committeemen know they can command more in the way of respect as they have more in the way of proven experience. However, as I learned, the wise PC MUST have enough sense to know that they must rely on the established precinct machinery to allow their polls to run smoothly.
I learned NOT to run into a new situation desiring to make changes. I learned to observe and let those who were in positions of authority and responsibility under my watch to do their jobs. They were on the job before I got there, and would still be on the job after I left.
Your party bosses have the power to appoint you to a good precinct (as they have faith in you, as the polls practically run themselves) or, to ‘Ice Station Zebra’ (a bad precinct with high poll worker turn over and a lot of personnel problems, often punctuated with clashes with the other political party).
Your ability to get along with people will determine where you land.
THE NEXT STEP UP: WARD CHAIRMAN
After proving myself as a GOP Precinct Committeeman, the next step up quickly arrived. Praise God I was ready for it. Downtown–again based upon the recommendation of my Township Chairman and others (after they saw my work in the field), presented me with the opportunity to serve as a GOP Ward Chairman…one who would be appointed by the party to be placed in charge of a GROUP of Precinct Committeemen–and their poll workers–in a particular portion of my county.
It was a promotion from First Lieutenant, to Captain, in military terms.
I drew a GOP ward that had half of its Precinct Committeemen and poll workers in a majority Democrat area. I knew that I had a major league challenge on my hands. I also knew that downtown was watching to see whether or not I would rise to the challenge that they presented.
Make no mistake about it: The game of politics is all about challenge and solving problems. Challenges to maintain your devotional time with God and the KJV Bible. Challenges to make time for wife and family. Challenges to make time to find poll workers. Challenges to keep up with the reading and current events. Challenges to work your day job. Challenges to manage your time in order to choose which potential candidates to talk with, which candidates to avoid, and what fires to put out. Challenges to work with the opposition party, while keeping a smile on your face, and NOT compromising your beliefs and party platform.
While growing up, I used to get a kick out of the old ‘Ed Sullivan Show’. One of the acts that I enjoyed was the guy who managed to keep all the plates spinning on those thin, spindly sticks. At any moment, one plate could fall, and throw off the entire act.
The miracle? Keep all the plates spinning…and not letting one fall to the ground.
If you want to get into the political arena, brothers…this is what you will have to not only learn, but master. How to keep all the plates of your life in the air, without allowing them to come crashing to the ground.
One other suggestion. IF there are certain skills that you lack, don’t worry. Just figure out your weaknesses, and LEAN on God to bring you those people and situations to can help you to fix your lack.
More to come!
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Modern Street Gangs Specialist, Nationally-Known Political Consultant and Syndicated Columnist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. “Ramey‘s Guide To Elective Office For Men” is one of a variety of columns that Ramey has in cyberspace. His address is still the same: email@example.com. ©2019 Barnstorm Communications (5).
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Modern Street Gangs Specialist, Political Consultant and Syndicated Columnist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. “Ramey‘s Guide To Elective Office For Men” is one of a variety of columns that Ramey has in cyberspace. His address is still the same: firstname.lastname@example.org. ©2019 Barnstorm Communications.