Periodically someone asks how much money we have raised. I guess that is the measure of success in politics today. If you don't rake in big dollars, you are nothing. Sometimes they ask more pointed questions like, "What are you doing?" "When is there going to be a big rally?" "When are you going to do something?" or "When are you gonna get going?" This means that I have failed as a communicator.
During such moments I feel that they either did not hear me, or thought I wasn't serious about being focused more on 2042 than on 2022. If 2022 was our goal, and we behaved like every other group or PAC around there would be no point in our existing. The point of THE 134 PAC is to break the mold, to be something different. I am much more interested in being than doing. All of us have enough to do. Often doing is just busy work and wasted money and effort. Being is about who you are. I am more about the relationship with people than the money or the projects we engage in. Sometimes I forget that, and fall short, but I always comes back around, eventually.
I am an unusual guy. I get it. I am not conventional. I like being different. Most people don't. I also know I am not a very good politician. I have too much of a tendency to say what is on my mind. I can be a real jerk. I know it. Not everyone will understand me, or agree with the way I approach politics out here in our deep red part of the state. That is okay. I am not against doing. I do a lot of things. I just think in Democratic politics we have our priorities wrong. If we focus first on being, what we need to do to change things will fall into place over time, quite often on its own.
At the outset of this project, I got excited about the possibilities of what we could do, which seemed endless. I was ready to do a lot. But, as in most of life time, challenges, difficulties and reality always bring me back to ground. I am grateful for that. On the ground, with the people in The 134 is the place I need to be, not in the clouds. Big dreams, big schemes, and running with the big dogs are well and good for other folks. It just isn't me.
My desire is to meet tons of people and build relationships all over West and Southwest Texas including Democrats, Independents, and yes even some Libertarians and Republicans. Through those relations I hope all of us working together can rebuild a Democratic political culture in this huge region that has been largely ignored, abandoned and forgotten. Through that I hope we will start winning races in the distant future and will make the lives of the people that live here better. I know this is heresy in politics, but you do not need to raise and spend a whole bunch of money to accomplish that. In fact large sums of money are often a hindrance and a curse. It will only happen by our being here, living, working and yes dying with our people day after day, year after year, decade after decade.
A lot of people out here are afraid to be known as Democrats. They actually fear that to be seen and known as Democrats will negatively impact their social standing, livelihood and in some cases their lives or their property. Before we can accomplish anything that has to change. People have to stop being afraid. Being a Democrat or even voting Democratic must become acceptable and normal, and not something to be nervous about or afraid. The only way that changes is when people know they are not alone. They will only know they are not alone by our being here, and our dependable, consistent presence over time.
That is why I am going methodical and slow. I am sorry if that doesn't suit your idea of what we should be doing. If you want to go fast, don't wait for me. Go. Do your thing. The race I am running is not a marathon. It is an ultra-marathon. When you are invested in a place over decades, you don't get too upset and worried about what happened yesterday or today because you know there will be plenty tomorrows.
What I am talking about is hard work, takes decades and it requires patience and fortitude. Not everyone wants to wait that long. The temptation to insist on immediate results is strong in our culture. If you like things to happen fast, to have concrete results you can measure and brag about, if you like things black and white, if you like big projects and big PACS, spending tons of money and the limelight, then THE 134 PAC is not for you. Give your contributions and time to someone else.
But if you want to be something different, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to get to know you.
Jon Mark Hogg is a lawyer in San Angelo, Texas and the Founder of THE 134 PAC