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At the Clayton Township Republican Caucus, I was elected as a delegate to the Missouri Republican Third Congressional Districtís Convention. I was recruited because there was concern that followers of Ron Paul, a well known Libertarian, would attempt to take over the Districtís representation to the Missouri Republican State Convention. Libertarians support withdrawing from the UN and the NATO and abolishing the income tax, the Federal Reserve, and the War on Drugs. Needless to say, none of these are part of the Republican Partyís Platform in the state and the nation.
Although a number of Libertarians had been elected as delegates to the Third Districtís Convention, regular Republican delegates well outnumbered the Libertarians. Thus, the Districtís Republican Convention proceeded on schedule. Regular party members were elected as chairperson and parliamentarian and to the credentials committee. In turn, the Libertarians submitted several proposals to the Missouri Republican Party Platform that reflected their state and national agenda. All were read to the delegates, debated and voted down.
This was my first experience as a delegate. I was impressed with the grass roots work at the Township and Congressional District meetings. This is democracy in action. On the other hand, I observed how easy it could be for well organized zealots to take over a national Partyís state delegation and platform. Democracy, as we have come to know it, is fragile and requires vigilance and participation by voters.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Lowe "Sandy" MacLean is vice chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and is active in local political and community organizations, including the Grand Order of Pachyderms (GOP), a service organization for the Republican Party.