I’ve been hearing for some time about the difficulties being experienced by the folks in Virginia Beach area with setting up their own “Help Save” chapter. As with any organization, there’s the potential for personality clashes and disagreements about vision, methods and organization, and these unfortunate folks seem to have all of those. Last night there was a membership meeting of Help Save Virginia Beach, and it went about as badly as anyone can imagine, in full view of the press. After seeing how successful issue advocacy on this can be, it’s painful to see things go wrong.
You’d figure that when Ray Tranchant, who lost his daughter to a drunken illegal alien by the name of Alfredo Ramos who had multiple previous interactions with the Virginia Beach Police Department, comes to speak and expresses his frustration that no one there is really doing anything about the problem, it would be a perfect opportunity to talk about the Section 287(g) Program, following Prince William County’s lead, or anti-harboring laws. Instead, Help Save Virginia Beach’s nominal leader Jean Foster decides to talk about federal initiatives to establish English as our official national language. Not surprisingly, Ray Tranchant walked out.
I might have also.
It’s hard when this movement is a collection of local volunteers who band together and rely on (or don’t rely on) assistance from other volunteers who lead other organizations in Virginia. Help Save Virginia isn’t funded by Anheuser-Busch (which funds MALDEF), or the Ford Foundation (which funds National Council of La Raza), or George Soros. There aren’t professionals on staff to help guide these new organizations, lend them on-site support, or train local leadership on how to be successful at issue advocacy. Sometimes these organizations take off, and sometimes they flounder. That Help Save Herndon, Help Save Loudoun, and Help Save Manassas have succeeded might be considered somewhat of a fluke, where they found an organizational model that fit the local political landscape, got the right people to participate in the leadership, and had some idea how to run an organization. There’s a lot of things that have to go right in order to make a grass-roots issue advocacy organization work, and it’s easy to go wrong.
At least there’s a small collection of people who are dedicated enough to this issue in Virginia Beach to suffer through the growing pains. Throughout Hampton Roads there are likely many, many more. Somehow this will all get sorted out, and even if Virginia Beach discovers a bunch of ways how not to do this, eventually they will find one of the right ways.
For Virginia Beach, and other areas where citizens want to do something other than complain to their neighbors about the problem of illegal aliens, Help Save Manassas and the other members of the Help Save Virginia network are ready to help as much as they can. All it takes is a small group of people who want to get things started, and some support from those who have been there and done that. Fortunately, the number of those people with experience is growing.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
You can follow the discussion through the Comments feed.