Saturday, September 06, 2008

Building the Independent Movement, One Independent Voter at a Time

by Courtney Terry, Independent Voters of Arkansas

I headed to a local Starbucks for my first "meeting" on August 31st, 2008, with every intention of putting up my new little sign and then studying until some brave soul had the courage to ask me "What's the Independent Voters of Arkansas?". One ad for the meeting ran in The Arkansas Times, and I posted electronically a couple of places, but had no response. However, after ordering my venti, non-fat, no-whip, 2-pump mocha, I mentioned my plan to the barista, and she said that someone else was there for the meeting, too.

Gene, who associates himself with the Green Party for now and supports Cynthia McKinney for president, also says he identifies with independents and the issues that we stand for. He is running for a state legislative position as a write-in candidate, and has done so (unsuccessfully) three times in the past. Like me, he is interested in helping to bring outsiders into the political process here in Arkansas. While we sat discussing things, my sign drew another man's attention.

A native of Little Rock who now lives in Nebraska stopped by for a long chat. He had interesting things to say about Obama (it was just after the DNC), about being an independent African-American voter, and about the federal financial situation. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing all he had to say. I gave him my card and I took notes for future reference!

So, I am happy with how the day turned out. It was unexpected, but satisfying. It's a work in progress, but it IS in progress and that's the important thing. Independent Voters of Arkansas are planning their second meeting on September 18th and can be reached at independentAR@gmail.com.

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