On July 21st, we had the opportunity to join local Southern Tier residents at the monthly Americans for Restoring the Constitution (AFRTC) meeting in the Vestal Public Library. The goal was to learn what benefits grassroots politics might have for any community, especially the Southern Tier of New York.
Like many Tea Party or pro-2nd Amendment organizations, the AFRTC is made up of regular people. Homeowners, small business owners, fathers and mothers and grandparents. People that you might see every day at work or walking down the street.
It's important to note that far too many in the media, and a host of politicians, like to present an image of any group of Americans gathering and discussing their concerns (outside of the 2 party system) as radicals bent on destroying America. Yet in our experiences and observations, in interviews and reports since 2010, the reality is that these are just Americans expressing their 1st Amendment rights.
At this particular meeting, some 30+ individuals gathered to learn more about Agenda 21, its ramifications long-term, and sources where individuals can find out more information on their own.
According to Wikipedia, Agenda 21 is a "non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development." Key points of Agenda 21 involve fighting poverty, especially in 3rd world countries by changing consumption patterns, promoting health, and creating a sustainable population. This process includes climate change, education, finance (especially on a global level), and political/social shifts in thought and planning.
As cited by the Huffington Post,
"A June  poll of 1,300 U.S. voters ... found that when asked whether they supported or opposed U.N. Agenda 21, 85 percent of respondents said they did not know enough to form an opinion. Nine percent supported Agenda 21, 6 percent opposed it."
Thus, the question of how Agenda 21 operates, and it's long-term affects is quite justified. How consumption patterns are changed, the impact on private property, the influence on political actions and legislation should be discussed, openly, as these things affect 100% of Americans even if 85% know nothing about it.
One of the more interesting items address in the discussion was the critical fact that the public should always be wary of sources quoting ambiguous polls. A highly relevant insight, once you look at the American Planning Association (APA) website. Under the APA poll link, the graphic makes huge claims about what Americans want and think.
That graphic of poll results, the very same poll cited by Huffington Post, fails to mention that 85% of those that took the poll have no idea what Agenda 21 is. It fails to mention the questions specifically asked, or the number of people (out of the 1300 who took the poll that the graphic implies represents 300 million Americans) that responded to any particular question.
If for no other reason, the AFRTC meeting was worthwhile for spreading information on a tactic that is used in politics (by both parties) constantly. This is true no matter what position you may take on the issue of Agenda 21. The fact that the AFRTC meeting is providing information on an issue almost completely absent in mainstream media reporting only adds to their benefit to the community.
After the discussion on Agenda 21, which included hand-outs of links for sources of information on the issue, the assembly had an opportunity to hear from Denver Jones. Mr. Jones is running for the NY State Senate District 52 this election year.
[We will be doing a full interview with Denver Jones in the coming days, and we have sent a request for interview to the incumbent - State Senator Tom Libous.]
Here is a video of Mr. Jones at the meeting. (See the video aside this article.)
Overall, the importance of grassroots politics, like the AFRTC and other organizations, is that of community involvement. For decades, if not longer, multitudes of Americans have bemoaned the lack of connection between the people and elected politicians. During those decades fewer and fewer people have paid attention to what is happening in politics (even failing to vote) as apathy set in. Grassroots politics combats that apathy and reconnects people to the issues that directly affect them.
While we have identified the AFRTC in this article, it is by no means the only grassroots organization that exists - on either side of the political ideology. We do suggest that those who may have an interest in learning more about their local, State, and national politics should seek out whatever grassroots and/or major political organization they believe matches their needs.
With a congressional disapproval that hasn't dipped below 70% since June 2011, and a consensus (51% or greater) that America has been on the wrong track since June of 2009 getting involved certainly can't hurt - even if Rep. Nancy Pelosi and others don't like it.