I have this idea that politics need not be a groan-inspiring miasmal swamp of rancorous ill-will in which monied opportunists sputtering poll-tested platitudes like mimeograph machines wage permanent campaigns that produce almost nothing but victims. I have this idea that cynicism is a disease, maybe our national disease, that it behooves certain entrenched powers to spread, and that reversing its corrosive progress will take the energy and effort of people not yet entirely bled of faith in our institutions and in the essential goodness of human nature. To that end, we’re throwing a party here at the Brewery tonight.

A short while ago I found myself recruited by Patsy Keever to organize the 9th Precinct of the Buncombe County Democratic Party. The precinct is shaped a bit like an eye, the northern lid bordered by Swannanoa River Road and the southern, 1-40. It is Oakley, mostly, and Oakley is houses, and the best trees in Asheville, and a fairly-well-representative cross-section of our sleepy-no-more mountain town. I have this idea that we could maybe start something, here–that the 9th is uniquely positioned a bit off-frame enough, is just quiet enough and crowded enough and homey enough and old school enough to serve as a laboratory for a new (or maybe old) form of localism. We will begin by publishing a little newsletter and taking it to the streets, four times a year.

Andy has generously allowed us the use of the Brewery today for our initial community fundraiser and meet-and-greet. The thinking goes, y’all come in, buy a beer, get a plate of Jerry’s best smoked meat, shake hands with some candidates for office if you want, buy a raffle ticket if you want, contribute, if you want, directly to the cause of establishing a vigorous local democratic presence in Oakley, take it easy, sit outside, enjoy the low 70s in company, get a dollar-off growler on the way out if it suits you. A precinct officer will be on hand from 4 to 8, beers on tap from 1 on.

So the third paragraph’s a far throw from the first–you eat an elephant one bite at a time. I hope to see y’all here!

With faith,

Devin Walsh

Chair, 9th Precinct, BCDP