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British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said of the Royal Air Force, “Never in history did so many owe so much to so few.”

To play on Churchill’s words, “Never has Democratic Party leadership in West Virginia done so little with so much.”

What political parties are doing now will affect the next election. Elections cannot be won on Election Day without proper preparation and preliminary groundwork. It appears that the leader of the Democratic Party in West Virginia, Belinda Biafore, is asleep and resisting the progress that must be implemented for West Virginia Democrats to win at the polls.

The Democrat leadership is like those who join a gym and step on a treadmill but never turn it on. They return day after day, do the same thing and anguish over why no progress has been made. They know what needs to be done but just don’t have the heart, will or guidance to do it.

As a result of the 2020 election thumping, the Democratic Party in West Virginia now stands chastened, humiliated, bewildered and wondering what to do next. We shrug, resigning ourselves to a barely tolerable political atrophy. Only a few of us are actively involved in trying to implement meaningful change.

As Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” It seems leadership lacks the political vision, will and know-how to win elections and implement change. Many have become complacent, placid and increasingly tolerant of the current sad, potentially disastrous state of affairs in our state and nation. Mainstream Democrats no long want our agenda set by the Democratic establishment in Washington, D.C.

We must ask why we have such a high degree of apathy in the Democratic Party; why is it that we don’t go to rallies for causes we believe in? Why do we rely on others to do what we know should be done, especially, when we know our leaders in both parties will not do the right thing? If there is no fire in the belly to improve our society, how can we expect any meaningful change?

For the past several elections, it seems that the Democratic Party has become stagnant and out-of-touch with the average voter. Leadership must be held accountable. Those at the top are out of step with the majority of Democratic thought in West Virginia and a demoralized, marginalized and alienated grassroots that no longer sees any purpose in getting involved. Some are even falling for the lies that Trump and the far right continue to feed us even after the election. Voters want real change and cannot rely on party leadership.

The histories of both parties have shown many times that the answer does not lie in an independent third party. Effective change must come from within. Our goal is not just to win an election, but to defeat those who have been destabilizing our beloved state of West Virginia.

If Stacey Abrahams can lead and inspire the voters in Georgia to overturn decades of red state rule, our leadership could have done the same in West Virginia by starting a new dialogue within the party. Politics is a participatory event for all, not just for a few, if not, true democracy will end.

Can rank and file Democrats wake-up from their lethargy in time to impact the next election? Doing nothing is not an option. We must open our own eyes to what is happening, inform ourselves about the issues and do what we can to change the disastrous course our state and nation has been traveling, leading to the recent insurrection at our nation’s Capitol.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “The dogma of the quiet past is inadequate to the stormy present … As our cause is new, so we must think and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country.”

As any coach knows, there are consequences to having repeated losing seasons. We clearly need new ideas, new strategies, new vision, and greater energy. I urge Biafore to step down.

Wes Holden is a retired federal employee living in Sissonville.

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