From the Ventura County Star newspaper to Newsweek magazine, the mainstream media has spent a great deal of time and paid an even greater deal of attention in stories just this week to the importance of grassroots supporters in this year’s presidential campaign.
Whether it be new voters or experienced advocates, facebook or neighborhood canvassing, the story of 2008 is that political success lies more and more with new forms of grassroots support.
Unique coalitions of concerned citizens are not new to the battle against gambling expansion. Family groups, small-business owners, animal lovers, economists, mental health professionals, conservatives, liberals and even kids are proclaiming the message that gambling is harmful in efforts to defeat ballot measures in communities and states all over the nation.
As the citizens of Kentucky and Jefferson City, Missouri prepare to deal with efforts to expand gambling, it is interesting to note that residents of South Florida have found success in stemming the tide of increased gambling by finding common ground among groups that may not normally be on the same side of an issue.
According to Family News in Focus, “The [South Florida] movement got a boost when former Governor Jeb Bush (R), former Senator Bob Graham (D) and Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) vowed to oppose slots.
Chad Hills from Focus on the Family Action explains, “For Marco Rubio and former Governor Jeb Bush to step forward and say, ‘We oppose this thing and we’ll be involved in the fight against it,’ adds tremendous credibility and tremendous momentum to the core coalition.”
We can only hope that leaders from all points on the political spectrum will come together in Kentucky and Missouri as they have in Florida to fight expanded gambling.
It seems pretty obvious that if this issue can bring together so many people from so many different ideological, economic, social and religious backgrounds there must be something inherently concerning about gambling expansion. Now that is a grassroot movement worth noting.