I attended the Shelby County Democratic Party's monthly meeting last night. It was well attended with a nearly packed meeting hall. It was one of the more civil meetings SCDP has held in some time. Though some I'm sure would say this was just the eye of the storm. You could cut the tension with a knife.
Chairman Keith Norman moved the meeting with his normal flare and disarming humor. There is little question that Norman possess strong leadership skills. What I feel he lacks, which is very common among natural leaders, is the ability to acknowledge weaknesses. This opens them up to criticism and alienate them from those that might be willing to help. Now that's not meant to be an attack, but nothing more than an observation.
The way to prevent this alienation requires building relationships and sometimes being the learner and not the teacher. Keith Norman is the pastor of the very successful First Baptist Church Broad. Often I've found it to be difficult for a pastor who is the shepherd of his/her congregation to transition into being a political figure who is the servant to his constituents. It takes a unique individual to not confuse these two roles, which is why for the most part I prefer my pastors to stay behind the pulpit, and my politicians to stay - well for politicians if they can just stay from behind bars I think they are doing fine.
I spoke with Keith earlier that day and he made it clear he had no interest in running for another term as the Party's Chair. He spoke of the many projects occurring at his church which he felt would be taking up much of his time. You could see he was at peace, and that was good. I like Keith. Some have told me in private that they find him to be arrogant. I disagree. It is common for outspoken black men to be labeled arrogant. A few decades ago they were called uppity. With his 6'5'' plus frame and baritone voice I can imagine this intimidates some but that fault lies with them and not Keith.
I asked the Chair if he would like to post his views on the Shelby County Democratic Party and his time as its leader on my blog. He agreed. I hope to bring Keith Norman's post to you, my readers, soon.