Let me say this right up front. I hate politics. I always have and probably always will. So someone calls me last night talking about some of my recent articles on this blog and the conversations that it has started. She said to me this is a good thing because people are talking and talking is good for exchanging ideas and initiating changes. She was talking about my articles about clubs falling, the lack of entries at the specialty shows and the waning interest in the breed. She asked me if I could continue this topic and expand it to include the Parent Club (German Shepherd Dog Club of America). She asked me if I could talk about the politics of the club. I told her I hate politics. It probably is one of my least favorite subjects. I don’t like talking about it and I certainly don’t feel qualified to write about it. She answered me by saying more and more people are leaving the club. Perhaps if we can get people talking, maybe we can understand why this is.
The German Shepherd Dog Club of America is one of the largest specialty breed clubs in America. It’s a proud club of hard working dedicated German Shepherd enthusiasts. The regional clubs are the lifeline of the Parent Club. They are the branches of the “Great Lady” and they sustain her by providing major pointed shows where the German Shepherd can win the points necessary for his championship. The regional clubs are responsible for putting on the Futurity/Maturity shows. Without these major point winning shows and futurities, there would be very little need for the National Specialty Show which helps generate revenue for the Parent Club. Without dogs finishing their championships there would be no need for the Best of Breed competition at the National Specialty level. There would be no Grand Victor/Victrix and no Futurity/Maturity Victors and Victrixes. Would the general population of German Shepherd breeders go to a National that consisted solely of obedience and herding titled dogs?
Without the Specialty shows, the German Shepherd breeder would only be able to compete in the All-Breed shows. More and more people are doing this now already. Will those dogs that are known for their great movement look as good in a small cramped show ring?
Like anything else in life, you start a club and there will be “cliques” in that club. There will be those that form their own groups (almost like a club within a club). The Parent Club is not any different in that way. Because of its large membership it would only seem natural that different personalities will have different opinions about how things should be run. And it’s when those different personalities disagree that either it can prove beneficial because they can come up with a solution to the problem or it can divide a club. Then that’s when the two opposing forces look to gather people in their corner and it is no longer how we can make the club stronger, but rather how they can make themselves stronger. It no longer is about promoting the breed. It’s about promoting ones self and their agendas. And this is when the walls begin to chip away and start to crumble.
Why did you join the Parent Club anyway? Was it to get the German Shepherd Dog Review? Was it to learn everything that you can about this wonderful breed? Was it to be part of a club where the elite of the breed are members as well? Is it everything that you hoped it would be? Are you happy with YOUR club? Do you contact your board members when you disagree with something? Have they been helpful addressing your concerns?
When you vote in a new President and board members in this club, do you know who you’re voting for? When you vote for the judges for the National Specialty show, do you know who you’re voting for? Are you picking people because they are well known breeders or are you picking people because they are well known LOVERS OF THE BREED and have done something more than breed a few champions? Are these people that extend their hand to you with their pearly whites smiling back at you at election time showing you the same good will at other times? Are these people nice to you because they want to help you or are they nice to you because they want you to help them get where they want to go by giving them your vote?
The thing that has always “bugged” me about politics is that the people that we elect are working FOR US! If they’re not and they’re working for their own agendas, then WE have the power to “un-elect” them as well. All breed clubs are run by volunteers and there are some extremely hard working German Shepherd loving individuals. We owe our gratitude to these selfless people for they are truly dedicated to the betterment of the breed. The Parent Club was started for the betterment of the breed, not the betterment of those in cliques with there own agendas. It wasn’t about making anyone “important”. It was about making the German Shepherd important. It wasn’t formed to make any individuals stand out and for people to take notice of them. It was formed to make the German Shepherd Dog stand out and the general public take notice of them. It was built by our forefathers of the breed to stand strong and supportive of our breed. It wasn’t built to showcase individuals, but instead to showcase the German Shepherd Dog. When we lose our focus of the purpose of this club, this is when the walls begin to chip away until they collapse and the Great Lady ends up with her draws around her ankles. We don’t want this to happen.
The unfortunate thing is that some very good people are leaving the club. What’s the answer then? Get rid of the cliques that are there for their own benefits and political agendas. If they’re not there for the betterment of the German Shepherd Dog, let them go elsewhere and form their own club. Their followers will follow them. They won’t be missed. Remember that the membership voted these people into office. We remain strong when the membership takes back THEIR club and ACTS MORE LIKE THE BREED THAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE REPRESENTING……..loyal and fierce and “woo to those” who try to divide them! Truly like the song……”United we stand, divided we fall!” Grrrr……………
My rating: Specialty clubs: (4), cliques in clubs: (1)