Sunday, March 30, 2008

Travis County Democratic Convention

Below are some links to news stories about the Travis County Democratic Convention. I was there with thousands of my friends and neighbors to choose delegates to the State convention. I was an Obama delegate. [now here's something spell checker hits on "Barack" and "Obama". Wonder how long it will take for that to change?]

These news stories make it evident to me, if it needed to be pointed out, how much the media accentuates the negative.

My experience was totally benign, albeit long and tiring. I had to consider it as "patience practice".

Here's a rundown of my day:

7:30 a.m. Left home

8:00 a.m. Got in line of cars waiting to enter the Expo Center's parking lot. (several miles long at this point)

9:45 a.m. Parked on the side of the road before reaching paid parking area. Ran up hill to find several thousand people waiting to get in the building. Ran around frantically trying to figure out what to do.

10:10 Miraculously found where I was supposed to be. I did not stand in a line for very long. Signed in and got my credentials.

10:45 Finally inside and in our seats. Our precinct 's allotted space was too small, but we managed. There were 91 of us, 63 Obama supporters and 38 for Clinton. Our precinct, which someone wryly referred to as "The Fighting 242" was extremely well organized. We had excellent leadership and were aware beforehand of how the state delegate selection should play out. If every other precinct had been as well organized as ours, this would have been a piece of cake. But not all areas were fortunate enough to have such good people, so there were many delays in the larger process.

In defense of those organizing folks, most of us had never participated in this process before, so the whole thing was plagued with inexperience. One woman in the bathroom reminded me that after Hurricane Katrina, people had to live in similar facilities. You really couldn't compare the two situations as far as magnitude, but they were both unprecedented events that overwhelmed the people who were preparing to deal with them. Hopefully we learned from both experiences and will be in better shape next time.

We chatted and got acquainted with our neighbors. The concessions were good, but pricey. From time to time a Dem big fish would remind the crowd that they were taking part in an "HISTORIC OCCASION" and that there are "2 awesome Democratic candidates" and "no matter who gets the nomination, there's got to be a Democrat in the White House", "WE CAN'T TAKE 4 MORE YEARS OF REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP".........and so on.

From time to time there was an announcement by the credentials committee, or the resolutions committee. Nelda Wells Spears was sworn in, and she deputized much of the crowd as voter registrars. A few rounds of "The Wave" and various chanting episodes broke the monotony.

One of our delegates had to bring his little daughter, about a year old. The day wore on so long that they were down to their last diaper. He spoke with someone on the stage and then we heard the announcement, "Anyone having #3 Huggies disposable diapers, please come forward".

They got their Huggies, and were ready to stick it out. The baby's name was Grace, and I must say it fit her. She sat with her daddy all day and never fussed or cried.

I lost track of time, but I think around 5:00 we were allowed to caucus. Since we were so well organized, ours went off like clockwork.

I wanted to stay and hear some of the resolutions, but after sitting around about an hour and seeing no apparent activity in that direction, I came home around 7:00. Most of the cars that had lined Decker Lane when I arrived were already gone.


Blogger Glen said...

Great article Mystonia. I was there as well and was very impressed by the hard work of the volunteers and how well the enormous convention actually came off. Given all the negative media attention about "challenges" and "chaos", this convention was well run. It was a Herculean effort, much kudos to the volunteer and party staff. And I really appreciated the messages from supporters of both presidential candidates, that the Democrat party once the pres nomination is decided, will be absolutely unified behind the party nominee. And that brought cheers from all sides of the convention.

12:36 PM  

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