Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Day In Schulenberg With Died In The Wool Democrats

Texas State Democratic Executive Committee members Vickie Vogel and Don Bankston held an affair to remember today. Sixty-two Democratic activists, including county chairs and precinct chairs, converged from all over Senate District 18 on Schulenberg, Texas today to attend a campaign workshop at the teeny tiny Schulenberg campus of Blinn College. Fourteen of the nineteen counties within the boundaries of SD 18 were represented. The Fort Bend Democrats were there in force even though there was another Democratic function on the same day in Sugar Land. Fort Bend Dems attended that one as well.

I am here to say that I learned a lot. And no, I’m not going to tell you the specifics of what I learned – although it was some pretty good stuff – because, well, frankly, the walls have ears and those from The Dark Side can also read this. As a matter of fact, Mark told me today that a great many of my readers ARE from The Dark Side. He also told me that I need to start reading blogs written by Dark Side bloggers, but to tell you the honest truth, I can’t bring myself to do it. I read blogs for entertainment and enlightenment and I can find neither at those sites.

All in all, there were four workshop sessions, two concurrent sessions in the morning and two in the afternoon, and a final session where we all shared notes. Lunch? Beef cooked until it fell apart slathered in red sauce, on a bun with onions, pickles and chips.

Glen Maxey, who does NOT reside within SD 18, but came anyway, revealed at his workshop some key strategies that involves voter registration. Glen is running for Travis County Tax Collector-Assessor. Why? Because for one thing, that office also handles Travis County voter registration.

John Griffin discussed fundraising matters and had some great suggestions on donor interactions. We Democrats, you see, need to fall in love. Republican fundraising strategies are much simpler: bring a big bucket to catch all the money the fat cats throw at them.

Sondra Haltom, a field director on staff at the Texas Democratic Party – a last minute backup speaker who, they say did really well - discussed candidate recruitment.

And finally my friend Mark who used to write a lefty blog called The View From 22 was incredibly informative about the online strategies at the county level, the candidate level, and the blogger level. Now you have to understand that Mark, who is still on the sunny side of 30, was talking to a room full of gray hair and liver spots. He even mentioned that fact himself, although not so tactlessly. So some of what he had to say was brand new stuff to his audience. He had a lot of war stories from previous campaigns and entertained his audience with them so much that I am sure that we are going to see a few new bloggers from “The Great Generation” appear on the internets. He had lots of information on search engines. For instance, try these key words in Google: why one fifth of us Americans. Whose blog do you see right under You Tube? Today, it’s this one. I got over 3000 hits on that one posting.

It ended too soon but we had a long drive home. In the car we were lost in our thoughts, although at one point Ann pointed out to us something that is so very true. She was so excited by the fact that we had attended a Democratic activist meeting in the heart of still Red Texas, here in the South, with a room full of people that made the two of us look positively youthful, but when Glen Maxey stood up and told the room about how his mother was 76 when she found out that he was gay, it did not faze a single person in the room. I should point out that this was probably not new news to this group. But it underscored the fact that today, we were with our people, liberal Democrats who are all about acceptance and tolerance, people who embrace diversity rather than spurn it. People with whom you can relax and enjoy conversation without worrying about petty prejudices.

Being a Democrat is about all of the above, and about being a better person for it.

And then there’s the barbecue . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, the atmosphere was full of positive charges and happiness---not at all like the gloomy, negative, hypocritical GOP meetings I have slipped into. There, the most exciting thing to discover is which member of the Belles of Heaven Republican Wives' club is winning the who-can-attract-the-towel-boy-at- the-county-club-first contest. Heaven would catch fire before any of them would come and introduce themselves to you if it was obvious you didn't look like them. (Skinny, working on your third husband, wearing $3K worth of clothes and shoes, etc.) Yep, give me the true richness of diversity and true friendliness any day. People I can depend upon to help others, not step on them to get what they want. People who can think for themselves, not have others tell them for who to vote, never mentioning why. But on the other hand, some of them must be seeing the light because more of them are supporting Lt. Col. /St. Rep. Rick Noriega.