Wednesday, April 02, 2008

On Being Nice to Democrats

Democrats love to criticize. Texas Democrats often hone this skill to a fine edge because on top of being Democrats, they’re also ornery cusses. Now in researching for this piece, I searched through blog reports of individual experiences at the county conventions. My goal was to isolate all of the complaints.

Oh the complaints we all heard last weekend.

Mainly, I think, we heard about conventions that went overly long, lasting into the wee hours of the next day. My guess, based on no data whatsoever, is that these experiences were restricted to the metropolitan areas that were ill-prepared to handle the crowds, or thought they were prepared, but weren’t. I think that is going to happen from time to time.

But to my surprise, after hearing all of the complaining, for the most part, my research led me to very uplifting pieces written by actual people on the scene. I pick this report, found at “Who’s Playin’?” as a representative of what I was finding over and over again. This is a perfectly delightful recounting of the day. In particular, I liked this:

“Most of the party volunteers avoided buttons and t-shirts – including myself. It’s not to knock anyone who did wear these things, but over the past couple of weeks, I came to realize that folks were paying close attention to who supported who, and using that as a basis to assume there were ulterior motives in every scenario.”

That’s how I saw it as well. At my county convention, where I participated as a volunteer, I also found it to be the case that whoever you supported for president, the goal of the day was to have a fair convention. No parlor tricks. No games. Those things, let’s just say, fell entirely under the purview of the delegates, where things like that actually belong.

But, uniquely, now I come to find two vastly different reports of the very same convention.

In a review of the Fort Bend County convention in neighboring SD 17, one author writes a very gracious report on the volunteer staff and elected leadership. The writer presents a simple acknowledgement that these people were giving up their personal time to get this very necessary chore taken care of. The post has some really nice things to say about Democrats. Things like this:

“We owe much gratitude to Credentials Committee Chair Skip Belt, who shouldered the responsibility for his committee’s review and resolution of the few challenges brought forward in SD 17. We also appreciate Temporary Secretary Thomas Mudd and Permanent Secretary Keasia Daniels, whose diligence with the volume of paperwork on all the Delegates and Alternates coming from the precinct level and those advancing to the State have been critical to our process. And we thank Merdie Robertson for stepping up to manage the Nominating Committee that selected our At-Large Delegates. We are especially grateful to Len Goff’s 90 year-old mother who delivered a very inspirational prayer to get us started with the day.”

Then there is this report, a rather unique recounting of the very same county convention. Unique in that I could not find anything positive in the reporting. No, that’s not right. I did find in it this very positive comment on the convention:

“Sign-in was well-organized”.
But as for the rest of the piece, I have to ask myself if these two people actually attended the same convention.

Ah, you say, obviously we are talking about two reports from two people who support different presidential candidates. And in that you would be wrong.

Both reports come from individuals who support the same candidate.

Go figure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let me offer a third perspective on the SD 17 convention, especially with regard to the Credentials Committee, as I was a member of said committee. The committee convened Friday evening shortly after 6:00 p.m. There were 8 of 11 committee members present, 5 Clinton delegates and 3 Obama delegates. The convention chair was also in attendance for much of the three hours the committee met. As provided by the rules, upon the request of a committee member, the convention chair appointed 3 qualified members to the committee to "balance" the committee. Thus the full committee was 11 members, 6 Clinton delegates and 5 Obama delegates. Four challenges were received by the convention chair by the Wednesday deadline. These were heard and rejected by the following votes 11-0, 11-0, 11-0 (or possibly 10-1, I can't recall specifically) and 9-2.

The following day after the convention was convened the credentials committee was assigned the tasks of 1)counting the delegates and their presidential preference and 2) verifying that each of the 500? 600? delegates in attendance was also listed in the roll/delegate list from the precinct caucus. And yes, we met in the same "back room" classroom we met the previous evening, which I believe was also used later by the nominations committee. These were open meetings and, except for the meeting at 3:00 on Saturday when the count was completed, there were individuals who were not members of the committee present.

And a final note, the one individual who should be thanked in Geri's blog but, for obvious reasons, was not is Geri herself. Lots of folks, especially Geri, put in a lot of effort for this convention to be held. And I think we all have some ideas about how it could be improved.