Although the Republican National Convention is well underway, I am still reflecting on the significance of last week’s Democratic National Convention.
Never before have I attended such an historic event in the United States presidential election. Since the preliminary Convention activities began on Monday, August 25, I continue to be impressed by the historic significance of the 2008 Democratic National Convention (and I’ve had the honor of attending the Conventions since 1992!)
This Convention marks an unprecedented unity within the Democratic Party. At a time when skeptics questioned the Democratic Party’s ability to unite, the Party’s leaders joined forces. The extraordinary speeches delivered by Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Senator Joe Biden, Senator Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, and Senator Ted Kennedy have successfully crystallized the party’s vision and support for Senator Barack Obama.
On Monday night, United States Senator John Kerry, along with wife Theresa Heinz, hosted a thank you event for his supporters and activists in the Democratic Party. Amongst the attendees were Senator Michael Morrisey, AFSME President Gerald McEntee, Attorney General Martha Coakley, and even actor Chevy Chase!
The tribute to Ted Kennedy brought down the house with a powerful speech that reminded us that the lion of the Senate is still roaring. The Democratic Party has never looked stronger. Whatever the outcome in November, one thing is for sure: The democrats are in this together.
My daughter told me that when a major newspaper invites you to blog, protocol is to do it. Invisible blogging is so five minutes ago,she said.
I've just returned from Denver which I thought was a very successful convention for the Democratic ticket. Senator Obama and his campaign did all the things they needed to do. They introduced Michelle and Barack to all those voters who are just tuning in, they united the Party behind Obama-Biden, they outlined what an Obama administration would mean to the average American and they began to define John McCain as a continuation of where George W. Bush has led this country.
They delivered some more subtle messages, like framing patriotism in terms of working to improve America, not just saluting the past.
I was especially impressed by Hillary and Bill Clinton, the patriots that they are for the way they rallied Senator Clinton's supporters to support the Obama-Biden ticket. They know what is at stake in this election.
There were several magical moments like the appearance of Senator Kennedy on Monday night. He is simply one of a kind. Nothing could have kept him away from this convention. He has such a sense of history. He knows he is passing the torch to the next generation, and he knows that he has gathered his family on the right side of history. I hope the people of Massachusetts appreciate what a gift it is to have Ted Kennedy as our Senator.
I must say it was moving seeing John Kerry play such an important part in Ted's video, and for those who missed it, John gave one of the best speeches of the convention.
I also want to give a shout out to Governor Patrick for the great speech he gave. Behind the seens, I got a chance to host a lunch for the Governor with some of my colleagues from the Obama campaign around the country. The lunch was way oversubscribed, and the Governor was a huge hit. I was able to report, in the words of a wise observer of Massachusetts politics, that the Governor had just completed the most successful legislative session of any first term Governor in two generations.
The climax of this convention was Thursday night. The campaign took a big risk setting expectations so high but as Barack has done so often when the pressure was on, he hit it out of the park. Remember the Jefferson/Jackson dinner in Iowa or the speech on race in Philadelphia. Barack Obama is as great a clutch player as Tom Brady, David Ortiz or Paul Pierce.
Perhaps the highlight of the convention for me was the presence of so many members of the New England Steering Committee of the Obama Campaign. There were over 100 of us who have been working for Barack Obama since he announced his candidacy in February, 2007. This band of partisans are a diverse and passionately committed group, many of whom were attending their first national convention. It was more than inspiring to share this experience with a group of people so committed to taking our country back and repairing the disastrous consequences eight years of George W. Bush has wrought.
Speaking of which, how shocking the VP selection John McCain has made. Maybe she is a compelling personality and maybe she is a reformer from outside of Washington, but what does it say about the 72 year old nominee that he would select someone to be a heart-beat away from the presidency after two meetings, someone whose preparation consists of two years as Governor of a state with a population one tenth that of Massachusetts and mayor of a city smaller than the number of people who gathered at Invesco Field to hear Barack Obama's acceptance speech. David Gergen on CNN could hardly disguise his shock. The American Presidency is the most powerful and most complicated job in the world. How could any national leader in his right mind make such a selection with as little due diligence as the McCain campaign excercised. I don't know what scares me more, McCain's impulsiveness, Palin's lack of preparation or the fact that she believes in teaching creationism alongside evolution. Are we going through a reverse enlightenment?
I hope my daughter feels I've redeemed myself with this entry.
I actually used to like Senator McCain. Years ago, I heard him speak once at a convention in Washington DC. I was mostly impressed by his decency and compassion. During the Republican debates, when he promised a campaign that would be free of character slandering, I was equally impressed. However, the candidate I am seeing now is very different from the Senator I heard in 2002 and the one that ran during the primaries. It is actually disappointing to me because I was looking forward to an election that focused on honest debates and intelligent discussions around issues and policies important to the American people and the world. Instead, what I see candidate McCain doing is buying into the political tactics that we have seen in the past 8 years. His recent selection for VP just confirms this.
I find it incredibly startling that McCain would choose a person he hardly knows for a job as important as the Vice Presidency of the United States. It is so obvious that he is doing this as a political tactic that it makes me question his judgment. Is that the way he will make decisions about our economy, our security, our well-being as a nation? If, God forbid, Senator McCain dies during his presidency then he will entrust this nation with a person with zero foreign affairs experience, whom he hardly knows to be the Commander in Chief? How irresponsible is that?
I can appreciate that this is a historic moment for women but what is insulting and shameful is that it comes as a result of political tactics and not merits. As a woman, I am insulted. I can't help but asking how does he dare insult the intelligence of millions of women who voted for Clinton with this tactic of trying to appeal to them by choosing a woman with no qualifications as a vice presidential candidate. What does he think, that women are stupid? Or is he implying that people supported Hillary just because she was a woman? People supported Hillary because they thought she was the best qualified person for the job. It just so happened that she was a woman, which made the decision to support her even more exciting.
I have watched with dismay how John McCain has transformed his message from the Primary to now. This VP pick really surprised me because at the very core, I wanted to believe that Senator McCain would come to his senses and run a decent campaign based on respect and dignity. However, now, I agree with Senator John Kerry, who said it best at the Convention last week: "Before [John McCain] ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself."
After returning from Denver, I thought I would share my top 10 lessons as a first time delegate for all those who have never been to a Convention and may be inspired to go to one in the future. It would have made my life a bit easier to know these things beforehand, so in the spirit of sharing and prevention, here they are:
1. Being a delegate is expensive. Ramon Soto, a pledged Hillary delegate, and myself were fortunate to have had the community throw us a fundraiser to help cover the cost. If the hotel is far away from where the action is (as ours was) then be prepared for high transportation costs and difficulty in getting cabs.
2. Bring an extra bag for gifts for friends. You will be tempted to buy buttons, t-shirts, hats, posters but the best thing you can bring back are all the great signs they give you while on the floor of the convention to show while the speakers are talking.
3. Wear sandals (or bring a pair in a bag). You will be walking and walking and walking all day long – and night. We learned that the hard way on the first night.
4. Bring healthy snacks – especially if hot dogs, nachos and pizza every night is not for you.
5. Make a master calendar BEFORE you get there, if not you may find yourself overwhelmed with decisions on what to do and where to go. It’ll make you mad with confusion. Take it from me.
6. Watch the news on TV for the spin – you will often experience what is going on differently than how it is spun on the news. I couldn’t believe how the news was so far off from reality sometimes, especially the first night of the convention.
7. Prepare yourself for 3 – 4 hours of sleep a night. This is especially true for those who are party animals yet do not want to miss the great breakfast program. Just know that everyone will be just as cranky as you in the morning.
8. Get a map of the city or you will find yourself in the same spot you started at after walking for an hour. Since many of the police officers were not from Denver, they were not very helpful in giving directions (although they were extremely nice, which was actually refreshing).
9. Don’t miss the bus or you’ll be stuck in a parking lot, cold and hungry waiting for the next one for two hours. Not fun.
10. Network, network, network – build relationships that you can use back home, especially with those elected officials. I think Representative Marty Walsh and I found a solution to redistricting while we waited for the bus at that parking lot (see number 9).
I was at the airport checking my bags in today when the man who was checking me in asked me how I liked the Convention. After I answered I asked him if he had been following the Convention on television. He said he had watched it but that he was a Hillary supporter who, after the primaries had decided not to vote for Obama.
This episode reminded me of the apprehension I came to the Convention with. I didn’t know what to expect. All the press around the divide between Clinton supporters and Obama supporters was concerning. The first couple of days, I found that there was a tense energy around, as if people did not know what to expect either. This could go really well or it could go terribly wrong.
I have been an Obama supporter from the very beginning. However, as a woman, and as a fellow Democrat, I was trying to learn, understand and truly appreciate what Hillary’s supporters were going through. I listened carefully to my Hillary supporter friends throughout these days. What I observed after Hillary’s speech on Tuesday- which in my opinion was extraordinary – and the meeting she had with her delegates to turn over her votes to Obama, was a process of healing that was very much needed. It became more palpable as the days went by.
For me, the most touching moment for me was when Hillary came on the floor to give the NY delegates and to request suspension of the floor count in order to officially nominate Obama the Presidential candidate for the party. I was so moved and so proud of her leadership. She truly shined. I turned around to see what others in our delegation were doing. I saw tears, but most of all, I saw people embracing each other, smiling, excited, holding hands, with proud faces: we are Democrats and we are to going to win this together. I cannot say that everyone is fully on board and united because that would be misleading. What I do know is that there is a sense that some healing has begun to occur.
And so it has. After he checked my bags, I asked the Hillary supporter what he thought of Obama’s speech last night. After a reflective pause he said: “I needed that speech. Now I’m voting for Obama!” I gave him a big Puerto Rican hug, thanked him and breathed a sigh of relief.
I am sure you have all read our blogs about how great its been. What you haven’t read about is everything that happened “behind the scenes” to facilitate our participation. Every morning, for example, we had a full breakfast program for the MA delegation with selected speakers. My favorite moments were presentations made by former governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, who spoke to us on the need to do grassroots organizing for this campaign; former Congressman Joe Kennedy, who gave a rousing speech on energy; and former Congressman and presidential candidate George McGovern whose presence was truly appreciated by many long time activists in the room.
I truly appreciated the hard work and long hours it must have taken to handle the logistics of the MA delegation to the Democratic Convention in Denver I have to applaud the staff of the MA Democratic Party led by Chairman John Walsh and Executive Director Stacey Monahan. I thought they did a fantastic job with logistics for the delegates. They were up before all of us preparing the logistics of the credentials and the breakfast and went to sleep after us ensuring that we all had what we needed. What I appreciated the most, however, was that they were just as excited as we were to be there.
The Massachusetts delegation was sitting on the left of the stadium. I arrived fairly early, around 2:30pm. The stadium was already beginning to fill up. After a couple of hours, I looked around could not help but feel that this was history in the making. People were dancing, embracing, making waves throughout the stadium. Imagine 80,000 people waiving American flags with smiles on their faces! People were proud and excited to be there, there was no doubt. I was nervous, that good kind though. I was ready to hear what the unlikely Democratic nominee for President of the United States was going to say.
There were three specific moments that stood out for me. One was when Obama said, (referring to the last 8 years of failed Republican administration and policies) “Enough!” That word and its power resonated throughout the entire stadium. The sea of American flags, reclaiming that symbol not as a sign of domination and power but of patriotism and pride. For me, that was the most powerful moment. It was when I saw the leader I needed to see: the one who is willing to take a bold stand for what is right and not be afraid of the consequences; the one who is respectful of his opponents, yet firm with his convictions; the one who is ‘fired up and ready to go’. A friend of mine today said: “It’s like he was drawing a line on the sand.” I loved that image because for so long I have felt that the leaders of the party were way too much concerned with what they thought they should say instead of what they really felt. With his speech, Obama re-established my hope in the Democratic Party and reaffirmed the reasons for deciding to come to Denver. I left feeling that my efforts in politics is not in vain and a renewed hope in the potential of this country.
The other moment was towards the end of the speech when Obama said “This [campaign] is not about me. It has always been about you.” I thought he showed tremendous humility in that statement. This is the essence of what has defined his campaign: it is a movement way beyond Barack Obama. It’s about the American people. The third defining moment of his speech for me was when he said “History has taught us that in defining moments in our country change does not come from Washington it comes to Washington.” Reminding us to take charge of reclaiming our power to make change for this country and our lives. This is what I love about this campaign. It motivates us to move away from depending on our leaders and taping into our own power to make change together.
I doubt very much that the Republican Party, with all of their political tactics, can top this Convention next week, let alone inspire the American people in this way.
On Wednesday, the DNC held National Service Day in Denver. DNC delegates, volunteers and staff were asked to participate. There were about 12 of us from Massachusetts who decided to help by reaching out to Latino voters in neighborhoods of Denver. It was truly a team effort. After a morning meeting the day before, we had t-shirts made that read MA Latinos United for Obama. About half of us were Hillary supporters while the other half were Obama supporters. Given that Hillary did so well among Latinos, we decided it would be important to send a message that in Massachusetts, we have been able to build unity among our Latino delegates, sending a message that we, as Latinos, can unite for a common good – to take back the White House. It was really great to see that we had Latinos from different areas of the state, Springfield, Groton, Greensfield and Boston. Of course, we also had our “honorary Latino” Reuben Kantor from Councilor Mike Ross’s office help us as well. We went to Latino neighborhoods and conducted door-to-door outreach, asking Latino voters to support Obama. It was quite an experience. We want to bring this energy back to Massachusetts and build upon it so that we can garner all Latinos, regardless of who they supported in the primary, to come join this campaign for change.
I'm so glad that Giovanna Negretti, as a first time delegate, is blogging from her experience as a Latina at the DNC. I can tell you that at the Asian caucus events, the word from the Asian political veterans is that our community has exploded in terms of numbers, enthusiasm and maturity compared to the last convention and beyond.
Credit the record Democratic primary turnout and grassroots campaigning that has energized Asian politicos and activists like never before. It's still small -- compared to other ethnic and special-interest caucuses.
That’s why together with my friends Yul Kwon and NY City Council Member John Liu we launched the Asian Political Leadership Fund [link: http://www.asianleader.org] to promote political participation and leadership within the Asian American community.
Asian Americans have a tough time defining ourselves. For me, I see this as one of the main challenges to developing political leadership.
What is it that unites Asian Americans besides the fact that our ancestry is from Asia? It's a question Asian Americans constantly ask ourselves. We came over to the US at different times. We speak a thousand different languages. We don't all look alike. Some of us look alike but event we can't tell each other apart. Pacific Islanders (e.g. American Samoans and Guamanians) are added to our mix (which is why we often speak of API's - Asian/Pacific Islanders).
If you know the answer as to what unites us, please comment on this post!
But this is why these national caucuses are so important. They're opportunities to have community conversations that allow us to reflect and to shape our identity. We need to do this work on a regular basis because otherwise someone else will do it for us.
There were two emotional highlights for me last night which were very personal. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraqi war veteran who narrowly lost a bid for Congress, claimed her Asian heritage (her mother is Thai) -- the only Asian-American so far who was given a prime-time spot. She was clearly tapped because she is a war hero (she lost her legs in a helicopter attack), but it meant a great deal to me that as an Asian American, she helped to reinforce the fact that Asians like her are indeed Americans -- proud Americans who understand sacrifice for their country.
The second came when Beau Biden, Delaware's Attorney General, talked about his father's commitment to him and his brother after they survived a car crash that killed his mother (Joe biden's first wife) and sister when he was very young. Joe Biden had just won his first Senate race, had not yet been sworn in, but declared, probably while refusing to leave the hospital where his sons were, that Delaware could get another Senator, but his sons would never have another father.
Beau was four years old at the time. My son Nathan is six and my daughter Naomi is three. I cannot imagine the grief Joe Biden must have felt, and how at some emotional level he must have blamed himself and his political ambition for what had happened to his family. I live with that kind of misplaced guilt all the time in ways that are miniscule compared to what Biden went through. But it happens often enough to require a discipline in my thinking about what I do and why I do it, even as a city councilor who spends nights and weekends out at events and meetings. In the end, it is about my children and their future. It's about their city and the world they will inherit. So I owe it to them to stay balanced and make things work out.
Hearing about the sacrifices of great public servants -- whether elected officials or war veterans -- inspires me and humbles me. I didn't quite expect this convention to have that kind of impact on me personally. Of course, this being my first convention, I really didn't know what to expect.
And Bill Clinton was fantastic. Bill Clinton was the Bill Clinton we all (or at least we Democrats) love. (Apparently his speech was the only speech not vetted with the Obama campaign, reflecting an extraordinary degree of respect and trust that Barack had for Bill.) But Clinton, of his own accord, firmly set the stage for Obama. Our own John Kerry did exceptionally well too. The party is clearly energized.
A magnificent speech last night by Senator Clinton was matched tonight by one delivered by the former President. Never have defeated opponents been so engaged in the process of uniting the party and articulating the vision of a better America. And a former nominee, our own Senator Kerry was as strong as I have ever seen him, committing us all to avoiding the swift boating of our Party that we have endured in the past. Tomorrow I will be one of 75,000 to witness the beginning of this campaign to restore the values and reputation of our nation. I will wear my button proudly... "Hillary supporter for Obama."
By Ruth Balser
Hillary Clinton was extraordinary tonight! The acknowledgement of the anniversary of women's suffrage heightened the experience of this historic candidacy. But no campaign is ever about one individual.
Senator Clinton made it clear this was never about her, but our goals for America. It was also about the possibility for many of us to live to see the first woman president. As part of the sisterhood of traveling pantsuits, I am proud to have campaigned and to have participated in so many victories. That America recognized the possibility of a woman as commander in chief, that a woman won elections in state after state...... Senator Clinton has paved the way for women to have, as Speaker Pelosi put it several times this week, a seat at the table.
It took us from 1848 in Seneca Falls to 1920 for women to win the right to vote. It will take longer for us to elect a female President. But Hillary Clinton has stood on the shoulders of women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others will stand on her shoulders.
The nation saw an extraordinary stateswoman tonight. It was a deeply emotional experience for me to have been part of this campaign, and to be here tonight to witness an important chapter in American history.
Cynthia, decisions about how to count delegates aren't handed down on high from the DNC. In this case I can assure you they were thoroughly worked out between the Obama and Clinton campaigns together with the DNC.
The Democrats aren't cooking the books so much as they are balancing them. This is the type of challenge that Democrats tend to take on -- balancing various legitimate interests while maintaining unity around core values. This is one of the reasons I'm proud to be a Democrat.
Wow. Tonight was the first time I had heard Michelle Obama in person. (If you count being behind the stage in the nose-bleed seats of the Pepsi Center...) For me she accomplished exactly what the campaign set out to do -- give me a strong sense that she is a genuine and thoughtful wife, mother, professional, and patriot.
Of course they didn't have me in mind in terms of who they were trying to convince. The campaign was thinking about the family that Barack Obama was on the living room couch with in Kansas City, Missouri, as Barack was talking to his own family via live feed. That is, a middle-class family from the heartland.
Incidentally, I thought I saw Barack Obama's eyes getting misty as he was talking to his daughters ("How do you think mommy did?").
And what can one say about Ted Kennedy? The epithet of the Senate's 'lion' is so fitting. The majesty of a lion comes from the fact that he takes care of his pride. He roars when necessary. He is at the top of the food chain. Obviously the mane. And even as he sits and watches the sun set, he maintains a watchful eye over all.
Right after Michelle Obama spoke, a Latina friend of mine in Massachusetts sent me a text message. She had been watching the convention live on CNN. My friend was an ardent supporter of Hillary during the primaries. At that time we had many passionate discussions about why she thought Hillary was the best choice for our community while I argued the case for Obama. After the primary it has still been quite challenging to get her and many other of my friends not only to vote for Obama, which I think they will ultimately do, but also to actively work to ensure that he gets elected.
This is why when people ask me “Will Latinos vote for Obama?” I say: “Yes, they will”. I don’t think Latinos voting/not voting for Obama is the problem as it relates to Latino support of his campaign. Several studies already have him leading among Latinos. Besides, common sense will tell you that all you have to do is look at the economy, the price of gas, the crisis in our schools which are at an all time high in drop out rates, the rise in crime, and the lack of significant improvement to our health care system -- add to this the number of Latinos dying in Iraq and you will find that Latino families, just like most American families, are hurting badly. These issues will surely have a strong impact on Election Day because Latinos will seek change to alleviate the crisis. There is very little that the Republican government has done in terms of policy during the last 4 years that could make a case for Latinos to vote for them in big numbers as they did in 2000.
Having said that, I do not believe that a number of Latinos (at least in MA) are yet at the point of actively engaging in the Obama campaign, which is different from just voting. This is not to say that they will vote for McCain in big numbers because I am not sure if he even has a "convincible" message for Latinos, period. However, Obama has a potential missed opportunity here. Although Massachusetts Latinos are not a priority in terms of numbers and swing states, we are potential bilingual volunteers in other swing states where the Latino community could be the deciding factor. Obama's message should be permeating the hearts and minds of Latinos springing them to action.
Last night it started to happen, at least with my Latina friend from Massachusetts. In her text message after listening to Michelle Obama, she wrote: “Where do I sign up?” Another text from her immediately followed: “I want to go to a Denver or Ohio to help in the last two weeks leading up to election day. Let’s do it!” She heard Obama’s message. It was clear and effective and it brought her to the point of wanting to be a part of this movement. To the Obama campaign I say bring your story and your message to our communities more effectively – it will be worth the effort not only for your campaign but for the country. To my good friend who has come around I say “ˇBienvenida!”
Given that the mainstream media is stating that support for Obama among white women is at a low, I went to an event that is totally focused on women's issues and women getting involved in politics to see if I could get a sense of there is some truth in this among the women delegates.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the keynote and the audience of over 2000 was predominantly women. Speaker Pelosi spoke about the importance of women running for office but took the opportunity to make the case foe Obama.
If the energy and the euphoric cheers in the room are any evidence of where women are on Obama as the Democratic nominee, I would say a couple of things: First, if what the news media states is true then it seems like women are turning around. Second, Speaker Pelosi is an incredibly effective surrogate for the campaign.
I arrived last night to Denver after having participated in a 3-day retreat at a ranch in Colorado with several national movement leaders. One of the most interesting conversations we had was about what this election means for our respective movements. One of the things that I took from this truly profound converation was that we, as movement builders, have high expectations of an Obama presidency given the amount of policies that need to be fixed after 8 years of the Bush Administration.
As a result, I have decided to take this opportunity at the DNC to talk to folks throughout the week to see what this election means for their respective movements and how we can help to make this Obama movement a sustainable one.
My first interview today was with Angus McQuilken, Vice President for Public Affairs of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of MA. Angus is a long time friend who at one point was Chief of Staff for then Senator Cheryl Jaques. He ran for office a few years ago and came very close to winning. At the heart of it, Angus is an activist. As soon as he saw me he handed me a small condom package with a lid that read "Protect Yourself from John McCain in This Election". Loved it! His current movement, as I see it, is to ensure sexual health for all Americans. When I asked him what this election meant to his movement, he replied: "There is alot that hinges on this election. We are one vote away from the Supreme Court reversing Roe vs. Wade. The threat is very real." As a result of this threat, his organization is waging the Million Strong Campaign to ensure that voters turn out in all 50 states. In MA, they plan to conduct phone banking to other states and local door to door activities.
As to the sustainability of the Obama movement he says "We want an administration that will listen." I agree. At the end of the day, that's what democracy is all about. If people feel listened to, they will continue to be engaged.
The Republicans -- and the mainstream media -- might say "democratic unity" is an oxymoron.
The talk today apparently is going to be about whether the Clintons are going to be graceful in passing the baton and whether the party will truly unite behind Obama this week.
Pre-convention jitters. What I can say as a member of the Rules Committee is that the leadership of both campaigns, with the DNC, have come together in a truly compelling way around the nominating process. The Rules Committee meeting on Saturday went extremely well, all in front of the cameras, despite the potential for rifts and division.
And by the way the permanent chair and three co-chairs of the convention -- who I had the ceremonial honor of nominating at the Rules Committee meeting -- are all women: http://www.demconvention.com/democrats-announce-2008-convention-chairs-2/
Was this by design? Was there an implied message about the role of women in the party given the Clinton campaign?
Well, the fact is that these four Democratic political leaders just happen to be the: the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chair of the Democratic Governors Association, the President of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the Chair of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.
Coincidence? Only insofar as women are making and will continue to make huge strides in Democratic leadership, and this is well recognized by the party.
Democratic unity. There is one good thing about all the doubts about whether there will be unity at this convention. It gives us reason to talk about it -- and rally around it.
Quick note: This entry was written last week in preparation for trip to Denver
This is going to be interesting.
Not only being at the DNC, but blogging and publicly reflecting along the way.
Already the 2008 convention, apparently, will be a virtual beehive of blogging, videologging (vlogging?), youtubing -- the likes of which we've never seen before in politics. People call this the 'new media.' And we're part of it! If you're reading this blog, you're part of it.
How is all this 'new media' going to change politics? I imagine the American body politic more and more seeing the world the way a fly does -- through thousands of little lenses. Do they add up to a clear image?
Just the other day, I was having a conversation about the way new media is changing journalism, the business model for newspapers, and even the civic role that newspapers are supposed to be playing in society. We are definitely headed into uncharted territory. Everything is changing -- there's a lot we don't know about how the new media will shape our world.
What I do know is this is a great idea and I'm going to have fun. Politicians typically do a lot of talking and not a lot of writing. It's good for me to practice other modes of communication once in a while. Thank you Boston Globe for inviting me to do this.
Went to a meeting of Roxbury4Obama organizing meeting at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center on Tuesday. Mid-August, dead of summer, an ordinary weeknight -- and over fifty people showed up, about half of whom had never worked on a campaign. They wanted to get involved because they felt that something important was happening and they had to be a part of it.
Mostly African-Americans in the room -- I and a poster of Bruce Lee were the only Asian representatives there. One woman said, "We are the change that we have been waiting for. We haven't been waiting for Obama. Obama has been waiting for us."
The hope and energy in the room was palpable. The post-meeting sign up and organizing and planning activity was like a trading floor at a stock exchange -- on a bullish day -- chaotic, but jubilant.
Denver will be exciting, to be sure -- full of hope and energy. Live, on television. But we will really be moving democracy forward if we can plant and harvest hundreds and thousands more moments like Tuesday night at the Reggie Lewis Center all over Boston, the Commonwealth, and the nation.
By Ruth Balser
I arrived in Denver yesterday, a delegate elected in my congressional district, pledged to support Hillary Clinton. I arrive at the hotel where the Massachusetts delegation is staying and attend a reception hosted by Governor Patrick and Senator Kerry. Many of my colleagues in the legislature are here along with our leaders, Speaker DiMasi and President Murray. Many Democratic activists with whom I have worked over the years are here.
There is enormous energy and enthusiasm. And while we may have had differences during the primaries of who our nominee should be, we are united in our determination to beat John McCain and return the White House to a Democrat. The energy is contagious.
Today we headed off to various caucuses. I attended an AIPAC meeting where DNC Chairman Howard Dean and others reminded all of the Democratic Party's commitment to a foreign policy that recognizes the historic alliance between the US and Israel. I also attend a meeting called "Unconventional Women" where I hear Speaker Nancy Pelosi describe how raising her 5 children gave her executive experience that helped prepare her for the historic role she has played.
And tonight, off to the Convention, where the highlight was our own Senator Ted Kennedy, who told us, "nothing could keep me away!" This champion for Democratic values was here to remind us of the values and goals that unite us.
This convention is doing just what conventions do... energize the troops and get us ready for the upcoming campaign.