(Excellent diary, I strongly encourage others to post their thoughts here at Blue Virginia on the DPVA convention yesterday. – promoted by lowkell)
I was honored to join my fellow Virginia Democrats at the State Convention in Fairfax yesterday. I was equally honored to be counted as a member of the overwhelming majority who were first time attendees. We are the party of diversity and inclusion and it is wonderful to see old hands and newcomers alike, uniting to help make our Commonwealth and our country a better place. I personally feel that part of making this community better is effectively and efficiently promoting the Democratic agenda, and that is why I feel compelled to write this letter.
My wife and I are residents of Abingdon, Virginia. Abingdon, as some may recall, is further west than Cleveland, Ohio. Despite the miles, we were happy to make the journey this year to unite with other Virginia Democrats and conduct the business of our party.
We made our trip to NoVa, the land of our youth, on Friday and spent the evening with family. We got a late start saturday, and arrived at GMU about 20 minutes before delegates were scheduled to be seated. We received our credentials and took our seats on time, but were surprised to hear along our way that the party had reserved a hall that would only be available for 5 hours. Our convention in the 9th district was scheduled for 3 hours and took 3.5. How can a convention that expected a crowd 10 times as large expect to finish in 5 hours, including lunch?
Calling the meeting to order 15 minutes late didn’t help the situation. Efforts were made to keep to the timeline by rearranging some speakers, but the event was destined to run late. 30 minutes for a roll call is unacceptable. Forgetting to make provisions for delegates who were counting ballots to vote on the next ballot is unacceptable. The most unacceptable aspect however was that it took more than 3 hours to hear the result of the first ballot for DNC member.
Hearing our elected officials speak is always invigorating. It’s half of why we attend these meetings. It seems however that the other half, the completion of party business, was thrown to the wayside.
It wasn’t until after 2 o’clock, when we were required to leave the hall, that we were given the results of the first ballot for DNC committeeman. I know that wasn’t the intention of the chairman, but it is something we could have planned for. It’s pretty embarrassing to watch a statesman like Brian Moran trying to run a meeting while his dais is disassembled around him.
It was suggested that we reconvene in the nearby Mason Inn to conduct the second ballot. Before we could though, a motion was made to suspend the rules and vote by acclimation. I didn’t spend the time and money that I have, to be part of a shouting match to elect my representatives to the DNC. We should conduct our affairs with a little more dignity, especially when it comes to entertaining motions and conducting a vote.
At this point, I feel it is important to state that I supported Ben Tribbett. Despite what some of the literature at the convention said, Ben is a good Democrat who works hard to promote the ideals of our party and retire people who stand in the way of unity and progress. Would Ben have won if the vote were conducted properly? Unfortunately, no, probably not. But failing to give this vote the time it deserved only helps to underline why he was running. We need better leadership and management of our party. My wife and I drove more than 6 hours from our home in Washington County to be a part of this convention, and to have our votes counted. There are few people as stubborn and persistent as I am. Will less persistent people make this trek again if they feel that their time will be wasted? Will they drive if they feel that their vote won’t count?
Suspending the rules is a tool reserved for expediency, not to assist people who can’t keep an eye on their watch. Would reconvening in the Mason Inn have been convenient? No, but neither was driving 345 miles to participate. The greater inconvenience will come next year, when we commission the same processes to select our gubernatorial candidate, lieutenant governor, and attorney general; positions of considerably more consequence than 1/447 of our Democratic National Committee.
At the time of this writing, I am still unsure of who my presidential electors will be.Those results may have been announced at one of the receptions at the inn. The same inn that no one wanted to go to and conduct a proper vote.. I, like many others, simply didn’t stick around. I didn’t feel like reveling and celebrating an event like this.
On our way out, we overheard more than one young Democrat say that this was their first, and would be their last state convention. Who won the vote didn’t matter so much as being heard and being valued. Did our convention value every member in attendance? Did it value their opinion? I want to believe so, but then again, there are few people as stubborn and persistent as me.