Monday, June 28, 2010

Washington State Dems Convention 2010

I was at the Washington State Democrats state convention over the weekend. This is the second Democratic state convention that I've been to, and like the first, it was really a blast. Parties the night before, a huge banquet, speeches by our state's US Representatives and by our Senator Patty Murray, a buffet breakfast at the convention center in rural Clark County with more speeches by politicos, and finally the convention itself.

We got pumped up for action by a series of "rah-rah-go-get-'em" speeches, voted on candidate endorsements, and then got down to the democracy-is-not-pretty floor fights over the planks in the party platform and some 144 resolutions which had been offered up by the rank and file over the last few months.

The platform, of course, had been hammered out over a series of months by the platform committee, which represented more or less the consensus of the party, so there weren't many disagreements over it, but there were a few.

And of course, it's a one-day convention, so the limited time factor is important, and when someone made a motion to accept the remainder of the platform as written we all went for it in a big way. We were getting tired and wanted to move on to the resolutions. But, of course, a couple of people shared their contempt for the rest of us "undemocratically" railroading the process by getting up to the microphones and telling us off. Never mind that the motion had been made and seconded and voted on by the body. You can't get much more democratic than that...

But the real fun was debating the resolutions. Everything from a vote of confidence in the Obama agenda (a couple of people wanted to vote "no" because of Afghanistan, but cooler heads prevailed and the resolution won -- I'm no fan of his continuation of the Bush policies in the Middle East, but I don't want to give the Rethugs any ammo to use in 2012) to Corporate Personhood (we're against it) to Preserving Social Security (we're for it).

The one that brought out the most discussion and the most heated arguments was the resolution supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There are strong adherents to both sides of the issue and the debate rapidly heated up, with the final vote a very close one to support the resolution, which then of course generated some more heated discussion.

All in all, though, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, one which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to see democracy at work in their state. You can attend as a delegate, as I did, but you can also attend as a guest or observer, as a number of others did.

The conventions in 2012 ought to be even more entertaining and enlightening, since that will be a presidential year and at this point I am guessing that Obama will have some competition from within the party.