Hurricane Todd Hits Democratic Convention in Charlotte

5 years ago

I attended the 2008 Democratic convention as a guest and sent out daily emails to friends about my experiences. As a Hillary supporter with a lot of Hillary friends, the Denver convention was high drama -- how would Hillary be treated? How would her speech be received? Would Barack win over those harboring resentment? I felt the Democrats left the last convention with some healing and more unity after the bruising primaries of 2007-2008 and they rallied to get out the vote for the election of Barack Obama.

Jan. 18, 2012 - Charlotte, North Carolina, United States of America - Members of the media are silhouetted against the jumbotron and the 2012 DNC logo during the Democratic National Convention Committee's logistical walkthrough at the Time Warner Cable Arena for attending media agencies in anticipation of the upcoming 2012 Democratic National Convention. (Credit Image: © Sean Meyers/"

This year I ran to be a delegate to the Democratic Convention kind of as a lark. When I won a seat on the California delegation, I realized I actually had to attend -- and for what? A bunch of tedious speeches, like the ones I'd sat through at the California conventions? A bunch of party insiders who wanted to dissect administration policy and analyze why four years after the election things weren't exactly as they wanted (which was different for each person)? Ho-hum. There would be no drama, everything was already decided before the convention. The only excitement might come from how demoralized Democrats would appear to be.

Then Hurricane Todd hit. Missouri Representative Todd Akin's ignorant, offensive "gaffe" unleashed another attack in the last year of the Republican Party's War on Progress, with their War on Women leading the way. Is it a gaffe when you're just saying what you've been saying and legislating openly for years? Why did the Republican Party party pressure Congressman Akin to withdraw from the Senate race because of his comments, when his congressional legislative partner, Paul Ryan, just accepted the Party nomination for Vice President at the Republican convention? Politically, however, along with the Republican convention this week, it may unify Democrats and actually galvanize them to realize the force of what they face.

I'm eager to go to the convention and get out of the political echo chamber of California Democrats. I know it's different in other parts of the country. What are activists in other parts of the country, swing states like my home state of Ohio, experiencing and thinking? What do they think and what are they doing about the personhood amendments and voter suppression efforts in their states?

I'm excited to hear what all the women featured as speakers at the convention will have to say and how they will say it. There are the obvious defenders of choice who will speak: Sandra Fluke, the law school student who was not allowed to testify before an all-male Congressional panel on their objections to the new Obama Administration rules on Conscience Clause exceptions in health care; Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund; and Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL. But Democratic women are not just window dressing and have concerns beyond our biology. In addition to the rock stars Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, I want to hear what else Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Former Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, and activist and actress Eva Longoria will have to say.

With the perfect storm, it's time for women to set the agenda, bring the Democratic Party together and lead.


cross-posted from the Feminists for Obama blog

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