So, yea, The Missus and I trudged up to Springfield to attend the monthly meeting of the County Democratic Party. Just for fun, I attempted to live-blog it, But, really, has anyone ever improved their hit count by covering a wake? Actually, being part of a Latino family, with more than a few Irish married in, I’ve actually been at more lively wakes. There was a moment, however, that passed all to quickly but at least provided a brief respite from the tedium, which I will tell y’all about in a minute.
Our County Chair wasn’t present. I looked around, and saw almost no new faces since the 04 campaign. I am over 50 yrs old, and I was about the youngest person present (notwithstanding the Missus, who could barely conceal her glee when someone asked her if she was my daughter), and I remarked that I felt it might be prudent to have EMS on hand for these meetings, or, absent that, at least a defibrillator. After the (surprise!) prayer, we recited the pledge of allegiance, sat down, and learned that the Party had a few thousand dollars on hand, and no debt. There was all the same announcements made about the annual Hand Farm event, which consumes enormous time and manpower, and generated roughly 1100 dollars during the 04 election cycle, or, about as much as the Missus and I raised in a single night for the County in 04, by bringing in some musical talent from Nashville. I think her and I put it together in about 6 hours.
The two candidates spoke. I say spoke, since their mouths indeed opened and closed and words escaped, but I wouldn’t describe it as fiery oration. Ok, I couldn’t truthfully describe it as oration. The thing is, these guys are attractive candidates, but the only reason I know this is because I’m one of three people in this county with access to The inner-tubes, and I read their bios online. I’ll have more on both of them later, since I’ve decided to “interview” them in some sort of journalistic fashion. Or, I might just make some shit up. Check back.
So, I’m sitting there, literally pinching myself to keep from jumping up and screaming “where the hell are all the young people, and, um, could we at least have some token people of color present?” ( I mean, sure, there was me, a brown skinned, dark eyed person of questionable legal status, and two black men, but only one of them was a new face) All of a sudden, a well-dressed (dare I say…clean, and articulate) African American man stood up and asked that very same question. Man, Colbert would have been proud, watching the Party Secretary, the Vice Chair, and even one of the candidates out “black-friend” each other. Apparently, our Party Secretary was “active” in the Civil Rights Movement, and even marched with Dr. King, thank you very much. Surely it put the man at ease when one of the candidates offered up the fact that he counts several African Americans among his close, personal friends. I swear to God.
It kills me to be cynical about all of this. But The Missus and I put in countless hours working on behalf of the County Party in 04. We recruited and organized volunteers, registered voters, held rallies and fund-raised, slopped food at events, canvassed neighborhoods and manned phones, so I feel we have earned the right to be heard, though we are never asked to participate In planning discussions by the Party elders. The only way for us to try and bring the Party into the 21st century would have been to stage a coup d’etat. (which we almost did, but decided to get sloshed and play cards instead) The thing is, there is much we can do to improve turnout and participation, and to prepare some youngsters to take our places in time. We can, without spending too much money, at least attempt to weigh in on the propaganda war. In short, we need leadership. A little vision wouldn’t hurt.
We have, finally, a candidate at the top of the ticket that can frame a position clearly, and who has generated excitement at a level I haven’t seen since Bobby Kennedy’s campaign, who has raised obscene amounts of money, and beat the formidable Clinton machine, and yet, his name wasn’t mentioned until almost 25 minutes of stumping had passed. It just makes me fear for the future of our Party, and our County.