On the way to the county Democratic convention, my Lyft driver told me about how Obamacare had hurt her and her family. For one reason or another, after the law passed her insurance through her husband’s employer saw an increase in deductible from $1,500 to $10,000 per year. Medicare told her she was not eligible when she tried to get support for her autistic children’s physical therapy. I had little reason to believe that the Koch brothers were now planting fake Lyft drivers to lie about Obamacare, so I had to take her story at face value.
The first three quarters of the convention was voting for people I’d never heard of. The most important decision involved a choice between a man and a woman. “He’s going to do what’s right and not what’s wrong,” said the proponents of the man, to which the woman’s supporters replied, “She’s a woman!” To be fair, the actual candidates said a little more. The man said he was going to re-establish the Democrats as the big-tent party, which impressed me at first. When I said I would vote for him, a woman next to me snapped “no glass ceiling for you.” As his speech went on, he failed to expound on what he meant by big-tent, though. I worried he meant going more conservative instead of reaching out to help and listen to the poor of all colors Bernie Sanders style. The woman described a laundry list of strategies to get better organized and reach out to voters, which I appreciated for its clarity, so I voted for her. She won.
Next was a series of elections with only one candidate. After that was an election where we were to select seventy-eight people. There was a sheet of instructions telling us how to vote. We were to carefully maximize the diversity in each district. The couple beside me diligently filled it out like a logic problem, using the provided list of what proportions of people were in each district and carefully meeting the criteria of the attached sheet. I wanted more progressives, so I voted for the two people who explicitly listed themselves as progressive and didn’t bother with the rest.
At lunchtime I learned that the Young Democrats never received my order and believed I had just given them $15 just for whatever they felt like ordering themselves. Frustrating, but the generic sandwiches were fine.
The last segment of the convention was by far the best. We had a collection of resolutions to vote for. At each resolution, anyone could vote to pull it for corrections or to remove entirely, or a silent room would leave it as part of our official list to be sent to the district level. One man said to pull the statement against the death penalty, but when he saw the arguments that accompanied it he said they were convincing and backed down. One man pulled a number of different resolutions just to fix their grammar. At one point he called for the removal of text claiming that North Carolina had always stood against oppression of all kinds, as it simply wasn’t true. All of his amendments passed without opposition.
Even though it was trying at first, overall I was happy to have attended the convention. I didn’t affect much change this time, but next year I will be better prepared to draft and submit my own resolutions and stand on the floor to make statements. It does feel like this is a level at which an individual can make a difference.