I'm a liberal Democrat, a progressive, and proud of it. It's hard to be a liberal Democrat in West Virginia, as you might well imagine. We used to be a solidly blue state. Now we're kinda purple, turning red, and it was certainly on the minds and hearts of those attending and speaking at the convention I went to this weekend to turn us back to blue.
I'm president of my county Democratic women's club, part of the WVFDW, and was attending my first state convention. We heard from Lena C. Taylor (D-WI) who, along with 13 of her colleagues, left the state of Wisconsin to prevent bad law from being railroaded through the legislature there. (It slowed the process, but the law was still passed.) We heard from many union organizers. West Virginia's former first lady, Gail Manchin, spoke, as did my Congressman's wife, Melinda Rahall, and the Congressman himself. (She gets top billing; she's a hoot!) West Virginia is having a special gubernatorial election October 4 (10/4, good buddy!) and Governor and Mrs. Tomblin came to fire up the crowd.
We elected officers, attended workshops (how to get young people more involved was a big one), networked – all the things you do at conventions. The mayor reminded us that what happens in Huntington stays in Huntington. Since the median age was probably the same as mine, not much was likely to happen. The fundraising auction, which netted more than $4000, was the raciest event of the weekend; a couple of the male Young Democrat representatives were auctioned off for a lunch date.
I was proud to learn that the president of the Young Democrats of America is a West Virginian and that the president of the National Federation of Democratic Women in 2013 will be a West Virginian. Perhaps West Virginia can again turn blue.
No knitting was done. Not a stitch. I sat beside and behind a couple women who were knitting during the business meeting, but I'd left my bag in my room and didn't feel like going back for it.
I walked two miles each day. Saturday I ventured outside, but Sunday I had to get it done early so I hopped on the hotel treadmill. One of you will be proud of me for hitting a couple of the Nautilus machines. I was grateful to be the only person in the workout room; you should have seen me trying to get on and off those contraptions!
I ate dessert at lunch Saturday but skipped the dessert reception at the banquet Saturday night. That was hard. Those desserts looked good, but I wasn't hungry and I was tired and it just felt more right to skip the evening festivities and head upstairs for a little football watching and some rest.
It was difficult to attend this event by myself. I'd planned to go with another of our local members, but she had a family emergency at the last minute and couldn't attend. It wasn't easy to meet new people, but I did it. I now have some new ideas for growing our group, and some new understanding of how important it is to elect Democrats, even if you think they're not quite as liberal as you'd like them to be.
It's a no-brainer, really. The alternative is to vote for a Republican, and we've seen what they've done to our country. Can we take it back? I sincerely hope so.
I'm sure I'll have more to say about this as time goes on. I may have to change the name of the blog again. (Knit. Run. Reap. Eat. Vote Democrat!)
Or maybe the color. Heh.