Monday, September 21, 2015

As weekends go, this certainly was one

I don't think I've written anything about the election that happened here in WV over the weekend. It took place at the state convention for the West Virginia Federation of Democratic Women (WVFDW). My county chapter was the host. I've shared a little bit about how busy our group was preparing for that. But the election? Not so much.

I was nominated for vice-president. Traditionally, the assembly accepts the recommendation of the nominating committee, everyone sings kumbaya, and you go to a banquet. But not this year.

Three of the top board positions were challenged by floor nominations. Mine was one of them.

The woman nominated for president and I ran as a team. She went down in the first ballot of the day, and I realized then that I didn't need to give quite as powerful a speech as I'd planned to. It was referred to by one witness as a kamikaze speech.

WVFDW is a club, politically oriented, obviously, but not beholden to the public. It's nice, though, to know the members of a group you've served for several years appreciate you and welcome your contributions.

Yeah, that didn't happen.

Don't get me wrong: MANY, many women approached me and told me how much they appreciated my work for the organization. (I took care of the website and created most of the memes for the Facebook page. Oh, and started a blog, a newsletter, and a Zazzle shop.) From my brief parenthetical resume, you can see I was a big contributor to the digital side of things.

The nominee for president came up with the ideas. Having more time than she, I executed them. We really are a good team. As I said in my speech, she's the spark plug and I'm the mechanic.

But talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. You don't show me you value my service by then voting me out.

I learned a lot from the entire experience, most of which I will keep to myself. What I will share is this: For Democrats in West Virginia, longevity trumps all. The longer you've been a member, the longer you've had a D beside your name, the better. The lifetime Democrat who is a charter member of WVFDW wins the prize.

Which is silly, really. If you want your group to grow and attract new and younger members, you look at records. My record, and that of the nominee for president, has hundreds of thousands of digital fingerprints all over it. Social media is where those potential younger members are. And that's where we worked the hardest, while also creating the newsletter to make sure we were reaching those who don't spend much time online.

Without being too melodramatic about it, I guess I'm making my way through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You don't have to have all of them, and you don't have to have them in that order. But most people experiencing an impactful loss feel some or all of these emotions to some degree.

I'm pretty sure I skipped denial and went straight to anger. I'm not sure bargaining is relevant. I feel stuck between mad and sad right now, and I'm really very close to acceptance. I will be all right. I'm already making plans for how a way to work on issues that mean something to me and to other progressive women who feel that WVFDW chose a different set of values.

There was a lot of discussion at this meeting about adding a standing committee just for social media. And after all was said and done, it was added. The social media team will no longer serve at the pleasure of the president, but will be an elected office and a voting member of the board.

I'm happy about that.

I'm just sad I won't be on it.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

You failed to mention that for the last 3 years, the WVFDW has lost 477 members while at the same time your local group and that of the nominee for president GAINED members. Yet, Belinda Biafore chose to squash your fresh ideas and hard work because it would create a stark contrast to her inadequacies in leading the WV Democratic Party. She would prefer to keep the status quo going over the cliff. And then we wonder why the Democratic Party is where it is......

Anita Schumacher said...

Kudos to you Deb for venting your disappointment/anger/grief like this. I'm sure it is therapeutic. They can't keep a good woman down, and you and Susan will go on and prove that! So proud of you.

Debbi said...

Thank you, Anonymous and Anita ... I'm still kind of stunned. Writing the blog is definitely cathartic and therapeutic. I'm probably not done. =)

Tired said...

Don't mourn..organize! This is just another nail in the coffin of old school "democratic" politics in West Virginia. I'm a lifelong WV Dem. I have been on a county committee, run for office twice and run a couple of good campaigns. In the last one, we were blindsided by negative Republican advertising..all lies..and got very little help from the Dems, other than using the database of voters. I have resisted Mtn Party and Independent status, because, well, I'm a Democrat.. But maybe we need to look at options, here.
I am sorr you were shut out, Deb and Susan, but you obviously were too progressive for your own good..and ours. I don't know the answer, but until we find it, I am afraid the statehouse will belong to the Republicans, and that is unacceptable.

Kitten With a Whiplash said...

Hello Debbi, and Wow, that sucks, said the (long silent) San Francisco Male Democrat with no vote in the matter.

I know from your posts here that your work is based on your passion for the politics of the state and nation, not a desire for (greatly deserved) recognition via the politics of this group. I also feel like some of your anger is based on not feeling welcome to continue your many contributions with the same authority. To Heck with them - you have an intelligent mind and a strong voice - keep on doing what you're doing, under your own auspices. Because in the end, you deserve and should have gotten their recognition, but you certainly don't need their validation. They need yours.

gingerzingi said...

I'm SHOCKED. You know I've been on vacation, so this is the first I read about it.

You know what, it's okay for you to be angry! This is bullshit and of course you're angry, you've every right. You'll get to the acceptance stage when you're good and ready. And I know you will move on to something bigger and better, where your contributions are valued the way they should be.

And I second what Kitten above said about validation.

Debbi McNeer said...

I didn't even see Kitten's comment until I was notified of yours, Gingerzingi. Thanks to you both for the support and kind words. Some of us who were disappointed with the outcome have started a PAC – Progressive Organized Women. We're on Facebook, not yet on the web. Lots of interest so far and we haven't really promoted it yet. Onward. Upward. Forward.

In the process of removing my digital fingerprints from WVFDW. Not an easy task ... I really did handle a lot of online tasks. Oh, well. I learned, and they will, too.

Love you ALL!

gingerzingi said...

POW! heh heh