Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Women's Caucus at the DNC

I've had the most amazing day at the Democratic National Convention.  Each day you can put your name in a hat for a guest pass from the Wisconsin delegation, and today my name was selected!!!  Abdul is a delegate so there are some things he has to attend but he had the morning free so I could attend the women's caucus, while he watched Omar.  This was a great gift.
I arrived a few minutes early and was rewarded with seating in the 9th row on the center aisle.  This has been called the first "people's" democratic convention.  Funding has been through individual donations rather than large corporate sponsorships.  This has also meant that ordinary citizens can apply to attend the caucuses too.  I was happy to see that they had reserved 2 rows near the center front for those people.  How cool and fair is that?!
One thing that's different about this convention is that it is so incredibly diverse in its attendees.  You can be here in a business suit or totally get your freak on with tattoos, hundreds of political badges, colorful hair & hats... Anything goes!  There are people from every ethnicity and sexual orientation.  What a fun place to people watch!  Kathleen Falk, former Dane county county exec from WI was on one side of the aisle with her friends.  I was beside a TX ballroom dance instructor and her friends.




Ms Wheelchair from 2005 Juliette Rizzo

My first impression was that I was surrounded by elegance and intelligence.  So many fine women in the audience and an incredible list of speakers starting with Nancy Pelosi, and CNN's Donna Brazile. Ashley Judd made a quick appearance to say how important sex education and access to healthcare is, not only for us but for our children. Politico has a website Www.politico.com that does a good job of covering the list of speakers and covers up to the minute details if you want more.
Nancy Pelosi

Donna Brazile from CNN

Ashley Judd spoke for women's health issues

For just over 2 hours, we heard passionate women speak about real women's issues- healthcare, education, freedom of choice in reproductive needs, fair pay for employment, and heard personal reasons why these women support President Barack Obama.  There were cheers, applause, and hugs.
And then it was over and I met my husband and Omar.  He'd snuck into the caucus with Omar (who got guest credentials as a 7 year old- probably the youngest on record!) and they'd been cheering at the back of the room.  Apparently Omar likes cheering wildly for a room full of amazing women!
After lunch at a local restaurant, Abdul went to the small business caucus and Omar got us introduced to Ms wheelchair America and her crew, by trying to commandeer her electric wheelchair.  Never a dull moment with that kid.
Many of the people we met today were volunteers.  People from all over the nation answered the call.  They receive a pass to attend and some training but no lodging.  It's great that they show up in this heat to give direction, clean up messes, help in whatever capacity they are able.  The washroom attendant told me to have a good flight.  After we both laughed, she said she worked 6 days a week at the airport restrooms and was volunteering here on her only day off.  Bless them all!
There are also police officers from all over the USA.  They are stationed everywhere delegates go, even in our hotel.  They work 12 hour shifts in most cases.  They ride horses, motorcycles, bicycles and are on foot.  It's great to see such dedication and professionalism.  All of them tolerate Omar's high fives, hugs, or colorful comments.  A group from Chicago even posed for a photo with him.
This truly has been a people's convention. I'm enjoying every second and hoping for more as the week continues!

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