The Dems Hit Eugene

Mary Conley

We've had a great weekend down here in Eugene with our fellow Democrats. It was a visceral reminder of what citizen action is all about and a big boost of faith in the belief that, working together, we can all change things. I agreed with Neel Pender's comments at today's lunch - there was a vibe in the joint that was undeniable. People (including my cynical self) got excited about getting out there on the streets for the cause. And it was amazing seeing all the young people there. I'd kind of lost faith that anyone under 40 cared about politics anymore.

Can it be? Can three days at a Hilton in meeting rooms really start to change things?

I'm beating other Blue Oregonians to their posts about this, and I look forward to reading other people's reactions. I wasn't a delegate, so others will have to post - or comment - about those experiences. I imagine the rooms were full of heated but good-hearted debate on what they could all agree is the Democratic Agenda. I congratulate all who had the dedication and patience to have duked it out in those rooms.

The speakers Friday night were all pretty inspiring. I'd never heard Peter DeFazio, Ron Wyden or Bill Bradbury speak before. They all had their own experience to speak from about the dragons they've been fighting. They were all people worth giving standing ovations to. Then, of course, came the rabble-rouser Howard Dean. People always say that he's great to hear live and he was. Since his "fall from grace" with the "arrrgghghghghghgh!" moment, he's developed a great sense of humor about it that took away any lingering traces of angst you might have had about him. And he made me want to fight the bad guys - as did they all.

But aside from the speakers and the workshops, the best part for me was lunch. And not just because it was the best hotel food I've had in awhile - but it gave me a chance to sit and talk to Democrats from all over the state. These people are devoted. They took the time out of the crazy schedules to drive to the Emerald City and bash out a platform together. They volunteered to be neighborhood leaders and activists. Whether their hair was grey or white or brown or fuschia, there were brains inside those heads and fire in their hearts. I try not to flash back to 2004, when I was once that optimistic. It's 2006 now and we're onto the other side's game.

I don't know if the national party has its act together like the Oregon party, but if they do, I'm going to banish my cynicism and chance one more big leap of faith that Good Will Win.

As Dean said at the end of his speech, Democrats believe in taking care of the least among us. At these times where things seem to be spinning so far out of our control (Iraq, Katrina, Wall Street, Diebold machines, gas prices, struggling families, etc., etc), I'm proud that the leader of our party had the guts and the heart to boil it down for us. Because when we're making the rounds of our neighborhoods, talking to strangers and facing what could be a lot of rejection, it's thoughts like Dean's and the faith of all those Dems I met this weekend that will help us keep knocking on the next door.

I have a feeling this might work.

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    What a nice post. Lots of people worked really hard on this, from organizing to working to produce a good platform. We had everyone from activists to candidates to elected Democrats there, and it was fun to see everybody. We made a mistake here and there, but most of the delegates recognized that we are humans, and were trying to do our best in a situation where lots of balls were in the air at the same time. The main thing, for me, is that most of the folks who attend felt good about the process, and felt good about getting busy and electing Democrats. After watching and visiting with people leaving the convention this afternoon, I think we all accomplished that.

    I want to thank our delegates, our visitors, the DPO muckey mucks, and especially our staff for making this a good weekend. It's fun spending a weekend with a hotel full of nice people who want to make things better.

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    I pretty much agree, and I'd add that one of my highlights was gained from listening and talking with you.

    I've been letting it all digest a bit, but I'll be adding my two hundred cents sometime today.

  • mconley (unverified)

    Thanks, guys. And right back at ya, Kevin. It was nice to put faces to some of the names I read here.

    I'll be having a similar experience later this week in Las Vegas at the YearlyKos convention. Who doesn't want to know what someone with the handle "hyperbolic pants explosion" looks like?

    I'll blog from the craps table at day's end for all my fellow Blue Oregonians if my computer behaves.

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