I arrive in Charlotte in a pensive mood, remembering conventions of past — the energy, the excitement, the passion of being involved in the political process; that feeling you were part of something big; the attitude you could change the world; the view that the future was endless with opportunity and hope. As I said to a friend last night, I miss that passion.
Is it age? Weariness? Is the terrifying thought about how important this election is? Or is it the sadness at personal attacks, vicious assaults and harsh dialogue that seem to dominate the political debate? Unfortunately it is probably all three.
I have met a lot of people for who this Convention is a first. There is a group of young students from Michigan State who have that same gleam in their eye I once did talking to all of us with the exuberance I once had and they sure restored my energy. There is a nurse from Ann Arbor who talks about what health care has meant to the people she takes care of with so many stories that make you cry. There are the UAW members, who 4 years ago, like me, were plain scared about what was going to happen to the auto industry, and whether it would die. And I have spoken with a senior frightened that her Medicare wasn’t going to be there and would she have to make a decision between food and the doctor. She drove here with other friends and is sleeping in their car because they don’t have money and they are scared.
As I head for our delegation meeting this morning, more a seasoned veteran than a dewy-eyed beginner — but so aware of all that is at stake in November. I am committed to working for a more civil debate — I don’t like and will not attack other people. I can disagree on policy direction, and strongly do. What last week did for me was help others visualize the stark differences in policy choices and the direction that this country can choose to go.
I won’t let the woman I met who cried yesterday down. I am going to our Caucus now with the energy to help turn out all voters because of the stake they have in this election.