By Edith Morgan
The Democratic Issues Conference was held Saturday, in Springfield, on September 19, on a mild but dry and eventually beautiful day.
Massachusetts Democrats met at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield to reaffirm their values, touch bases with members throughout the State, get some training, and hear from one another how things were going everywhere, and to lay plans for the future.
I attended this conference as an elected delegate from Worcester Ward 3 – a conference that I have attended many times I the past, and which always gives me some interesting insights and renews my knowledge about the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
Of course, on display outside the Center were the usual signholders, touting their candidates, as well as collectors of signatures for various causes, and distributors of pamphlets about a variety of ideas, from pleas for humane treatment of chickens and other food animals to analyses of the contrast between capitalism and democratic socialism , and the inevitable pleas to end “Citizens United”, with large signs reminding Democrats that..” corporations are not people”, and that” Money is not speech.”
Once inside the spacious Center, we received our credentials, which identified us by name, and also gave us the section were assigned to .. once the convention began.
In the free time left over before the beginning of the formal part of the day, we visited the exhibit hall where rows upon rows of tables displayed materials and information about all the candidates, the organizations working toward democratic goals, or supporting various candidates, manned tables full of literature, buttons, pencils, as well as fee candies, stickers, and various other mementoes pushing their particular ideas. I have a drawer-full of pins, pencils, stickers, etc.. I have collected over the years, so I went around, and picked up various mementoes and flyers from groups that I support, signed my name onto athose mailing lists whose information I wanted to pursue further, and dropped everything I got into a very sturdy bag which was given to each of us free…
Once were all assembled in the great hall, and the usual opening ceremonies were completed, there began a series of speakers. I haven’t space enough to summarize what they all said, but all reiterated in one way or another what Democratic goals and achievements were. (The party platform had been sent to all the delegates by mail several days before, and I had refreshed my memory about the particular during the week.
For me the highlights were the appearance of Senator Elizabeth Warren, who brought us all to our feet, and fired up the assembled thousands for the job ahead.; and the speech by one of my favorite Democrats, Howard Dean, who outlined his reasons for working in support of Hilary Clinton. Supporters of Bernie Sanders and O’Malley also gave impassioned representations on behalf of their candidates.
After the formal speeches and awards were completed, five resolutions were passed unanimously (the texts had been passed out among us earlier. And then we proceeded to the “Breakout sessions”, eleven educational 45-minute presentations designed to give delegates facts, techniques, ideas for better getting their message out to the public. and then we all drove home hopefully better informed and fired up to be ful participants in the democratic process.