Saturday, May 08, 2004

confessions of an alternate delegate

I just spent the day at the King County Democratic Convention, listening to speeches and spending an agonizing 6 hours discussing the platform. (For those keeping score, there were 74 planks on the platform, divided into sections such as civil rights and foreign policy. We deliberated 12 of them--all the civil rights planks--added another 10 or 12, and finally approved the rest in one fell swoop as 5pm approached and we were nowhere near enough for a quorum.) My precinct delegate had called in AWOL, which is why I attended. There were 1015 delegates seated.

As well as hearing from Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, Jim McDermott and a host of others either running for something or stumping for someone else, we also heard from the two Dems running for governor: Ron Sims and Chris(tine) Gregoire. I paid attention here because I've been shamefully ignoring this backyard election. Gregoire gave the best speech, but that's pretty much the last point on which to pick your candidate. McDermott promises to continue sticking his neck out (or his foot in, depending on your point of view) and got standing applause.

I'd half expected to find myself being among the more conservative minds there, but alas no. We had vigorous fights over both reproductive rights and gay marriage. But overall I have to say that in almost every case when a question came up the more liberal view prevailed.

Shameless self-promotion: I singlehandedly saved the King County Democrats from accidentally advocating wholesale murder by doctor. During the course of amending a plank on medical assisted suicide, the plank was nearly passed as: "We believe in medically assisted death with dignity, with appropriate safeguards." I At one point it occurred to me to wonder if we really wanted to advocate our doctors and nurses gently assisting us into the next realm regardless of whether or not we asked for it. So I gathered up my spoonful of courage, went up to the mike and proposed adding the phrase "[We believe in] an individual's right to choose..." A murmur passed through the assembly as people appreciated the narrow escape (or perhaps they were just muttering, in unison, "Oh, god, another pedant!"). The motion was seconded and passed without argument.