Over the past two years, a sense of detachment from political and civic engagement has overtaken my being. During these times when strict ideologies in Congress motivate the virtual sabotage of government functions, my instincts drive me inward towards the gentle quietism of my Goddess-faith. Moreover, I’ve grown to describe my worldview as “conservative”, for I most cherish those two constants, family and faith, which have sustained humanity in a hostile world from distant prehistory. Hence, I agreed to accompany my partner, Monica, to a meeting of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) at the Hyatt Regency out of courtesy rather strong interest. Monica was attending to meet a long-time friend, Barbara (a.k.a. Babs). Having attended three Democratic National Conventions, Babs is the first and only Transgender person on the executive board of the DNC.
Initially, I did not expect to connect with the people attending the DNC meeting, yet I was moved by their friendliness, openness, and most of all, diversity. Upon arriving at the Hyatt at 10:30 am, Monica and I walked around to the various caucus meetings. I was charmed by the elegantly-dressed gentlemen and enamored by the the women representing loveliness from across the ethnic rainbow. The Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus, and the Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus were all in session, with Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. meeting and greeting people in the hallway. I chatted with several young activists from the College Democrats and the High School Democrats.
Around noon, we met up with Babs and her partner, Dorothy. Over lunch we chatted about various successes, from Babs updating party platform language to be Transgender-inclusive to Monica donating the Transgender pride flag to the Smithsonian. Babs, from Edison, NJ, is among the sweetest, most down-to-earth of my elders or sisters I’ve ever met. Perhaps, her outgoing, kind personality has been key to her success in political engagement. Dorothy also made a great impression on me. With nearly 20 years experience as co-owner of a business, she now works as an arbitar. Openly gender-queer, Dorothy is equally at ease presenting as either gender. This remarkable couple thus provided me a glimpse of the culture of inclusion and empowerment fostered by the current Democratic Party.
After lunch, we went to the main conference room for committee members and meeting attendees. All speakers urged Get-out-the-Vote efforts in the coming two months before midterm elections. Of particular interest to young voters was the website iwillvote.com with its voting-related dates and registration guidelines for each state. The role of diversity and inclusion in Get-out-the-Vote was apparent in calls for making voter registration forms available in Spanish. I found one speaker particularly inspirational, Georgia State Representative Stacey Abrams. She grew up on the gulf coast of Mississippi and shared a story about her father walking homeward in the rain after work. Her mother was driving along the highway to pick her dad up (a one-car family) to find he had given away his only coat to a homeless man. Her mom and dad later enrolled in Emory University to become Methodist ministers, bringing their children with them to Atlanta. Representative Abrams thus spoke of how her parent’s example of selfless service guides and inspires her. Though I cannot say I agreed with every idea or proposal brought up in the meeting, the optimism, friendliness, and dedication to public service apparent in the people won my heart.