The morning started off bright and early with a Southeast Regional Meeting, at which attendance, was, well, let's just say there were some busy snooze buttons. Our local Stonewall Caucus chair Kyle Bailey diligently took minutes -- and I'll try to get a copy -- but it was a pretty brief meeting not replete with content, and after spending most of my weekend with the Northeast contingent, I started to become jealous of the sense of connectivity and unity I got from them. I'm not speaking for YDAtl as a whole or even the executive board, here, but I personally wouldn't know an Alabama Young Dem if they walked up and hit me with Robert's Rules of Order, and I haven't really felt like an integral part of YDG at the state level since the Convention in Savannah. I'm glad I went to this national meeting, because I'm really proud of the things that YDAtl has done and I got the opportunity to share our success with others; I think we need to put some effort into doing that collectively right here in our very Red neighborhood. (Perhaps that's why the Northeast Region is so tight: many of their states are all so tiny and so blue.)
Since the regional meeting broke up pretty quick, I managed to catch the tail end of the DNC People of Faith Organizing Session, where Jewish leaders were taking Chairman Dean to task for letting the council go ahead with publication of some faith strategy memorandum without the full version -- i.e., the version really addressing the Jewish community -- being ready, so the "ready to go now" version was kind of a gaffe. At least they were able to pass out some booklets from 2004 in which the Interfaith Alliance put together some comprehensive tips about speaking to faith issues and voting from several perspectives: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist. (As a Catholic, I have to gripe that there was no specifically Catholic homily included in the addendum of sermons. No Catholics, and they let the Unitarians in? Jeez! :-P) (You see, inclusivity is hard.)
The DNC General Session kicked off at 9:00, and I tried, oh how desperately did I try, to get Howard Dean to shout a quick sound bite at my microphone for the YDAtl Podcast. Unfortunately, I was thwarted by a piece of cake, his on-the-run breakfast as his two bodymen shuttled him into the room. (A garbled recording of "I have to have something to drink first" through a mouthful of bundt just isn't good radio.) If you want to know more about the General Session, go read the Party's blog, I was too buy writing the last blog entry. I do have to say, though, that I'm generally uncomfortable with slogans that they make us chant like some kind of zombified cult. Remember the DNC Convention in 2004? "Help is on the way," over and over and over again? This weekend it was, "Together, America can do better!" I'm sure we can, but we'd probably do even better than that if we did it and left out the far right, in my humble opinion.
After our luncheon, which was addressed by Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ 7), there was more training -- and I'm actually not going to say too much about it here, because there will be a more detailed discussion of it later. First up was a workshop on DEMopolis, which is a new online system YDA
Next up was a seminar on the The Chapter Revolution, the 2006 in 2006 initiative, and the Alliance Campaign. YDA, as a 527, can raise truckloads of money, and we can ask for it. The Alliance Campaign will solicit proposals from local and state chapters that have a candidate and an agenda to win back blue seats, and then fund the bejeezus out of 5 or 6 of them, to put paid coordinators and staff on the ground. 2006 (actually 2000 and 6) in 2006 initiative seeks to have 2000 YDA chapters by the end of 2006 (there's somewhere around 1300-1500 right now; they're still cleaning up the database), and to get as many chapters as possible to accomplish 6 specific goals from a list of actions they've provided. Lucky for YDAtl, we're already doing a couple of them, and are planning a couple more. Chapters that achieve the 6 (or more) become eligible for extra assistance from national, in the form of on-site training, literature, and schwag to sprinkle amongst the peoples. There's also the Dollars for Young Democrats (D4YD) plan to help chapters like ours develop a sustainable donor base. Add DEMopolis to all this financial and training assistance, and we will soon be Revolutionized! Giddyup. I'm excited, too. Viva la revolucion!
That's really all I've got. You don't need to hear about the General Session; people were appointed, reports were reviewed, and frankly, I snuck out early to grab dinner with the Jewish Caucus.
You know you want to come to the next national meeting, now, don't you?