Monday, May 01, 2006

What price a convention?

It appears to me that April ended with two big non-events for the Green Party. The first was the scheduled plenary in Ventura. The second was the protest event at the Democratic Convention in Sacramento.

There will probably never be agreement as to the reason that the Venture plenary was rescheduled. From the scant list of conflicting emails that I have seen, it would appear that there were real scheduling problems at the local level confounded by the fact that there was a small but highly vocal element of the Green Party that wanted to be at the Democratic Convention in Sacramento and Ventura is just too far away to do both. (hmm, that might have worked if we had been in Davis again.).

It is also very plain to see that there are some for whom there is no such thing as a conincidence. They believe that everythign that happens does so because that was what was intended.

Therefore, since one of the factors that led to the cancellation of the Venture Primary was the fact the key players, e.g. candidates, chose to be involved in the Democratic Party process rather than their own party's membership meeting, then that group of candidates has to accept at least some of the blame for this fiasco.

While there are some who believe that any publicity is good, as long as it causes people to remember your name, I don't really buy in to that when it comes to politics. But, even if I did, the demonstrations at the Democratic Convention were a failure when measured by the amount of media coverage that they received, at least in my area of the State, Silicon Valley.

I saw a < 10 second clip of Peter Camejo with a Green Party banner and some comment about the fact that some people staged a protest.

- I saw no coverage as to what the protest was about or why it happened.
- The San Jose Mercury News had not a single word about Camejo, the Green Party or the demonstration. In stead, they noted the following Sunday Morning:

PORN STARS, STUDENTS AT CAPITOL: When the Free Speech Coalition bumped up against the World Strides Educational Tour this week at the Capitol, it was an icky moment for the ages.

The educational tour included hundreds of fourth-graders. The free speech coalition included porn stars.

At one point, the coalition's legislative director, Kat Sunlove, had to ask one group of children to back away so she could get the news conference going.

The big fault here is that there was really one big story, the Angelides vx. Westley endorsement battle, and that dominated the news. Protests are at best a side show unless you can turn out over 10,000 people like the immigration protests.

But, even more important, this protest failed to produce any message about the issues that supposedly drove it.

Still, Cres Vellucci, our Press Secretary, asked me a truly pertinent question:
How much media exposure did any other Green garner this weekend, or even in the last month?
It is my personal opinion that it would have been good for the Green Party to have held our plenary, outside the perview of media coverage (which we would not have gotten). We would have had a time to come together, to hear the candidates who are in contensted state-wide elections and to start healing the wounds of past contests. Maybe we are not ready for that yet.


Dave English said...

Amen. A pathetic example of us losing focus to chase the dialogue created by the other parties. We must must must create and put forth our own dialogue, frame the debate in our own terms, less REACTIONism and more CREATIVE LEADERSHIP, which can only be organized at plenaries.

Wes said...

Welcome to the conversation, Dave. There are lot of things we need to change. For one, I want to change the mind set that says the only way you get things done is to protest. I think that we need to learn how to get things done through participating in governing. We are a long way from that in too many areas.