As I read my last entry, about how I was going to live blog the Democratic National Convention, I kind of have to laugh. 16 hour days, a last minute venue change, organizing logistics, and of course trying to do everything in the world in half as much time as is needed to do it – well, let’s just say that sitting down to write and reflect wasn’t something I had the time or energy for, much to my sadness.
But here’s the thing. I did plan – in advance – to make the most of it. For me, that isn’t seeing how many important names I can link on Facebook page or how many celebrity sightings I can claim or even how many famous politicians I can get photos with. Because one of the things that bothers the hell out of me at these events is what’s called the *humblebrag.* Sentences like these, which seem to stage a hostile takeover of everyone’s conversations and thought processes for 4 days:
“Geez, I never knew how many major political power players knew my name until I came to the Convention. I can’t walk two steps down a hall without one of them stopping me to talk!”
“I didn’t think I’d even get into [insert super exclusive party here], but then I found out that they had added my name to the list automatically without my even realizing it!”
“It was so hard to miss the [insert super exclusive party here], but Nancy Pelosi did ask me personally to attend [insert other super exclusive party here], so I mean I really didn’t have a choice.”
I didn’t meet anyone famous at the DNC this past week in Charlotte. I didn’t get photos with anyone famous. I did get a few photos of Donna Brazile in the caucuses as well as the major speakers in the Arena. Donna was amazing, but I had no real desire to shove my way through a massive crowd of fans just to – I don’t know – touch her hand or something. Her words inspired me. Her message. Her passion. The way the crowd reacted to her, and the impact her words and message and passion had on them.
Know who I was happy to meet, and spend time with, at the Convention? Cameron. Olivia. Sam. Jessica. Some were friends from DC who I got to spend more time with and really get to know. Jessie showed us around her hometown, including her favorite hangouts. Sam and I bonded over GOP sour grapes and feminism. Cameron and Olivia were our fearless leaders on Team Digital Media Volunteers, and taught me so much about messaging, teamwork, and holding everything together with just four hands.
I remember traveling to Paris when I was studying abroad, and feeling like I should go see a lot of museums and famous things that you’re supposed to see. But I stopped myself just in time – just before I blew my whole weekend on what I should be doing instead of what I wanted to be doing. I haven’t regretted that decision even once since then. For anything. And I’ve kept that lesson in mind for each of these big events or conferences I’ve attended since then.
So it’s true. I attended almost no parties, delegation breakfasts, panel discussions, or anything else that I had originally thought I’d be excited about going to. Instead, I worked between 12 and 16 hours a day, bonded with those closest to me, and did my best to contribute what I could to make the 2012 Democratic National Convention the most open and accessible political convention in our nation’s history. And I loved every minute of it.
Those of us who work in these fields – in the public interest – know what it means to give everything you have to something you love and a cause you believe in. Even if just for a short while. Even if just every now and then. And so for a short while, for now, I will.
There’s approximately two months left before the 2012 elections, and as always, I feel called to be a part of it. This Tuesday, I’ll be traveling to Tampa to begin a position as the Deputy Digital Director for the Obama for America – Florida campaign. I expect it to be as so many other campaigns are – inspiring and challenging, exhilarating and exhausting . . . and completely worth it.
We have so much to do, and after being a part of this past week’s activities – seeing the messages of diversity and inclusivity and hope and compassion and everything that symbols a better, brighter future for America and the world – I’m ready.
I’ll try to update while on the campaign trail, although I know better now than to make such promises. In the meantime though, you can follow me on Twitter at @LeftStandingUp.
Oh right. One more thing. Are you registered to vote? Do it now. Share this website. Forward this link. Make it happen. (Yes, in case you were wondering, those are all the exact same link. Consider this your 5 of 7 times you need to hear a message before it sinks in. Oops – well, there are your other two. Win.)
Thanks to everyone working on a campaign right now, donating to a campaign, registering voters, or even just talking with friends and family about the importance of voting in this election.
Yes we can.