By: B. W. Ellis
The Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this July is a wonderful opportunity for many things. It’s a place to meet others of like mind and to convince still more of a different perspective to alter their positions through conversation and debate, argument and resolution.
In that vein the delegates we choose must carry within their minds a core set of skills and attributes that will further that cause, that will win over the hearts and minds of the people they encounter.
What qualifies the people who go to these events? What makes them worthy of the rare opportunity to challenge the ideas of the powerful in the Democratic Party?
Does marching in a protest qualify a person to become a delegate? Not really. That is more about the passion and less about the substance.
Does operating a phone bank and organizing volunteers count as valued experience when discussing matters of policy and justice to a group of seasoned politicians? Not in any meaningful way.
So the question becomes, are the people most visible, most popular, and most accomplished at being the best Bernie supporters qualified to be the delegates to argue on the candidate’s behalf?
If we treat this selection process for the delegate seats the same way we treat a normal job interview we must say that attributes like popularity, passion, or even a proven track record for volunteerism are not traits that will fill this all important position well.
No, we need a group of representatives that are able to articulate with eloquence the power and truth of our message. We need voices that speak truth to stupid with consideration and patience. We need people who are listening to their ideological opponents with the intent of responding, not simply waiting for their turn to speak.
We need representatives who can not only stand for the candidate but can also speak with sufficient knowledge and rational logic to sway professional politicians who hear arguments day in and day out.
Please consider that the popularity of a delegate is not a viable reason for voting for them, that screaming into a megaphone at a rally does not grant a person with the words needed in the hushed conversations that will be taking place in the halls of power this summer.
Find people that can express with the strength of verve and clarity of thought and intent the ideas that are the backbone of our revolution. Simply being a cheerleader for the candidate is not enough, having the most buttons or stickers or t-shirts with the candidate’s logo is not enough.
Being a dedicated follower without the ability to defend the ideas you are so dedicated to makes you a great supporter, but not a great delegate.
Some may say that I am moving the goal posts, that I am inventing the measure of a successful delegate to favor a select group of people with a particular skill set. I submit to you that such a determination has already been made, and that to ignore such an important requirement is to sacrifice any and all opportunity for advancing our candidate and our ideas.
If you cannot make the case, if you are great at supporting but bad at articulating, if you cannot take advantage of that crucial split second of access to a super delegate or party elder, then no matter how much you may deserve to go it would be better for the candidate if you helped others who can.
We must remember that this is not about an individual, but about a country in dire need of true representation. It is about “we” not “me”.