Energized for the work ahead
This was my first year at Netroots Nation. I was one of the Netroots Nation staff photographers, and feel very privileged to be included in such a talented group. My first experience with Netroots might have been quite different if I had just bought a ticket and gone. I tend to be a little shy in those kinds of settings. I would have gone to the talks that interested me, hung with people I knew and maybe spent more time on my computer than I needed to. I would have had a great experience, but being a staff photographer enabled me to experience it in a unique way and it has inspired me to write this as a prologue to my clearer voice, my photographs.
When I was much younger and starting to pay more attention to politics, I remember having a conversation with my mother about the difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Her definition has stuck with me all these years and I think it is even more true today than it was back then. She described the Republican Party as a corporation with a CEO and the Democratic Party as a committee with sub-committees.
The there’s no need to elaborate on the description of the Republican Party, but I have given a lot of thought to the description of the Democratic Party. The idea of committees and subcommittees makes me wince a bit. If you’ve been on a committee you know why I say that. Making decisions in groups can often be slow and frustrating, however, the exchange of thoughts and ideas that bring about those decisions is what makes me proud to be a part of this Party. If you give people a say, it empowers them to develop a stake in the future and to create initiatives and ideas to further the cause.
My experience as a staff photographer landed me in so many rooms with so many people discussing ideas and sharing information that I would have never heard had it not been for my position. It felt like being in a crowed restaurant but, instead of listening closely to the person I was with, I moved about the restaurant and listened to the conversations around me. You begin to understand that what is around you is not background noise, but a group of unique individuals. Smart, passionate and driven individuals, the people that push the Democratic Party further. Not a party where one decides for many, but a party where many are one.
I move forward a little less worried about the money and our lack of a clear message ans rather encouraged by the strength of our individuals. I’m not saying this next election is going to be easy, but I feel a renewed sense of hope built from the strength and passion of the individuals that I met and listened to, the individuals that make me proud to be a Democrat.
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