Day 2: Drama, Drama, Drama

This might be a long one.

The day of the NDP SCC June meeting started, for me, with being slightly late! Our cabin neighbor asked that I pick up a few items on my way to the meeting location (Chadron High). ‘Sure, I’m fully capable of doing tasks!’ What I didn’t plan for was the long line of small-town folks taking their small-town time on a Saturday morning to just stand in line and talk to each other. So…I got a little more stressful start to the day than I anticipated.

Did I mention the sun woke me up at five in the gawdamn morning? The ‘cabin’ didn’t have blackout curtains so I woke up with the sun. At five in the morning. The meeting didn’t even start until eight! Ugh. But our cabin neighbors had coffee, so that helped.

The Nebraska Democratic Party is broken up into Affiliated Caucus Organization or ACO’s as part of it’s overall structure I mentioned in my previous post. There’s (currently) the Veterans & Military Families, Working Families, Black, Latino, Native American, Catholic, Womens, LGBT, Nebraskans Experiencing Disabilities, Young Democrats, and the newly formed Climate caucus (if I missed a caucus, I’m sorry!!!). All of these caucuses have chairs who lead the caucus and have a seat on the Executive Committee that helps the party do stuff…or something. I’m not on the Executive Committee and, come to think of it, never bothered to ask what the hell it does. It’s there though, doing it’s thing. Anyway, that’s all kinda beside the point…

I got to my VMFC caucus later than I planned, I kinda have to be there as I’m both the treasurer and the secretary. It was a pretty pleasant experience for us, we had state Senator Tom Brewer as our guest speaker. Why Tom Brewer, a REPUBLICAN, as our guest speaker? He’s the Senator for district 43, which happens to be where Chadron is (it’s also the largest district in the state)! He’s also a retired Army Colonel. If you’ve ever heard an Army Colonel, or any O-6, speak, you know exactly how Sen. Brewer speaks. So, we had a nice conversation with him and I learned a great deal about what a freshman Senator faces and his experience in helping to shut down the Whiteclay beer stores. Which was good.

The big drama for the morning turned out to be more of a shimmy and shake. The Latino caucus was having some…issues. This bit requires some historical context; every two years the Party has elections for the various volunteer positions I mentioned in my previous blog (this is when I got elected!). One of these elections was for Chair of the Latino caucus. Now, I didn’t attend that meeting last summer but it was such a controversial affair that not only did the person who was elected as Chair resign a week later, it even got a whole paragraph in the Omaha World Herald about it! You can hear first and second-hand accounts from lots of people who are still in the Party about it too, if you ask.

Anyway, that happened last year. This year, a proposal was brought forth which said, essentially, the Current chair (who took over after last years elected chair resigned and also happens to be the person who lost) needs to resign because they appointed the current Vice Chair (who is also the person who won last summer and resigned a week later) without an election and has been ignoring the rules! It was even typed up in a similar fashion to that of a legal document that you’d use to sue someone. That’s all their business. I already got yelled at for being a white guy and it’s all my fault that the kerfuffle that occurred last year occurred at all, even though I wasn’t in the room and didn’t do any voting. Interestingly enough, it was by the same person who brought this document to their meeting a few days ago. I have also heard that this same person has been torn a new asshole by various members of the Latino community for the past year.

Anyway, that shit got shutdown. I was too busy taking notes in my caucus to attend and witness it first hand.

I next went to the Working Families caucus, where Lisa is also the treasurer! She and the Secretary had to run the show because the chair and vice-chair were unable to attend. It was a nice meeting. There seems to be a either no line or a fine line delineating the separation between ‘working family’ and ‘labor union.’ Don’t get me wrong, I love unions and think they should be stronger, but come on, are you the ‘labor union caucus’ or the ‘working families caucus?’ Do you support low-wage workers or are you just supporting union members? What’s the deal yo? That’s just a general question, no one feel the need to send an angry message to me about what I do and don’t know. It’s my blog and it’s just thought vomit.

Then Lisa and I ate breakfast and caught the tail-end of the Jane Kleeb’s round-table discussion. Jane wants to be paid, somehow, for the work she’s been doing around the state as the Chair of the Party. A lot of us newbies agree. She works her ass off all over this big state and does it on a volunteer basis because we elected her. She’s giving interviews, speaking at rallies and protests and working to not just get good people elected but finding and helping people who want to get elected. Also a little bit about the lack of booth at the Nebraska State Fair which the previous chair decided was ‘unneeded.’ Which, personally, I thought was bullshit. That’s just saying, ‘well…we’re not going to win so why bother trying.’ Long story short, Jane and her team are working on getting a booth this year but we’re on a waiting list.

Back to the paying thing though, there’s no numbers yet or specifics on how much but a lot of people agree that a working Chair should have some sort of compensation. Oh, and no, it’s not going to ‘bankrupt’ the damn party. We’ve got over 1,800 sustaining members (people who give the party money on a monthly basis) compared to the 400 or so a year ago. Those numbers are probably way off, but, as I understand it, we’ve got a lot more people paying in now than we did in the past.

After that was the Congressional District 2 meeting (conveniently in the same room). That’s sort of another caucus. There’s a lot of them. It’s there that I was elected as the alternate delegate to the State Central Committee for my legislative district! Yes, dear citizen, you have people who are expected to represent your interests in the party who are elected to those positions. Who says we’re not a party of the people? (Don’t even comment on that!) Also, remember what I said about Congress on training wheels?

We then went out to lunch. Which was Arby’s because I was too dumb to spend money on the lunch that was being served at the High School. I won’t make that mistake again though because the person who controls that has assured me that the food being served at these meetings isn’t going to suck like it did a year ago. Yeah, I said it, the lunch at the convention sucked and I totally regretted buying it.

More to come…

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