Independent ConventionAugust 19, 2008
As we watch with bated breath (or not), the proceedings leading to the Republican or Democratic Conventions, I paused to give thought to those Independents among us. Long perceived as a minority group with possible make-or-break power in any given presidential election, according to http://www.independentvoting.org/, Independents actually make up 40 percent of the electorate. Many point to the impact they had on the Obama campaign, saying they tipped the scales in his favor during the primaries, and others claim they helped push McCain to the forefront of the Republican candidates.
With so much power in our country at this time, it’s time for an Independent Convention. Why should Independents get away without having to give money to an event costing millions every four years; without reading, watching, or listening to a nauseating number of analysts predicting outcomes of each convention; without bragging rights for those few who actually get to be a delegate and think they have any control over the vote they actually cast?
My mind started spinning with all kinds of ideas and questions. What would the logo look like? What cities would be big enough to hold it? How long should it last? Who would get voting rights, what speakers would be chosen, what vice presidential candidates would be up for nomination, what spouse would be trotted out for inspection, who would make sure Roberts Rules would be followed, what communication disaster plan would be developed in case the media caught wind of a backroom deal, what hotels would be chosen for the delegates, what sponsors obtained to feed, transport and … entertain … the delegates? And oh no — WHO WOULD PRINT THE BADGES??
Gazing into the mirror, panic reflected in my eyes, I realized the solution was staring me in the face. Independent Convention, you fool! Simple answers really. The convention would be held in my favorite pub, chosen friends in attendance, speakers from those inspired to raise their glass, one person-one vote, no rules followed, and no disaster plans written — but a blog would be posted the next day (or maybe even a live blog during). Sponsors would be obtained from anyone willing to share the next round and no badges necessary. Are you an Independent? What would your convention look like?
In the meantime, one thing I hope everyone has in common — the desire to get out and vote. Don’t let any group sway you, and don’t think not voting is a vote against someone or everyone. For issues affecting women and girls, check out AAUW’s public policy pages on our website, and see what you can do to help advocate for the real need to educate oneself and get out to vote.