I put the last word of the headline in quotes because the root wood is “convene” from the Latin “convenere” meaning to come together, which unfortunately is not what we did today. About a month ago at our meeting the Democratic State Committee in its infinite wisdom voted to move to an all-virtual format due to fears of the coronavirus status and to virtue signal vis-a-vis Governor Baker about how safe and cautious we are. Never mind that we were already going to require both vaccines and masks (which IMO is redundant) AND provide a hybrid option so those not comfortable with a large gathering could still participate.
The program lasted from 10:00 AM until about 1:45 PM, consisting almost entirely of a succession of greetings and speeches. We first got national greetings from the DNC Chair and the Second Gentleman followed by local greetings from the Lowell legislative delegation and Congresswoman Trahan. (Lowell still got the honorary designation of host city and some of the speeches were delivered from the Tsongas Arena. I had offered to go down and help if needed since I live five minutes away and am plenty comfortable being out, but never heard back.) We then heard from our Democratic Constitutional officers, and no, none of them made any news regarding their political futures if anyone were wondering. This was followed by a succession of speakers tasked with presenting various topics addressed in the platform. Then we heard from announced candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Auditor and the program concluded with remarks from President Spilka and Speaker Mariano. You can watch the whole thing here if you are interested.
The business of this year’s convention was to adopt a platform as submitted by the Platform Committee and amended by the convention, ratify charter amendments favorably reported by the Charter Amendments Committee, and adopt one resolution which had been submitted. Those of us who were delegates had an opportunity over the last couple of weeks to vote on these matters electronically which also would have been the case had we met today in person. Delegates were informed via email that all proposed amendments to the charter and platform plus the proposed resolution were adopted and this was publicly announced today. The charter amendments mostly update language with an eye toward greater inclusivity, though in one case I raised a point of order that one proposal about state committee seats appeared to contradict both law and another part of the charter not proposed to be amended, but was told it could proceed.
The platform turned into a “Christmas tree” where everyone with the gumption to write their own language whether just wordsmithing or a pet proposal was able to put it to a vote. There was also a last minute effort which ultimately succeeded to lower the signature threshold for a proposed amendment. It had been 200 which was discussed by both the Rules Committee and the full DSC and already lower than previously, but proponents of some amendments claimed they did not have time and felt it was unfair. Honestly the rules were publicized in a timely fashion and some did manage to follow them so I resented what felt like an end run. I voted against any amendment submitted with the lower 133 signature threshold on principle. There was not room for discernment on these matters to speak of and I suspect most delegates signed and voted for these because they sound good. I’m glad the convention is not responsible for actually enacting legislation and I’m not sure how feasible or realistic it is to hold our elected officials to a platform crafted in this manner.
Next year, of course, we are back to nominating statewide officers and I really hope the entire process is back in person since doing contested caucuses virtually is a potential nightmare. I’m not solid on supporting anyone yet and the race is probably still in a holding pattern until Baker and Healey let the rest of us in on their plans.