My overall emotional response from the Young Democrats of North Carolina convention is "Wow."
My intellectual response is "Other young Democrats have the same problems as I and if we work together, we can overcome the obstacles."
Why the two reactions? Why those particular reactions?
I met so many bright, intelligent young Americans intent on changing the world. Some, in fact, have already changed the world.
Take the newly election Vice-President of the Young Democrats of North Carolina, Ms. Melissa Price. She recently headed a committee that worked to force North Carolina's General Assembly to recognize a key legislative effort for young North Carolinians (Registration and Voting at One-Stop Sites(HB 91)). This bill will allow North Carolinians to register to vote and vote during the One-Stop voting sites. This is huge for young voters. Ms. Price has tons of experience and knowledge in organizing advocacy efforts as can be seen by the media and letter writing campaigns used to push the voting bill. She's written an "Advocacy Notebook" and is in the process of updating it and will send out to all YDNC groups.
Also look at Ms. Kara Hollingsworth, who was elected as the NCYD Committeewoman. She's married to an American soldier from Fort Bragg, NC and has two young children. Her husband has deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan, yet, she's made time to work with Young Democrats and family advocacy groups in Cumberland County. She's spoken at anti-war rallies and sat on panels with Ms. Elizabeth Edwards. She's worked with Mothers Opposing Bush and she served on the committee for a Young Democrats Day at the Legislature. My personal favorite of her accomplishments? She worked with the Chasing Cheney group during the 2004 election season. She chased Vice President Cheney to every campaign event and doubtlessly annoyed him to no end.
Both Ms. Price and Ms. Hollingsworth gave me a sympathetic ear and have given me many good ideas on how to organize Young Democrats in Onslow County. Ms. Hollingsworth even went so far as to adopt me as an "honorary" Cumberland County Young Democrat. I want to thank them for their hospitality and for letting me absorb some of their knowledge and especially for letting me "cry" on their shoulders.
The problems I have in Onslow County is a problem many young Democrats face. The "Old Guard" doesn't want to give way to new technologies and they don't want to allow leadership to fall upon the shoulders of young Democrats. During the last election season, the Onslow County Democratic Party was non-existent and, thus, didn't factor into the elections.
I will not allow that to happen this year, or next, or for any year that I live here.