Susan Wood of Aberdeen is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. A graduate student in the School of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University, she will write each day of her experiences.
The Maryland Delegation to the 1992 Democratic National Convention began their trek to New York with a big bang. Unfortunately, the big bang was just the bus suffering a flat tire.
The Maryland Delegation's first stop en route to the Big Apple turned out to be alongside I-95 to fix it. (Maybe we should ask Perot to just fix it.)
It could have been an omen, but the first big bang turned into a even bigger one. The delegates, alternates, elected officials and volunteers streamed out of the bus and used the opportunity to introduce themselves and begin what was unanimously agreed to be the most important issue of the convention: Democratic Party unity.
If the Democrats unite, we believe the election is ours to lose. But uniting the party in the past has not been easy.
When the new bus came, the delegation had already begun the unification process. Kurt Anderson, a Maryland House of Delegates representative, assumed the role of master of ceremonies and for the next hour and a half we each took turns at the microphone and talked about our expectations of the convention.
We are people from different walks of life. Some are black, some are white, some straight, some gay, some men, some women, some Clinton delegates, some Tsongas delegates. In essence we are Democrats, each with a different specialization but uniting for a bigger cause, the resurrection of our country and bringing back greatness to America.
As for the Tsongas delegates, of which I am proudly one, we have given Clinton a cool reception since Tsongas' suspension of his campaign in March. We considered the Tsongas victory in Maryland the high-water mark of his candidacy.
We also don't consider his candidacy wasted, but it will be my goal along with the rest of the Tsongas delegation to ensure Paul's message is well-entrenched in the Democratic platform. When Tsongas suspended, not many of us had been convinced to support Clinton actively but would vote for the Democratic Party. But while we're still "Tsongas Delegates," we're uniting as in an effort to make a change in the White House.
The selection of Al Gore as vice presidential running mate has made a positive impact on me and the rest of the die-hard Tsongas supporters -- we wished the ticket was reversed. He fills gaps in environmental and foreign policy areas and in many ways legitimizes the ticket.
The next few days should be eventful for me, the Tsongas delegation and the Democratic party. I would be supporting the causes of Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and will participate in a caucus on health care reform.
I believe the convention will solidify the Tsongas delegation support of the Clinton/Gore ticket. I believe the party as a whole is heading toward the unification that is required to put a Democrat back in the White House next January.
But for now, we're off to a reception. This convention isn't all work, you know.