This lilly sat in front of the auditorium on the stage for the whole weekend of Green Party meetings. When it was over, the Fresno Greens handed them out as souvineers of the weekend. Of the three that were given to members of my carpool, this one survived the trip home the best.
The Statewide Green Party Meeting in Fresno had a very productive feel to it. We finalized for the next printing of the platform something like a dozen planks, we sorted out a bunch of representation issues, and we had a great party. Waking up the next day, I had trouble getting moving, having had one of those saturating experiences over the weekend. Allow me to share with you some of the strongest impressions the event left on me.
When the Association of State Green Parties had originally been constituted, they had defined representation as having two delegates per State. Last year they had gone to a more proportional system, which was two delegates per small State, and more on a per capita basis for big ones. This meant California got twelve seats, and we affirmed those additional delegates this weekend for two year terms. Somebody mentioned that of the 250,000 registered Greens in the USA, 150,000 of them are California Greens. I found myself wondering what the National Green Party meeting would look like if California had 60% of the seats instead of an eighth of them?
Sunday morning I found myself talking about this issue over breakfast with Jeanne Rosenmeier (Candidate for State Treasurer) and Fred Duperalt. She thought that every state had the same kind of per-capita representation in the State Assembly we have. Fred explained that Vermont (a much smaller state) has something like 500 seats, compared to our 80 or so. I explained that walking precincts in a suburban Virginia House of Delegates race, I had found out that it was easy to walk across the district in half a day. It is simply not possible to do that in Warners District (23rd District, the eastern half of San Jose), which is at least as densely populated with humans.
In Peter Camejo's speech on Saturday Evening, he talked a lot about the historic role of our Government in world affairs. He pointed out that in every colonial war of the past hundred years or more where we participated, the USA has never fought on the side of the peasants. First he talked about what happened in Venezuela, and then he asked us to consider Vietnam. There we helped the French, despite the fact that Vietnam had never invaded France. He also said that the US Military has long had the habit of responding to terrorism with genocide*, and that as a people we need to come to terms with what that means. He shook his head over how every statewide candidate in both the Republican and Democratic parties is a male Euro-American. Camejo thinks that our campaign is beginning to get some attention not because what we are doing is so great, but because Davis and Simon are so bad. He got many enthusiastic hands during the course of his talk.
In the lobby in front of the auditorium, there were a number of merchandise tables set up, and the main things being vended were Green Party T shirts. The East Bay Greens were selling green shirts with a Samuel Gompers (President of the American Federation of Labor in 1893) quote and union bugs on them. The Fresno Greens were selling organic cotton Fresno County Green Party shirts, which makes sense when you think about the fact that Fresno is in the heart of farm country. The Statewide Clearinghouse was selling tie dyed California made shirts with a Ralph Nader quote and a sunflower on them. Every one of these things gave people a good way to walk their talk, so to speak.
* To use the electrical analogy, that is way too much amplification. I remember a story my father told me that he had read about in something from the Texas Panhandle Historical Association. The story explained that the last recorded Indian raid in the Great Plains had happened not far from where he grew up. It had been nothing but a complete fraud, and the story was a hilarious read. A High School classmate who remembered the event had passed the article on to him. I never got a chance to tell Peter Camejo that story. Obviously, the experience in Venezuela Camejo remembers was different.
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Meanwhile, in downtown Palo Alto, this letter outside the Stanford Theater was the big news:
Reading it gives me that "we say goodbye too often this time of day" feeling.