I am less than a month from attending the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC as a PLEO Delegate from Washington State. It is an elected position, one I worked hard to win, and I am honored to go. I believe I was elected for two reasons - 1) I have spent a great deal of time volunteering and serving in leadership positions for the party and 2) I knew many of those voting (or they knew me) and 3) I had never been as a delegate before.*
And while my husband may think me special, I know that in reality my story is like many others across the country - dedicated volunteers who work hard to build their communities, support great candidates, or have struggles in their lives that have made their voices one that the people in their state wanted to send to Charlotte so they could be heard.
Today one of my fellow delegates, Majid Al-Bahadli has been profiled by the Arab American Institute for the extraordinary path that brought him out of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, to American Citizenship, to being the 1st Iraqi-American Delegate in 2008, and now he is in our delegation again this year.
Majid Al-Bahadli's story is an extraordinary tale of determination, survival, and success. In the small way I've gotten to know him I've found him to be exceptionally kind and generous, and he is doing much to give back to our country. Majid is quoted as saying that he became politically active as an American because "A successful country cannot have a people with no voice. I no longer want to be in the shade and in a dark place. Why can't we all be involved? Why should you let others make decisions for us?"
The answer is we all can be involved, and it is easy to do so. Its primary time in Washington state, and only 17% of ballots have been mailed in so far. That's way too many people letting others decide for them...time to vote, folks!
* I have been to a DNC before, in 2000, when I worked as a member of the Finance team for the Los Angeles Host Committee. But that was a completely different experience - it was work! And required a suit and heels every day! So as a delegate I expect fewer fundraising breakfasts with the President and no running into celebrities in the hall but I think getting to represent WA at this event wins as far as "coolness."