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Five Years Ago, One Of My Best Memories: 2004 DNC


2004 dncFive years ago this weekend, I was on a plane from Akron bound to Boston and the 2004 Democrat National Convention.

The Democrats where holding their convention in Boston, from July 26th through the 29th, and I was going to the convention after getting elected as a John Kerry Alternate Delegate from Ohio’s 17th Congressional District.

I still remember my speech to the caucus that won my election:

I stand before you as a small business man that doesn’t get the breaks that large corporations get, whose defending me?

I stand before you as one of the middle-class struggling to survive, whose defending me?

I stand before you as a middle age male who doesn’t get the breaks on his meds like those the pharmaceutical makers get, who is defending me?

I stand before you as an openly gay Viet Nam Era Vet who fought and defended this nation’s rights and freedoms, who is defending me?

I ask for your vote to represent you, to be a voice in defending all.

So there I was sitting on a plane with Congressman Jones, Ryan, Strickland and Kuncinich, along with other notables from the Ohio Delegation and State Government. My thought was,

…if this plane goes down I won’t make it to the obituaries, I’ll be somewhere in the classified section.

As a self proclaimed “child of the sixties” this event was one that brought me full circle. Full circle from Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and the “dream”; from Joan Baez, Flower Power and the Peace Corp; from Up With People, “I Like To Teach The World To Sing” and Free Love, to a somewhat tired middle-age man who almost had forgotten.

A midst the heighten security, armed guards on our buses, protesters outside the entrance way, I found the spark of that dying youthful flame.

Seeing, and being with, many of the leaders of this Nation along with the Democrat Party, hearing them in conversation at the morning breakfast or on the podium of the Convention Hall, standing shoulder to shoulder with other delegates knowing that all of us were leaving a mark on histories pages, re-kindled those embers of that dying flame until it was a fire re-born in the soul.

The night we heard the then Senator Barack Obama was an enchanted night. Iobama 2004 sat among the Ohio Delegation just rows from what has become a historic speech and a historic event, for here while other dreams were being full filled another dream was being born that night. A dream that 5 years later still keeps the flame burning bright in my spirit.

As the old gospel song proclaims, “The Circle Won’t Be Broken.”

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 07/25/2009 3:16 pm

    Tristan, I had a comment written containing a request,with a full explanation for the request, then, without so much as a rumble of thunder outside, electric power was cut off. So, I am going to simply ask the question and then, if you want to know why I ask it, I shall reply. Have you ever heard of, or do you know who Wavy Gravy is, real name is Hugh Rommey? I’ll add, he is the founder of The Hog Farm.

  2. 07/25/2009 4:51 pm

    Mary, I’m afraid I don’t know who he is and I’ve never heard of the Hog Farm.

  3. 07/25/2009 9:49 pm

    Tristan, if interested, go to Keyword and type in the name Wavy Gravy. He even has an ice cream named for him. Just can’t remember the brand. Hey, I am nearing 90. You should have several choices of sites to choose from, but such people as Joan Biaz was acquainted with him. He had an active role in the Woodstock gathering in New York years ago. Seems he is also a poet, although I have not yet tried to get any of his work. I’ll get to that when I return from the family reunion in August. He is a truly intersting character. Back in December, 1968, while on his way to Binghamton, New Youk with his traveling troop of entertainers, he and his troop put the Carl Kaufman’s on the front pages of the Binghamton, N.Y. and Scranton, Pa. newspapers. He is a character worth reading about. He was,and is,an anti-war activist working for the rights of all people to live peaceably without fear of the rampant bigotry in this country. I think you’d like him. Mary from Meander With Me. When I get back from the reunion I am going to really try to get back to my blog site.

  4. 07/26/2009 9:57 am

    There is a documentary on Wavy Gravy called Saint Misbehavin’. There is another first time ever documentary about Up With People called SMILE ‘TIL IT HURTS. Both are being screened for Oscar consideration by the International Documentary Association in the IDA’s annual DocuWeeks program. SMILE ‘TIL IT HURTS screens in LA at the ArcLight Hollywood (July 31 to August 6) and in NYC at the IFC Center from August 7-13. The two films certainly compliment the decade, the ideologies, pop culture and beyond! You can read about them both at

  5. elecpencil permalink
    07/27/2009 11:55 pm

    Tristan ~ I am glad your spirit has a bright burning flame. As for my spirit it would like to take a flame and set those “Blue Dog Democrats” tails on fire. They are one mangy bunch who help to hold progress back.

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