Last night I attended a MeetUp for San Fernando Valley Grassroots Democrats. Now that I’ve gone to a few different meetings over this past month, my face is starting to be familiar to these folks, even if my voice is not. I saw familiar faces and, as I walked up to the table, the MeetUp organizer, ValleyDemActivist, hailed me. I introduced myself.
“You look familiar,” he said.
“I’ve been to a few meetings this month.”
“Right! And you’re the only member with your picture on the MeetUp site!”
I verified this was so and within minutes I was introduced to everyone at the table and quizzed about how I found out about the meeting. And thereafter a bit of idle chatter ensued as we waited for the leader of the meeting to arrive.
More people filed in, until approximately twenty people had showed up, which pleasantly surprised ValleyDemActivist (who is one of the major players in Valley activism). Soon tables were shifted to accommodate the additional people. The meeting leader (DemDelegate, whom I’ve seen at previous meetings and had met briefly) had still not arrived due to traffic snarls, but ValleyDemActivist – and, by extension, the rest of the group – was already aware of that, so the meeting was started with business that didn’t require DemDelegate’s presence.
After a time, whilst the gentleman next to me was going over an upcoming board election, DemDelegate arrived and soon after took the floor. His task? Talking about ways to get the Democratic Grassroots message out into the world at large. He had some excellent ideas, as did others, and I found myself jotting down notes and coming up with a few ideas myself, though I wasn’t yet ready to share them with the group at large.
However, after the meeting broke up, I approached DemDelegate to re-introduce myself and mention an idea I had come up with. Turns out he’d had a similar idea for the recent Turn Your Back On Bush protest, but it didn’t seem to gain any traction with the other grassroots folks. We talked for a bit more about, oddly enough, politics, then I gathered my belongings to leave. On the way out I was distracted by some pages he was holding up to show another meeting member, so I poked my head in and checked out the papers. The three of us spoke for a few minutes more, then off I went home, to arrive at my apartment by 10:30pm. Earlier than I anticipated.
It was all very interesting. Each time I go to one of these things I learn so many things about the grassroots activism process. I learn so much about, well, everything that I want to run home and research all I’ve discovered, whether it be about politicians or policies or procedure. Because I want to see what all is out there and to draw my own conclusions.
I’m still very much wading into the deep end of all of this, afraid that I’m a bad swimmer, just dog-paddling in place and on the verge of drowning. And yet, little by little my swimming is getting better, less panicked, and, much like when I actually learned how to swim when I was 21 (though I am still not a good swimmer), I’m finding the process rather enjoyable. Scary as hell and definitely outside of my comfort zone, but enjoyable nonetheless.
A fascinating road lies ahead. I can’t wait to graduate from the learner’s permit to the driver’s license. Because I’m in love with metaphors.
And I’m falling in love with the political activism.