As I said yesterday, my primary reason for going to the convention was to help my friend, Del. Lionell Spruill, Sr., get re-elected to the DNC. I had, in fact, planned to travel to Fairfax Friday afternoon in order to have some time to visit one of my oldest and dearest friends, go to the convention Saturday and then leave immediately afterward. A phone call earlier in the week caused me to change my plans.
The way it was explained to me was enticing: women leaders from around the state were going to be honored Saturday afternoon as a part of the festivities and I was to be one of them. (This was more than a bit amusing, by the way, given my lack of standing in circles here in Norfolk – a post for another day.) This was to be done in conjunction with the “Year of the Woman” keynote address, to be given by former Virginia first lady Anne Holton. Plus, a reception with DNC chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had been added to the Saturday evening events. So I changed my hotel reservation and added another night.
That was the bait.
We were supposed to gather in a designated area and then take our places behind the curtain on stage at around 12:45pm, with this particular part of the program starting around 1pm. We headed behind the curtain to find a several risers, on which we were to stand. I didn’t think much of it at first; after all, we weren’t supposed to be back there very long, right?
I don’t know who was speaking when we got back there – we couldn’t hear, because the speakers face the audience – but Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner were back there with us, so it was whomever spoke before them.
Behind the curtain we waited as Warner (not brief) and Webb (brief) spoke. A lot of us sat on the risers as we waited.One of the staff members brought us some (warm) bottled water. I had left the hall early and eaten my lunch before we had gathered, but a lot of the women had not. They were assured they would get their lunches afterward.
But then came the switch. We were informed that, instead of having former Gov. Tim Kaine introduce the keynote speaker, it would be the other way around. Anne Holton would introduce Kaine, who would provide the keynote address. And, oh, here are some “Women for Kaine” placards to waive.
I was not amused. In fact, I was insulted. Instead of the 80 so of us being honored, we were just background photo-op fodder – and in heels, no less.
However long Holton and Kaine spoke – and it felt like it was forever – we had to stand there.
Honestly, it was disrespectful to a fine group of women from all over the state to be subjected to that treatment. I don’t know who was responsible for this, but I think they owe us an apology.
(To make matters worse, as soon as the curtain dropped, the business of the convention started back up. We missed the part where it was proposed that the convention be reconvened, where Spruill and Tribbett withdrew and all of that. There simply was not time to get back to our seats. What I learned of the goings on came from folks who observed it.)
Yeah – this convention was a mess.