Thursday, July 26th was a big night for OTDB and I would like to spend a few moments sharing what happened at the meeting. We met in a large meeting room filled with about 150 chairs, when 50 people showed up it proved the venue was a bit large. That being said, OTDB was represented by 8 people, by far the largest group in the room of 50. Truly what surprised me most was that no more than 15 actual young people were in the crowd. More than a 50% representation by OTDB was a surprising success. However, that being said, expansion will be quick and exciting. A little advertising, phone banking and spreading the word goes a long way. OTDB cannot wait to get started working with the Young Democrats on recruiting and winning elections. We all have the same goal in mind, registering new voters, educating voters, energizing voters, all these things will pave the way toward numerous Blue victories next November
Adults filled the night with lectures yet two young people outshined them all. Both Mike Keene (representing the South Chicago Young Democrats) and Magen Ryan of the Young Democrats impressed everyone in the room. Both had very interesting things to say and they both presented themselves very well. In addition to Mike and Magen there were a few highlights. There was much talk of a hypothetical "playbook" for Democrats and how to develop this playbook, that being said, there were never any specifics provided, maybe the venue was too large. We also discussed the impact of Pop Culture on the world of politics, again Mike and Magen shined by presenting very different views from the rest of the speakers. Both pointed out that Pop Culture is, in fact, what is POPular and therefore it would be a mistake to run an election without at least paying attention to what is popular. Harvey Wells of WCPT (listen now) presented a good point when he said that we need to flip around the fallacy that Liberals run the media while also paying attention to how to use the media to our advantage, truly the media defines pop culture, or maybe vice versa.
There was some time spent on a question and answer forum in which OTDB presented 2 of the 6 questions. Our questions were simple, yet left unanswered. First, "Is there any plan to expand the Young Democrats and if so, what is that plan?" Secondly, "Don't you think that this generation is ignored rather than apathetic?" While the questions were never answered both Mike and Magen displayed true passion on the subjects. The night went rather quickly and ended with the presentation of those who were there for election reasons and those who were organizers. All and all the meeting was a good first step, the OTDB Youth Action Board hopes to be included in the organizing of the next meeting with great ideas for expansion and further excitement. After the meeting our group agreed unanimously that the Young Democrats are a very determined group who have great ideas for the future of our county and country. Any worries you may have about us Young Democrats in general can be laid to rest. We will engage more young people than anyone can imagine, that I promise to you before November of 2008.
Be excited for the next generation, because if you are not, we will leave you in the dust. :)
Justin P. Heath