Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Republican State Convention

Yes, I am a Republican and have been my entire life, even though my family members were mostly Democrats. I am pro-life and both fiscally and socially conservative. There are parts of the platform with which I don't agree, but they are few compared to those with which I do agree.

I do believe we need more miniorities in the party. Last year, I suggested that we begin to advertise our Ellis County party as "the party of President Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King." I didn't get far with that locally. I don't understand why making this statement is unacceptable, especially since the party was started in order to fight slavery.

Recently, I read the 2008 Democratic Party platform, which mentions Abraham Lincoln and his emphasis on establishing the trans-continental railroads. This mention of him, which is near the mention of President John F. Kennedy, infers he was a Democrat. That party uses President Lincoln and the Republican party doesn't! Strange to me.

The convention this past Friday and Saturday was interesting, especially to someone like me who loves technology. The party needs to move into this century and use more technology. I hope to see that happen.

What surprised me most was that the 2008 platform was not used as the basis for the 2010 platform, taking those planks and "red-lining" them (crossing through what is no longer important and adding new text in red ink). This would have allowed delegates and alternates to immediately compare now to 2008. Instead, the committee apparently started from scratch. This not only wasted lots of time, it created a lot of arguing during the general business meeting Saturday afternoon. Some people wanted to trash the entire 2010 platform and go back to the 2008. Had the 2008 been "red-lined," only the few areas of disagreement could have been addressed, rather than suggesting trashing the entire 2010 platform.

What also bothered me was that the amendments to the platform, which were submitted in writing, were not typed into a computer so they could be flashed on screens for all of us to read. With thousands of people in the room, some clapping, yelling, laughing, talking, etc., it was NOT easy to hear amendments as they were read.  It is difficult to vote for something when one doesn't accurately hear the content.

Regarding voting, I am hoping before the next convention, a remote voting system can be leased or borrowed so that we are NOT handwriting on slips of paper, which are then hand counted. When I taught in public school, I used remotes for almost all of my tests and the kids loved using them. A great advantage was that scoring was instantaneous.

If you've never used one of these systems, a screen at the front of the room lists choices (this screen is connected to a computer, sort of like viewing slides on a PowerPoint). With the infrared or radio frequency remote, you press your choice (A, B, C, D) while holding the remote toward the antenna at the front of the room. The choices are immediately calculated and the results shown on the screen next to the choices. There is a fail-safe function to determine that EVERYONE'S vote is counted. This is much superior to voting by yelling or for thousands of people to stand for either "yes" or "no," since the numbers cannot adequately and accurately be counted in less than 60 seconds.

When I taught, my students learned cumulative averaging by using the remotes. They could easily understand this concept and they learned how to do this for themselves. For voting at the convention, we don't need cumulative average. Instead, we do weighted scoring. Most of the remote systems can be programmed for this.

The weighted concept means if a county has 20 delegates at the convention, but only 10 are there, those 10 vote for the 20. This is important so that every Republican voter in the county is represented at the convention. I understand this and that, because of the cost of attending the convention, some delegates and alternates simply cannot be present.

Since cost is a major consideration, and to rent the Dallas Convention Center for a week for this most recent convention probably cost A LOT, wouldn't it be more efficient to use web conferencing and skyping that could go to each county? This would not leave out representatives who can't afford to attend a distant convention. Most of us from Ellis County paid only the $35 facility fee to attend last week. However, most delegates and alternates had to stay in hotels PLUS pay the fee. Apparently, the convention was paid for, but I still think we need to investigate using today's technology to reduce the cost to the individual and make the convention available to EVERY DELEGATE AND ALTERNATE IN EVERY COUNTY!

Yes, I know I am before my time. That has been my life! This will someday happen, but it takes people like me bringing up the subject to get it into the mainstream of possibilities.

The speeches were wonderful  - Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, etc. I especially enjoyed that from Attorney General Greg Abbot. We must win in November! I am absolutely against more and more socialism.

When it came to campaigning for immediate votes at the convention, it was distressing to see how many people can be swayed emotionally by the speechmakers, rather than voting with reasoning and logic. As one group of candidates finished their speeches, I told everyone around me that one of the people had the proven experience for the position but was not the "extremely talented orator" that another person was.

The orator won. Later in the day, that orator stopped all business in order to do a big ego trip for 15 or 20 minutes. I was glad to hear people around me, who had voted for the orator, say they wished they had voted for the experienced person. My comment was, "this is just the beginning."  People are still very much swayed by personality - even Republicans who constantly criticize the Democrats who voted for Obama because of his personality.

I believe God gave us brains in order to think smart and hearts in order to be kind and loving. Many will not agree with me, but I personally think this should be a 50-50 combination, which is my interpretation of words from Jesus Christ, "As a man thinketh in his heart........"

I am very glad I attended the convention Friday and Saturday. I especially applaud those Republicans, for instance, Michael, who attended Friday and Saturday, but also was there earlier in the week to observe what the various committees were discussing. Will I attend again? That remains to be seen. Time is more and more precious and I'm not sure if I want to spend 20 hours doing what could have taken 5.

But, that is just me - analytical, before my time, and wanting our great country to continue along the right path!

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