Blogging from DC Day 2
It snowed about 6 inches and another 5 are on the way. I'm cold!
Before I get down to the good stuff I want to address those annoying rabid non-smokers who see fit to bitch about cigarette smoke even when the smoking is occurring out of doors. While walking over to David Clarke School of Law at UDC I met up with three or four other people walking there as well.
I smoke cigarettes. I was walking behind this group of people so as not to get any smoke on them as is polite to do. We were chatting away. Then one of the girls in the group drops back from the rest and says to me "Are you almost done with that cigarette?" I looked at my cig and as it was only about half smoked and cigarettes are close to six dollars a pack here I said "No..why?" and she responded that is was bothering her.
I was like...."I was walking behind you so no smoke got anywhere near you so you could not possibly be bothered by it...besides we are OUTSIDE."
Anyway that totally pissed me off. I understand people do not like to be trapped in a room where there is cigarette smoke. Even I, a smoker, do not like to be in a closed room with smoke. I don't smoke in my own house.
But this was OUTSIDE and therefore there was no reason to bitch, especially when an effort was made to stay behind the pack and not accidentally blow smoke on anyone.
Don't be an anti-smoking nazi. They are seriously irritating.
Now, on to business.
The PDA Conference is going very well. Today’s panel guests included
U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr.
"Building A More Perfect Union"
Challenges and Opportunities for Progressive Democrats in 2005
Moderator: Steve Cobble, Policy Advisor, Progressive Democrats of America
Jim Zogby, founder, Arab American Institute
Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange, CODEPINK
* U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr.
* U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich
Hillary Shelton, NAACP, DC
Kim Gandy, National Organization for Women (NOW)
Panel on the Media:
Communicating a Progressive Message to the American Public Through the Media
Moderator: Mimi Kennedy, Progressive Democrats of America, Actor
Will Rivers Pitt, Journalist, TruthOut.org
Jeff Cohen, Founder of FAIR
Amy Goodman, Host and Executive Producer, Democracy Now
Liz Herbert, Rapid Response Network
Leila McDowell, Media Consultant
Panel on Building the Movement:
Building the Progressive Movement Inside and Outside the Democratic Party
Tim Carpenter, Executive Director, PDA
Acie Byrd, National Field Team, PDA
Dr. Roger Mitchell, Jr. ("Doc"), Hip-Hop Summit Action Network
Jodie Evans, Co-Founder CODEPINK
Butch Wing, Political Director, Rainbow/Push Coalition
Tom Hughes, Political Director, Democracy for America
Leslie Cagan , Director, United for Peace and Justice
Gloria Totten, Director, Progressive Majority
Panel on Unifying the Movement:
Organizing the Rainbow and Unifying the Movement
Moderator: Adrienne Brown, League of Pissed-off Voters
Ralph Miller, Latinos for America
Donald Whitehead, National Coalition for the Homeless
Bruce Taub, Executive Board Member, PDA
John Grant, Veterans for Peace
Panel on Spiritual Communities:
Organizing the Spiritual Community to Heal a Divided Nation
Moderator: Damu Smith, Founder and Co-Chair, Black Voices for Peace
Rev. Lennox Yearwood, PDA, Hip Hop Caucus
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Shalom Center
Rev. Dr. Carolyn Boyd
Now, I sat and listened to these panels all day talk about things like racial profiling, overcrowded prisons, the disproportionate number of minorities and poor people in prison, disenfranchisement, loss of voting rights, marginilization and the war in Iraq.
And they all had great points and ideas. But not one time did the words “DRUG POLICY REFORM” ever come up. Not one time was it ever uttered that drug policy in this country is responsible in large part for the problems mentioned above with the exception of Iraq.
When the floor was finally opened for questions I “SPRANG” from my seat to claim second in line. If you have never seen a big Alabama girl intent on being heard spring up from a chair like that then my friends you have not lived.
When it was my turn to ask a question I said;
“Hello I am Loretta Nall, founder and President of the US Marijuana Party, the Alabama Marijuana Party and anchor for internet based Pot TV News. I have sat and listened to all of your great ideas today about solving the problems we have in this country. You have talked about racial profiling, overcrowded prisons, the disproportionate number of minorities and poor people in prison, disenfranchisement, loss of voting rights, marginalization and the Iraq War. I want to tell you that there is a war going on right here in the US under the guise of the drug war that is causing many of the problems we face as a nation. The very people the Democratic Party claims to represent are the ones who are most at risk under current US drug policy.
Where is the Democratic Party on the issue of Drug Policy Reform? Why do you never address this issue? The Democratic party must include drug policy reform in its platform if we are to ever see any real change.”
The audience responded very positively to my questions and issues. Some of the panel members, including a Doctor from Washington U Hospital who works with the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, were excited as well. However, the moderator said,
“That was a statement and not a question.”
No one on the panel addressed the questions.
So I guess that is the Democratic Party’s response to Drug Policy Reform, which is a non-response, which is the usual.
CSPAN was taping all day long so my question should be played on there at some point in the future. While many of you may be bored to tears by CSPAN and wouldn’t bat an eyelash at being on there…. I find the possibility THRILLING. So I’m easily amused…so what?
As I was making my way back to my seat many people swarmed me and exchanged information. Most were very excited to finally hear the issue raised and all agreed that some dramatic changes must be made.
Hope springs eternal.
Now, after all I just said I would like to announce that I have decided to seek the democratic nomination for Gov. of Alabama in the 06’ election.
In my networking here I have met the South Central Regional co-coordinators for the PDA. Stan Merriman and Sheril Smith from Texas. We have been discussing the best way for me to go about seeking the nomination. They have given me paperwork and names and numbers of the people in Alabama that are vital to this project and lots of other pointers and suggestions.
I am seeking the dem nomination because I am serious about being Governor of Alabama or, at the very least, scaring the absolute hell out of the current establishment in my beloved home state. Here is the real kicker though.
Roy Moore The Ten Commandments Judge, could be my Republican opponent in the Governor’s election.
Can you imagine?
A pot smoking, freedom-loving atheist running against a right wing, evangelical, thinks he was appointed by God, freedom-hating prohibitionist wacko.
I’ll come off looking like a genius up against that guy.
That will be the most polarized election since Wallace, possibly the most watched ever and definitely the most entertaining. I’ll win by a landslide. Me….I can’t wait til 2006. There is lots of work to be done though.
As I made my way out to the lobby Paul from Poker Face spotted me and invited me back to the bands room.
It was great to finally meet the guys in person. Hugs were exchanged and pictures were taken. Then we decided to go out to their bus for a bit of refreshment. We shared a couple of nice fat joints and some rips of nitrous oxide and talked politics in between the nitrous hits when our heads weren’t going wah…wah…wah…wah…wah….you know what I’m talking about.
These guys are very politically savvy and serious activists. I am glad to know them and encourage all of you to check out their website and support them so that they can continue to travel and spread the word through their music.
I sat in the van and reflected on how enriched my life as become since I joined the fight for drug policy reform. Some of the very best people on earth are the ones in this fight. I consider it a high honor to be in this great city with some of the greatest minds in America fighting for social justice.
I do not despair tonight. I drew my line firmly in the sand today. I raised our issue before many important people. That’s a start. The audience response is an indicator that all the Democrats really need to pick up this issue is a little more pushing from regular Americans like YOU!!
We must infiltrate the DEMOCRATS!
On my way back to the hotel I got lost (sort of) in the subway. I was in the right place but couldn’t figure out which escalator to take to get to the shopping mall located under my hotel. Some of the subway stations are quite large and can be daunting to a country girl like me after a long day. Anyway, I must have had that “lost little girl” look on my face because an older Irish gentleman asked me if I was having trouble. I told him that I was and he said he was lost as well but knew which way I needed to go and pointed me in that direction. Before I could thank him he said, “Can I ask you something?”
“Of course you can.”
“Would you like to come to and Irish Pub in Chinatown with me for a beer and an Irish dinner?”
I was both flattered and a little taken aback by his request. This gentleman had to be in his late 60’s, a lovely genuine Irish accent, which I guess, is the first real one I have ever heard in person, and he was just as earnest and sincere as he could be. If he had said “Noothin” like Bono does in the live version of “One” then I would have been no way I could have refused. But he didn’t, so I politely declined his offer and thanked him for his help. I handed him a business card and he let out a deep chuckle.
It was a sweet ending to a great day.
I’ll see y’all tomorrow.