by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s not as funny as “The Daily Show” segment on the party of tolerance, but the latest installment of Joel Stein‘s “Awesome Column” in TIME offers a humorous take on Democrats’ devotion to diversity. Stein documented his efforts to attend meetings of each of the Democratic Party’s 14 recognized caucuses at the recent Charlotte convention.
Looking for more of these types of insights only Democrats have access to, I went to a room in a modern-art museum to attend the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, where about 20 people who look nothing like one another and come from completely different countries agreed to be called Hispanic. But when the first speaker said everything in English and then repeated it in Spanish, I panicked. I was not going to get to meet 14 interest groups if they all pulled that. To improve my efficiency, I went to an art gallery for a seminar on “Updating the Black-Jewish Coalition,” which allowed me to cross off two groups at once. I joined a dozen people who spent an hour learning that blacks and Jews like each other very, very much, which I had thought had been clearly established in the dating world. Still, I was falling way behind. I missed the women’s caucus meeting with Ashley Judd. There were Irish, Italian and Turkish groups I would never meet.
Luckily, at noon, two groups met blessedly near each other. I showed up early to the ballroom at the Convention Center where the Senior Council was meeting. But regular early is not nearly early enough to beat senior citizens, so the room was already full to capacity. The audience for the nearby LGBT Caucus, however, was still trickling in. Its noon meeting started so late, in fact, that it wasn’t until 12:13 that the first speaker mentioned Lady Gaga and not until 12:14 that a speaker mentioned Lady Gaga’s mother.
I talked my way–very slowly and loudly–into the Senior Council. The attendees were discussing Social Security when Juliette Rizzo, who was Ms. Wheelchair America in 2005, saw my notebook and rolled over. Rizzo asked if I wanted to meet someone in the Disability Caucus. Of course I did. She called the DNC, and in minutes I was hooked up with Flo McAfee, the senior adviser for specialty media, who took me to the Specialty Media Lounge, where people who worked for gay publications, black magazines and, oddly, the Hollywood Reporter gathered to work.