On Thursday, there was a woman who was doing a live video-stream from the convention floor, and in this video she accuses one of the Wisconsin Bernie whips of being a “sell-out”. One of my constituents alerted me to this video, asking whether my fellow delegate had indeed “sold out.”
In the video, a Bernie whip named Matthew can be seen asking the person filming, and two people sitting with her, “Why are you here now?” I kind of wondered that, too. They were not supposed to have credentials, and they were advised that if they engaged in any kind of demonstration they would be physically removed.
I will react to this video here, but I will not post a link, nor will I post the names of any of the people involved. They are publicity hounds directly defying Bernie’s instructions to his delegates, so I will not indulge their lust for attention.
I was a direct witness to the incident recorded in the video. The video was taken by “tape-over-the-mouth” lady, and much of what she says here (at least what’s audible, her production values are sorely lacking) is complete bullshit. She is the person who’s picture was widely circulated Monday with white tape over her mouth and the word “silenced” written upon it.
A bit of background:
After the delegation breakfast on Thursday morning, the staff of DPW (Democratic Party of Wisconsin) had a meeting with Wisconsin’s Bernie delegation. It was a chance for us to air our grievances and to discuss ways to work together constructively going forward.
It was a very productive meeting, though we were presented a request/demand from the national party: If we leave the meeting room with our credentials, then we are agreeing not to disrupt the convention with dissident demonstrations, and no signs would be allowed other than those distributed by volunteers inside the hall.
It would be OK to wear a NoTPP button, but NoTPP signs were not OK.
Most of us chose to comply with the party’s (and more importantly, Bernie’s) request to follow these rules. In my case, I feel that we are more powerful if/when we are inside the room. And the Hillary camp has made efforts to make the Bernie wing happy. It felt like complying with this request would amount to a reciprocation in good will. After all, that’s politics. “You help me with this, and I won’t fight you on that.”
The three people sitting to my left were not willing to go along with this compromise. One of them surrendered her credentials after the meeting, and the other two didn’t bother to show up. (If they had credentials, they probably picked them up at the delegate table and skipped breakfast. I never saw either of them at any of the breakfasts.) I was told that tape-lady had her credentials revoked for her behavior on the first day (I could be wrong), and the person sitting directly next to me was the same one I personally watched handing in her credentials in the morning.
So Matthew was completely right to ask “why are you here right now?” They weren’t supposed to be there. He advised them that they would be physically removed if they caused any trouble, and for that they whine in the video that Matthew was a “sell-out”.
As it turns out, they did cause trouble just as Hillary’s speech began. That was when tape-lady’s tape reappeared on her mouth and she stood on her chair, and the guy next to her also put the tape on his mouth.
Tape-lady was the exact kind of person Bernie called out Monday night for eroding our credibility. She sat directly behind me on Monday night, and impressed me as a publicity hound using a gimmick to get her picture in the paper. And here she was sitting next to me again, and causing trouble again, and making me and other Bernie delegates look bad. I joined other delegates in the immediate area in holding flags and signs to deny a clear shot to any photographers in the area.
This is when tape-lady stepped over the line: she grabbed an American flag out of my hand and threw it on the floor (oh, yeah, that’s really gonna help our movement… NOT!). I replaced my flags with one of those vertical Hillary signs. For the entire week, I had resisted holding any Hillary signs, but the time had come to disassociate myself from delegates who claimed to be Bernie supporters but were not.
While this was going on, security people were approaching from the end of my row and the row in front of us to get tape-lady off of her chair… they did not want anyone standing on the chairs. Within the next minute we found out why. I don’t know whether tape-lady fell as her chair seat folded up from under her, or if she directly assaulted the woman to her left, but I saw tape-lady apparently attack the woman to her left… a “little-old-lady” Bernie delegate who was simply there to enjoy the party.
The tape-over-the-mouth people were hauled out at this point, and the innocent Bernie delegate was attended to by a doctor who was called over. Apparently she was OK, though somewhat rattled as we all were. At the after-party at the hotel, I met one of the people who sat to my right, and she was pissed off that the commotion caused her to miss the first fifteen minutes of Hillary’s acceptance speech.
I have fought for the causes represented by Bernie’s campaign for virtually my entire adult life, and my affiliations have followed the gradual mainstreaming of this platform. After thirteen years as a Zendik I became a political EarthFirst-er. For many years I was a die-hard Green (David Cobb delegate to the 2004 GNC), and now I am a Green Democrat ready to join the Social Democratic Caucus.
After all these years, we finally have a seat at the table, and the greater party is respecting and listening to us. We did not score the touchdown of getting Bernie as the nominee, but we scored a HYUGE first down, and we’re getting a lot more of our players on the field.
We are now 46% of the team, and we’re teaching the other 54% to be better players. Let’s keep doing that. To walk off the field simply because you don’t like the quarterback is not helpful. We’re winning. Let’s keep moving the ball down the field and score some touchdowns!
(Apologies to those who don’t like/understand football metaphors. If you request a translation into an alternative metaphor in the comments, I’ll give it a try.)
ONE MORE THING: I am still facing a massive credit card bill from this mission that needs to be paid before the end of the month. Any donations toward reduction of this financial debt will be greatly appreciated.