I haven’t written here recently, as I have been busy being Presidential.  But, as the Young Democrats of America Rules Vice Chair, and an all-around Bylaws and Parliamentary Procedure wonk, I felt like I should weigh in publicly on this issue.

I haven’t yet decided who I will be supporting in the Democratic Party of Georgia Chair race.  But with all of this craziness going on today, there are a few truisms people need to keep in mind:

1) Without rules, we are nowhere, and we cannot simply disregard the Governing Documents of our organization for the sake of political expediency.  They all exist for a reason- good or bad- and the proper way to affect change is to procedurally change them.  It’s called Democracy.

2) In this election, we are filling an unexpired term.  This is a very different thing than those elections we hold every 4 years.  Whoever is elected in August will serve until 2015, and will then have to run again (if he so chooses).  At that point, all bets are off, and anyone can run for anything.  Keep this in mind, because it actually matters.

3) There is a reason we have these rules in place.  Jim Galloway doesn’t do a terrible job, but allow me to insert my two cents.  We in the Democratic Party actually value diversity for its own sake.  We understand that Georgia is diverse, and celebrate and embrace our diversity.  We therefore locally and nationally, as a Party, have established that we believe that our leadership should be as diverse as the population it seeks to represent.  Right now, we have a female First Vice Chair, and the rest of the elected officers are people of color.  Ironically, therefore, the individual who will fill the unexpired term of Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia must be, by rule, a white male, just as Mike Berlon was.  Certainly, the result is ironic, but in another sense it would ensure exactly what the Rules intend: as complete diversity as possible.

4) Yes, there will be some people that cannot run.  Everyone knows that.  And for those people, I am sure it stinks.  But the fact is that we cannot bend the rules for your sake.  This is an unexpired term.  Whoever is elected will assume the role with all of its powers and responsibilities, but he will be joining a team of officers that have already been in their role, having been duly elected, for nearly 2 years.  These folks deserved their positions, and were elected for a reason.

5) And I have said this before, those that cannot run in 2013 can run without a problem in 2015, when we will once again have a diverse and vibrant group of elected DPG officers, each elected in his or her own right.  Just remember, this is not a normal election, because I feel like people think that it is.

I look forward to what promises to be a vibrant and not at all personal discussion on this post.


18 Responses to In Defense of Rules

  1. Tim says:

    Mary’s running in the way she is doing it is a HUGE mistake. Not only is she destroying whatever goodwill was left for her both personally and for her possible future political career, she’s taking down a lot of good people with her.

    Stop the madness now:

    acknowledge the rules prevent you from running,
    stop wasting everyone’s fracking time,
    if you’re serious about leading the party of the President, Barack Obama, in the state of Georgia, start setting yourself up to run in 2015 like any sane person
    don’t scrub your facebook page
    shame on a soldier not understanding and respecting rules

    jeez, this list got too long, so I’ll stop there.

  2. nonchalant says:

    Anita, wow wait… so…we have a candidate for DPG Chair that doesn’t support POTUS?
    Wonder if all these endorsers knew that? For those who say screw the rules and let her run anyway, I’d almost be inclined to agree…since she has some ‘splainin to do.

  3. Anita Moorecock says:

    The following individuals apparently are wasting their time “endorsing” someone who could not even bother to read the rules:

    *Sen. Emanuel Jones, Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus * Floyd Everett, Chair, Columbia County *Leona Perry, DeKalb County * Sarah Todd, Chair, Newton County * Pat Dooley, Cobb County * Denise Caswell, Gwinnett County * Ravindra Kumar, Gwinnett County * Carole Hunt, Seniors Caucus * Gretchen Quarterman, Chair, Lowndes County * Claudia Collier, Effingham County * LaNelle Holland, Chair, Carroll County * Eddie Travis, Chair, Butts County * Morris Powell, Walker County * Basil Lue, Wilkinson County * George Williams, Gwinnett County * Pat Rhudy, Carroll County * Mtesa Wright, Richmond County * Margaret Ball, Whitfield County * Dee Crouch, Coweta County * Victoria Chacon, President of La Vision Newspaper * Carol Porter, 2010 Democratic Nominee for Lt. Governor

  4. Mary says:

    Thank You, Steve…and Peaches and Catherine. I am sure after all the opinions are aired the correct decision will be made which of course and obviously is to follow the diversity rule that runs through all DPG elections. The thing that makes me happy is that now perhaps those good people who preferred not to become mired in the torrential bullshit storm of the past two years will have the opportunity once again to serve…and, perhaps this is way to much to hope for…but maybe we can stop eating our young long enough to conduct some kick ass politics in Georgia. Go Nikema….

  5. BEZERKO says:

    I guess Galloway didn’t do a terrible job, but his advice is bad advice.

  6. BEZERKO says:

    Has this happened before, is there a precedent?

    • Peaches says:

      I don’t recall an exact precedent, but I do remember when Shirley Franklin resigned her DNC seat only a female was eligible to run. The same when Page resigned her DNC seat.

      The diversity and gender rules apply to almost every office in the party, from the DNC on down, so it’s likely there have been similar situations in the past, in Georgia and other states.

      When I first became involved with the party (about 10 years ago now), I naively wanted to help make our state a better place. I soon realized the whole organization is stifled by rules and procedures, and the process to change them is onerous. Trying to do anything of consequence within the Democratic Party is like attempting to turn an aircraft carrier.

      If you took the DNC, DPG and any county party by-laws and charter and bound them together, you’d have something about as thick as a dictionary. This is the main reason PACs and non-profits can often out perform and out fundraise political parties. They can be leaner and meaner.

  7. George Chidi says:

    I’m still waiting for someone to explain what the rules say about biracial candidates.

    • Steve says:

      They don’t, and if there was a situation that arose, then I assume the General Counsel of the DPG would be asked for an interpretation.

      • NorthGADem says:

        George, my guess is that what the person identifies as would be how the counsel would rule.

        If they person classifies themselves (on official documents, census forms, etc) as biracial then the question is: do 20% of Georgians classify themselves as biracial?

        If they classify as white or black or latino or asian or whatever, the same rule holds, do 20% of Georgians classify themselves as such?

        20% or more of Georgians classify themselves as white, therefor in an inclusive party, at least one member of our officers should be white. Same rule for any other racial identity group that makes up 20% of Georgians.

        DPG rules also say that our Chair and First Vice Chair should be opposite genders.

        So it just happens to work out that a rule put in place to protect minorities (including women) is in this instance, protecting white males, a large percentage of Georgians, who currently have no “voice” in the DPG officer positions.

  8. nonchalant says:

    Great analysis, Peaches and CatherineAtlanta. It seems to me that if anyone had an issue with the policy in question would have appealed the last DPG Officer Election two years ago.

    I can understand (I guess) the woman running for chair not aware of the charter and by-laws since she just came off a statewide campaign for constitutional office.

    But she then resigned her ex-officio seat off the DPG Executive Committee (can she do that?), which told me that not only was she not interested in the charter and bylaws but she apparently wasn’t interested in being involved with the DPG at all, but now we’re to believe that all these party leaders statewide had urged her to run for Party Chair, and….wait for it…she now wants our 1st Vice Chair to resign now so she would be eligible to run.

    Peaches is right on the money: if it were the 1st Vice Chair that resigned instead, would we really be having this discussion? Seriously?

  9. JMPrince says:

    Just as I welcome the impending rule of our new robot overlords, I welcome a full, fair and enlightened debate on this at the called State Comm meeting for 8/17. JMP

    • Steve says:

      And I look forward to speaking out in favor of the rule of law. I have nothing against Mary Squires. She’s actually an incredibly nice person that has always been a great friend of YDG. I’m just a rules advocate, and I calls them like I reads them.

  10. CatherineAtlanta says:

    From what I gather, it’s the DPG Charter & Bylaws that are the stricter of the two (DNC & DPG) sets of rules. These rules may be “stupid” as many seem to think, the thing is they are the RULES. They can be changed, but only thru a specific process. We find our party at this point, in part, because Charter &
    Bylaws were ignored by the previous chair. It’s time to follow the rules, and get the party back on track.

    Peaches makes an excellent point, would y’all demand the chairs resignation if a vice-chair resigned? Would you?

    • Peaches says:

      It’s a complete double standard. I can’t really fault Bookman for not doing his homework, but it’s laughable that a woman who seeks to be chair of the party can’t be bothered to read the by-laws or charter. Watch out people. It’s about to get all mavericky and shit.

  11. Peaches says:

    These are not the rules of the Democratic Party of Georgia, but the Democratic National Committee. Anyone who doesn’t like them, can take it up with the DNC.

    And the suggestion that Nikema should resign her duly elected position because the chairman resigned his is absurd.

    Let’s say the chairman held his position and the first vice chair resigned instead. Would everyone expect the chair to resign so the election to fill the unexpired first vice chair position would be “inclusive”?

    Didn’t think so.