Friday, August 22, 2008

North to Alaska

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

After playing phone tag for what seems like months, Kimberly Pace and I finally were on the same phone call at the same time. It seems she is rather popular, and at first thought that I was from Fox. (Yes, that Fox). So we spent the first few minutes making sure we both were Democrats, and then….

DocJess: Kimberly, I know this is supposed to be an interview about you as a delegate, but since you’re from Alaska, I can’t wait – how is the Ted situation?

Kimberly: I am just loving it. There’s an entire movement up here called “Retire Ted”. And it’s going very well, although it doesn’t seem to be getting the national press it’s grabbing locally.

It was always a case of which came first, the indictment or the election. So, let’s get back to the Fox deal. YOU’RE BLOGGING FOR FOX

It seems odd to me too, but they e-mailed, just like you did.

How did they get your name?

I have no idea. How did you get my name?

From Matt. Are you going to write the same things for them that you write for us?

Absolutely, direct cross-posts. Then we can all really see if they use things the way I write them.

GREAT idea! So I really don’t know anything about you, are you an Obama delegate or a Clinton delegate?

Obama, from way back.

Is this your first time being a delegate?

Absolutely, and I’m very excited and can’t wait to get there.


Is this your first foray into politics?

You should ask what I do for a living.

OK, what do you do for a living?

I’m a professor of Political Science.

What do you specialize in, and where do you teach?

I teach at the University of Alaska – Anchorage, and teach all forms of poli-sci with a concentration on Comparative Politics, American Government, and Constitutional Law. I’m also director of the Women’s Studies department.

What was your thesis on?

Disability movements. I worked on a comparative analysis between the ADA system in the United States versus that which exists in Europe.

Wow. But is this the first direct political action you’ve undertaken?

I’m a proud, life-long Democrat, and I’ve given money to candidates and causes, and packed my share of envelopes, and made phone calls, but this is the first time I’m really putting myself out there.

To what are you most looking forward?

That is so hard. I guess EVERYTHING. For me, this is not only a chance to represent the people who are sending me there, but also to take a look at the process and see if what I’ve been lecturing on for the last 20 years is really correct in the light of day.

Ed Espinoza, our resident Super Delegate here, says his advice for first time delegates is to wear comfortable shoes. Are you all set with that?

Actually, I could wear spiked heels and I’d be comfortable since I’m in a wheelchair. But yes, the rest of my delegation knows about it and will be properly attired. And we’ll all be in Alaskan Native attire.

Is that a kind of funky hat?

No, lots of people wear hats, and often state delegations wear the same hat – we decided to something a little different and wear traditional garb.

In a scene only possible by the magic of technology, two women 4500 miles apart google together and find a picture of a kuspuk, shown below

Ours look just like that, except they’ll be beige.

Are you paying for your trip yourself?

No. I’m actually a union delegate for the AFT, American Federation of Teachers, and so they are paying for my trip.

In fact, while you probably know that the DNC requires all delegations to be half male and half female, here in Alaska, we also require our delegation be demographically representative, so we have Native Alaskans, African Americans, disabled people, and LGBT members of our delegations.

Since I’m openly gay, I’m looking forward to going to the Disability Caucus, the LGBT Caucus, the Women’s Caucus, and a number of Union activities.

I don’t know how to ask this politely, but are you concerned about being effectually shorter than most people, and still being able to see everything on the convention floor?

The DNC has said that there will be more disabled delegates than ever before at this convention, and they say that they’ve made special provisions, but we’ll see. I’ve heard that before.

Yes, as a country, and often as individual people, we’re not great to people in wheelchairs. I hate when I see people leaning over someone in a wheelchair, yelling, as if because one has musculoskeletal problems, they are also deaf. I really hope that you have great access. So when are you going to start blogging for us?

Probably on Saturday when I get there. FOX wants to give me some sort of movie-recording-phone-device, but I’m going to have to tell them that at my level, they’ll be getting a lot of butts.

A lot of humour potential there…while I personally will be looking forward to your on-site blogs, I’m also hoping that once you get home and you have time to think and process everything, you’ll write us a piece on how the convention does jibe with your lectures; how de jure and de facto fit together, as it were.