The Democrats Abroad EMEA caucus in Brussels this past weekend was exhausting and exhilarating. As an Obama delegate candidate and elector (I could vote for the delegates) it was an experience I will never forget.
A beer reception at the historic brewer’s guild building followed for a lively 2 hours with over 100 American expatriates and members of Democrats Abroad EMEA.
Saturday we voted for 4 Obama delegates to go to the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August. We ended the day without having decided on delegates with the task of having a final 3rd ballot on Sunday morning.
Now, to make a long story short here is why it is better to give than receive. On Sunday we are stunned to learn that a mistake in the vote calculations caused the result to be under reported by 50% (for example I received 26.2% instead of the 13.1% that was announced). So after an initial pool of 30 or so female candidates and after 2 rounds of voting I was #4 of 6 female candidates, along with a sister from Chicago named Monica French Stewart who lives in South Africa as #3.
The result for me was that I had made it to the 3rd ballot after all (a delegate candidate needs 15% of the vote to move on to the next round of voting).
The small countries had formed a coalition and we were pushing for Monica to represent Africa, David, an Arab American, to represent Lebanon and Bob, a white gay male in the Netherlands to represent LBGT interests. We made deals for support after the first ballot.
A vote was taken to go back to round 2 and revote. Here’s where I give. When the 6 remaining women candidates were bought to the front and asked if they wanted to stay on the ballot, I withdrew from the race and endorsed Monica. It was more important to me that a sister go rather then risk splitting the vote. That sister didn’t have to be me, and I’m proud that Monica will go and represent the interests of African American democrats in Africa.
I was stunned and what happened next. I got a standing ovation from everyone in the room! That’s a personal first. So many people came up to me and hugged me, and shook my hand and thanked me for showing leadership, and being gracious and selfless. I was told that I was the first winner up there. I was even encouraged to run for executive office of Dems Abroad. When the vote was calculated Monica received over 72% of the vote (50% is needed to win).
The Obama delegates representing Democrats Abroad EMEA are a diverse group to which I belong. Our coalition made a deal to support a delegate candidate with Native American heritage in exchange for her large country’s support of our 3 candidates.
In the 48 hours that I was a delegate candidate I learned that it is better to give than to receive.