This week at the DNC, I hope to have some new experiences and some repeated ones. As an experienced convention attender (I spent a whole four days at the RNC…last week), I have a few new expectations specific to the RNC, as well as some things I hope will continue. All in all, I can’t wait to start this Convention.

I’m hoping that the DNC is similar to the RNC for a few reasons. The most important similarity I am looking for is opportunities to engage about the ideologies on the liberal side of the spectrum, but in a way that allows conservatives to share their opinions and allow for productive conflicts. During the RNC, we had the chance to watch and participate in multiple forums and panels where conservative persons discussed topics like safe spaces, education, criminal justice reform, and the current election. These spaces were a bit difficult for me to engage in at first, but I soon found their value when I began to engage in dialogue around the important topics presented. Though I suspect I will be more ideologically aligned with the speakers and panels here, I still hope the spaces are constructed in a way that allows them to be learning spaces.

Another hope for this Convention is a continued conversation on social justice. I hope to have at least one chance to talk about the position of social justice in liberal policies, and to hear how Democrats all over the spectrum approach social justice. I hope to learn what aspects of movements are most important to our nation’s leaders, and what topics are harder to put into policies, or which ones they think meet the most resistance. The political leaders that will be at the DNC are in good positions to move past repetitive conversations and transition into executable policy.  I hope to hear what policies are in effect, or not, and how social justice and today’s movements have affected modern politics.

Lastly, I hope to hear some common sense from our Democratic leaders. Hillary is the presumptive nominee, and I’m sure not every delegate is as thrilled about her as they could be, but I hope this convention does not have nearly as much fighting and internal protesting as the Republican one did. I do hope to see protests on the outside though. It will be interesting to track which groups join us here in Philadelphia, and which ones bring local issues to the forefront of the political agenda. Cleveland certainly offered a mix of both national and local efforts, and I hope to see the same here in Philadelphia. Hopefully protesting exists here without the quasi-police state we witnessed at the RNC.

I think that conventions can be learning spaces if used correctly. The RNC offered some learning spaces through its panels, but we, as a group, were always able to construct our own when necessary. I hope the DNC offers these things and more, and can’t wait to see how our week in Philadelphia compares to Cleveland.


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