The delegates responded to these other questions:
Substantive Political debate, or just one big corporate-sponsored party?
Taxes and growth: real ideas, or just more political rhetoric?
Is the "Party of Bill Clinton" the party of all Democrats?
A question from Susan Minogue of Calgary, Alberta:
Who are the delegates?
What inspired you to become a delegate? Here in Canada, we hear about the voter apathy in America, it intrigues me that there are still "gun-ho" participants in the system.
Governor Parris Glendening, Annapolis, MD
First, as the governor of a state, it's somewhat expected that you lead your state delegation as I am doing. But far more important is that I really believe in the basic values the Democratic Party stands for, and am very concerned about some of the proposals coming from the Republican Party and the Republican candidate. These proposals attack certain programs that are so important to Maryland. Specifically, education. I have taught at the University of Maryland for 27 years and know the value of education for our children. I also agree very strongly with the President's aggressive stand against gun violence and his efforts to make our communities safe. A clear contrast with the Republicans. That's why I am so enthusiastic about the administration--the President fought for the assault weapon gun ban whereas Mr. Dole wants to repeal that. Lastly in Maryland, the environment is extremely important and the Clinton administration has a strong track record of protecting environmental areas such as the Chesapeake Bay.
Enid Goubeaux, Greenville, Ohio
The Newt Gingrich Republicans have tried to weaken almost every law and program that we need to protect Chesapeake Bay.
Everyone has his/her vision of paradise--mine is being here at a national Democratic convention. It is a rare opportunity to participate in our democratic process, to meet with like-minded people, and to reaffirm support for the Clinton-Gore ticket. I believe in the Democratic Party, have been actively engaged for years, and relish being able to shape its future.
Susan Swift, Palestine, Texas
I have attended every Democratic state convention since 1974 but never attempted to be a National delegate until this year. I am proud to represent my district here and have our views be a part of our national platform. The conversations at our dinner table are about politics--our children have grown up around it--and we feel it is important to be involved instead of sitting around just complaining about things.
Art Noonan, Butte, Montana
Hello to my Canadian neighbors. In 1968 I was in High School when I witnessed on television the riots at the 1968 Chicago Convention. It was the first time that I realized I had a strong opinion about the state of politics and I vowed to be involved. Since that time I have never missed an election to vote and I have donated a portion of my free time to the election of candidates that share my political philosophy.
Susan don't believe everything you read about American voter apathy. Politics is more dynamic than is often portrayed, and as a life-long activist I have seen more political commitment than one might think. That commitment is often a product of dissatisfaction but it still brings different people continuously into the process.
I, as an American, would be very interested in the live convention coverage if I weren't here. I believe that the speeches, both at the Democratic and Republican conventions, are informative, and allow the common American voter to make an informed decision when he or she goes to the polls in November.
Kathryn G. Mausolf, Glenwood Springs, CO
I live in a rural region of Western Colorado that has not been represented at the National Convention for approximately. 20 years. I am very active in my County and Region in politics and wanted to come to the Convention to gain more national perspective and bring new ideas back to my community.
Jim Burg, Pierre, South Dakota
I have always been interested in improving government and making it better for those not as fortunate as myself. I have been involved in politics and elected office for about 25 years, and being a delegate was kind of a culmination of that involvement.
Sometimes I think apathy is a sign of satisfaction; people get involved when they are dissatisfied. Of course I wish every potential voter would study the issues, and make an intelligent vote. However, I would rather have a limited number of knowledgeable voters casting ballots for our leaders, than forced turn-outs as some dictatorships have, which don't indicate anything.