It's taken a few days to process everything I went through this year at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). As a Bernie supporter and medical cannabis patient, I have found that even when things don't turn out the way you hope, when people stand together in truth and trust, we have the support needed to go on.
I was appointed by Bernie Sanders' campaign to be his Oregon representative on the Credentials Committee at the DNC in Philadelphia. With patriotic gusto, I learned my role in the convention proceedings and participated in ways that supported fairness and justice. As a cannabis patient, who has found success in eliminating lupus and reducing migraine & fibromyalgia symptoms from my system using cannabis, I chose to be a responsible cannabis patient and educate myself in the safest ways for me to attend with my medicine.
I choose to get my body used to edibles I had found to be discreet and consistent in medicinal dosage. I found my trip there and back to be relatively easy using these cannabis products. I brought cannabis infused sugar by GoldenXTRX and lozenges by Smokiez, choosing to forgo bringing aromatic flowers to vape or smoke.
My body responded surprisingly well to the heat wave we experienced in Philly, although I did struggle adjusting to humidity. What I had not expected was the jarring effects of emotional bullying by Hillary supporters - some choosing to just glare, while others had far more bold choices to show their disapproval of our support for Bernie Sanders.
We were inspired by support from the protestors outside and progressive news organizations, like The Young Turks to keep sharing our true experiences inside the convention. When the DNC blocked our 800 Bernie volunteers, or runners from accessing our delegation all week, depriving them of assistance and help, some brave volunteers and I took their story to Jordan Chariton. Starting with tweets and an interview on The Young Turks.
Although the DNC chose to give those 800 credentials to Hillary supporters instructed to bully Delegates out of their seats, our Bernie delegation did not waiver in conscious. They were calm in their dedication to us all, and continued to represent how the majority of our country feels, chanting 'No More Wars" and "NO TPP".
It was a very big moment of pride when, at our last delegation breakfast, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon senator spoke as large group of our delegates held up No TPP signs and chanted loudly to him for 30 seconds. We pushed on together in our protests inside and outside the convention the entire week, showing a level of empathy that has shocked our world to speak out and call for more reforms of this kind of unity from all political parties.
Our progressive presence wasn't welcomed by the DNC, and the evidence of their influence to encourage bullying us and endangering the lives of our Bernie delegation showed just how engrained some alarming behaviors have become in Americans. When did we stop caring? When we hear of someone hurting, we hurt for them but do we take steps to help them prevent it in the future? When do we choose to stay silent rather than be snarky? Extend a hand rather than glare? Why is it the only way we feel for someone is if we share their pain too? Why can't we be the society that rises above 'the way it's always been' and show each other what it is really going to take to help each other?
This is what progressives are bringing to the table - a chance for everyone to be counted. For everyone's needs to be met. As one of the few medical cannabis patients who attended the convention, I can see there is definitely a need for more empathy from everyone. I saw a fellow cannabis patient and ADA delegate be continually supported by others in our Oregon delegation to meet his needs with cannabis, while knowing he had been repeatedly ignored by the DNC all week when it came to ADA accessible buses. He was left to sit in his wheelchair for an hour in the hot sun while hundreds of able-bodied delegates got priority rides to the arena and rumors that Hillary delegates were given free subway access.
The amount of concern we have for loved ones often can pave the way to understanding if we listen. But what if they are someone elses' loved one? We as a society must speak up on behalf of others and call out hurtful behavior when we see it.
Countless others asked me how I was doing during the week, and with my cannabis medical card access to discreet edibles and cannabis oil, I went the entire week with my health needs met. I applaud the variety of consistent cannabis products out there now being produced safely with testing and analysis. I was able to be at my physical best, the entire week even struggling with the extreme heat and humidity of Philadelphia, without needing to vaporize flower or expose others to cannabis smoke.
I hope to continue to share my cannabis story with others, as I did with Oregon Governor Kate Brown, so they can see the importance of empathizing more with our fellow citizens and deregulate cannabis federally, encouraging safe access to medical grade cannabis products.
I have been a part of both political worlds and my values on the sanctity of life and the importance of our personal choices have grown over the years, and at the Convention, I saw many who felt the same. There were many organizations at the convention giving pins and signs away to get their message out- countless ways to show support and take a stand.
Our lanyards used to hold our credentials all week, were donated from Nectar, www.nectarpdx.com, and it was comforting to see cannabis leaves amongst pins like NO TPP or Supporting Palestinian Rights, on all of our Oregon delegates. As a longtime medical cannabis patient, I never imagined I would be healed by it or well enough to participate in a national convention with very little help from it.
I've been on a long health journey, one that was strapped with Lupus for 18 years, but now is full of hope as a medical cannabis patient. I was able to participate in our democratic process, and although it didn't feel democratic, I know there is a majority now who are not afraid of the changes cannabis legalization can bring, they see how it will benefit us all.