So the story is all over, right? The state party leadership adjourned the meeting, everyone went home and reviewed the events of the day in their minds, right? Not exactly. Most people did leave, but a number stayed, comprised almost exclusively of the Ron Paul supporting delegates. Outside, the delegates, having never technically adjourned, began to reconvene.
For a recap, please read or skim the first article about the 2012 Oklahoma State GOP Convention.
You Are Now Free to Exit the Building
Remember, it is after 5 PM at this time. The convention hall was only rented (as I am told) until 5. I saw with my own eyes a printed schedule of some sort indicating that exact cutoff time. I was informed by one person that they had talked with the hotel staff and found out the hotel staff were instructed to cut the lights and move everyone out promptly at 5:00 no matter what else was happening. I cannot confirm this as truth as the staff apparently did not want to go on camera saying this. I don’t blame them – I wouldn’t want to either!
I made my way outside where an increasing number of people were gathering while others left to their cars and drove off. I don’t blame them, either, because most of them had no idea what was going to happen that day. It is not often that a group of people, especially such a large group, attempt so strongly to lobby their cause in a situation like this. As you might imagine, I wasn’t going anywhere. I had just witnessed a monumental event and wasn’t about to leave until I saw exactly what would take place.
“Reconvening over here, reconvening over here,” someone announced. I had just walked out the door and didn’t know at this point if a reconvention would actually happen, but I was going to stay long enough to find out if it would. I watched as most people just left, some stood at distance or near their cars to see what was going on, but ultimately somewhere between 300 and 400 delegates stayed in the parking lot to hold a convention. There was and will be debate over whether this was a new convention or just a continuation of the convention inside since it was not properly adjourned. No matter what becomes of that debate, I can tell you that it was not properly adjourned. It may be determined that it was in fact adjourned, but there was nothing proper about it. It is possible that a ruling could be made by someone higher up in the party that although the adjournment was not in accordance with applicable rules, the chair’s decision would stand. My personal feeling is that the RNC or whoever is the decision-maker will uphold the indoor, originally scheduled convention no matter what else happens. I do not have much of a basis for this thought other than my gut.
While the people gathered someone shouted, “Go home!” at the crowd, someone else honked their horn as they were driving off. A nomination was made from the floor (as it will be referred to instead of the term “parking lot”) to have Jake Peters become the chairman. No other nominations were made, and voice vote confirmed the motion for him to be chair. Mr. Peters then appointed Brady Wright to be the parliamentarian. The job of a parliamentarian is mainly to make sure that Robert’s Rules of Order are upheld as well as any other rules, such as the rules of the convention or of the party in this case. It would be very important to make sure all rules were followed in light of the fact that any business conducted at this point would no doubt be questioned in the end.
Someone made a motion to re-conduct the election of the slate [of delegates appointed during the previous business inside], but the chair determined that credentials would have to be established first. Since the convention had moved outside and so many people were leaving or didn’t know exactly where to go yet, roll was called by county. As each county was called out, in alphabetical order, delegates from each county came forward or identified themselves and elected a county chair accordingly. Not all counties were represented at this point. It was decided that the very same credentials (badges) from the morning registration would be used since they were only printed and issued to verified delegates. I performed the verification on the computer systems myself so I can guarantee you this is absolutely correct. You’re welcome.
The Convention Will Come To Order
I walked around during this time of credentialing and spoke with many, asking what would happen and whether the business would even matter. I received many different answers from many people of varying levels of knowledge on the subject. Some people didn’t know one way or the other, but they were going to stay anyway. The level of dedication was quite impressive to me. One Ron Paul supporter came off a bus that was headed for Tulsa with at least 3 other delegates, having talked them into staying. They rode together with someone else home at the end of the night. I heard one man say that a similar event happened in Missouri and was upheld by the national party. I still have my doubts about whether this convention will stand, but in any case it continued.
A list of names was comprised to account for the name of every individual from every county in attendance. This process was meticulous, and as far as I know every single delegate that was present at this “rump convention” was accounted for. After about an hour, credentials were established, and business was conducted once again. The chairman was speaking without a microphone or amplification of any sort during the credentialing process. It was suggested to relocate elsewhere, but determined it would be much wiser to finish the credentials first in order to obtain as much validity as possible. Ultimately the whole convention took place right there, in that parking lot, with the chairman standing on a bench. Most people remained standing or squatting for the next 5 hours, seemingly undisturbed by the discomfort of having been there all day already. At 6:17 PM the “new” credentials report was adopted.
As soon as the report was adopted, Cheryl Williams (former Vice-chair of Oklahoma state Republican Party), spoke to the convention. “I will tell you now, the fight we have today is the fight for our liberty of our nation!” she said, followed by applause. “We must! We must take back this party, and we must stand in the gap and not put up with the continued desegregation (sic) of our party!” More applause. “We started this process for a man. We’re gonna finish this fight for the future.” Applause.
I was hungry. I missed lunch because the lunch break didn’t ever happen and the meal many of us paid for was cancelled. The state party has offered to refund anyone who paid for lunch and missed it, which is a gesture I do appreciate. At some point, because someone had been filming and streaming online the whole convention from the time it began early in the morning, viewers reported to be as many as 1,600 worldwide pooled their money together to buy pizzas for us in the parking lot. Just in case any of them ever read this article, I want to express my gratitude to you. That was amazing. I am humbled and honored to receive that kind of hospitality from people I will likely never meet. I heard that someone from the Netherlands even helped out in this matter. Thank you, thank you for your help in this! The pizzas arrived in waves, and from different pizza delivery companies, but they kept arriving until the sun went down.
Cast Your Votes
The convention determined that the revised credential report (see previous post) was never certified because more numbers kept being added, but only 22 were voted on. A few people made points of order on this matter, and ultimately it was decided to strike all business of the convention after the credentials report, including the credentials report, and start from the beginning with the credentials certified outside. Ultimately a vote was taken on this, the business was re-conducted, and a new slate of delegates-at-large to attend the national convention from Oklahoma was elected by a roll call vote. The same ballots issued in the indoor convention were also used to certify this. The results were stored on a laptop computer by the secretary appointed at the outdoor convention. A formula was used to calculate the weight of the votes, just as was done inside. There were also at least 2 or 3 non-Paul supporters who stayed for this voting and cast their votes. The final vote was not a 100% unanimous vote, ironically enough. How did I vote? You’ll just have to wait and read my next post to find that kind of information out!
I stopped taking video after the credentials were certified until after the very end of the convention. Someone either purchased or already had a karaoke style PA system and brought it outside. It was powered with an extension cord and power strip, but was placed on the ground or the bench that the chairman was standing on. I noticed that I could still not clearly hear him, and made my way to the front of the convention. Then I simply reached down and grabbed the speaker, placing it on my head. Within seconds there were at least 10 cameras taking pictures of and/or filming me. I thought to myself, “Oh boy I’m in this for good now,” laughing. I do not regret my decision to do this. It helped those father away to be able to hear better and helped to ensure everyone knew exactly what was going on. After another hour or so, a delegate approached me and offered to take my place so I could go eat pizza, and because I had been standing there for a while by that time. I am also thankful to this man who held the speaker up for the remainder of the convention.
Other votes took place throughout the night. The previously nominated delegates for elector and alternate elector were voted on as a “sign of good faith” and because nobody could remember what their names were to vote for or against them anyhow. By the end of the night, I know that I saw Channel 4 and Channel 9 on the scene. I do not know if any other network news stations were present, but there were some freelance journalists. More videos and pictures have been uploaded to the internet and to YouTube since the time of the convention as well.
When the convention adjourned, I went around to shake some hands with new friends and tell them goodbye. Many of us had been there since before 7:00 AM that morning, and it was now past 10:00 PM. We were all tired. There were children who had been watched until around 7:00 when their parents or whoever was watching them brought outside. The children were well-behaved as long as I saw them outside, even though they were restless and doubtless ready to go home. When I started to leave, someone shouted that the news wanted to get a group shot. I stuck around, and we all assembled. The crowd began to chant together. “President Paul, President Paul!” “Not for sale, Not for sale!” “Follow the rules, Follow the rules!”
It was a long day, but a historic thing took place. I will refrain from inserting too much of my opinion here, but it was absolutely clear to me by this time that the corruption was on the part of the party leadership, and not the Ron Paul supporters. I have heard the same things that anyone else has likely heard of them, but after having been with them, and getting to know them, I learned that it was not at all the case. This was a group of dedicated, patriotic citizens, and authorized delegates that deserve their voice to be heard. Their voice will be heard, and it will be heard for years to come. Every generation has its heroes, and I am beginning to realize who those are for me.SHARE