Freedom Corner is a monument at the intersections of Crawford Street and Centre Avenue in Pittsburgh. It was at this location where Democratic Committee Chairman Howard Dean decided to make his Western Pennsylvania stop for his "Register for Change" tour, in support of the candidacy of Barack Obama.
I decided to attend, not so much because I felt I would be convinced to support the presumptive democratic nominee, but because I wished to speak with Howard Dean directly and also I wanted to know if any other PUMAs would show up. Initially, everyone whom I spoke to seemed to be on the Obama bandwagon. For the sake of peace in the neighbourhood, I merely told anyone who asked that I was undecided.
As Dean began speaking, I noticed people holding signs outside of the barrier which had been erected to separate the event from the rest of the world. Upon them in marker were messages such as, "18 Million Voices Silenced" and "Uphold the Constitution." I knew immediately that these were the people I wanted to be speaking to, and went over to chat with them for the duration of Dean's speech. Frankly, I doubt I missed much by not tuning in to what Dean was saying as the overall message was the same spiel that party officials have been trying to convince us of since Hillary was kicked to the curb: we are a party united and we are going to win this! If only...
After Dean was done speaking, I positioned myself to "buttonhole" him. I waited patiently as he spoke to what seemed like every media outlet in the region. When they were done getting sound and video clips from him, I called out, "Chairman Dean!"
Shaking his hand, I told him that I wished to implore him to push primary election reform. At that point, I was expecting him to blow me off with a quick, "okay, sure" and move on, however, I was pleasantly surprised when he asked, "what would you like to see changed?"
I told him that the caucuses should be scraped in favour of closed primaries for all states. All of these primaries should be tallied as one person to one vote - no exceptions (this means that delegate counts would not be inflated for certain areas based on demographics). He agreed with me about ending the caucuses in favour of primaries, but said that he believed that thoroughly closed primaries were a bad idea; while I believe that only registered Democrats should be allowed to vote in Democratic primaries, Dean favours allowing independents/decline to state voters a voice as well (albeit, members of other parties would not be allowed to vote in Democratic Primaries unless they changed their registration beforehand).
Overall, I found Howard Dean quite personable and was impressed that he allowed me the one on one time to speak my mind about something I'm sure he's been hearing from at least some people at every campaign stop. It was a very good gesture on his part and hopefully we will actually see some reform in the process. Still, I remain unimpressed and unmoved regarding Obama. As such...
PARTY UNITY MY ASS!