This September, Democrats will convene in Charlotte, North Carolina to renominate President Obama. I was honored to be selected as one of New York State’s delegates and am looking forward to my first experience at a national convention.

That’s not to say I have any illusions about my role. It has been a long time since delegates to national conventions made meaningful decisions (which is probably for the best, since primaries give voters a direct say in their parties’ nominees). These days, the real purpose of conventions is to showcase a party’s message to a national television audience, and the proper role of a delegate like myself is to serve as one of many useful props for the production, so I will applaud on cue.

If that sounds cynical, I really don’t mean it that way. Given the tendency of the modern media to reduce political dialogue to soundbites, there is real value in setting aside a few days during which voters can hear complete speeches, from beginning to end. Contributing to that process, in even the smallest way, is a useful undertaking, and I am glad to do it. For that matter, it will be interesting to speak with other elected officials from throughout the country and, hopefully, get some good ideas that can be applied back home in New Rochelle.