Friday, January 04, 2008

Caucus Impressions

There is much I could say about the Iowa caucus experience. I am not really sure where to begin. A caucus is like a huge Party meeting without the formalities and familiar faces. Since most of my readers have probably never attended a meeting for their political party my description is useless. I'll start from the beginning.

I arrived at about 6:20pm at the caucus location along with my husband. We started to walk inside only to discover Hillary and Obama signs. Democrats were everywhere. A few questions later we learned that the Republicans were meeting on the other side of the building. We found our way into our meeting room and registered. Craig went to make signs directing people on where to go because most people -- Dems and GOPs included -- were confused. I put on my Ron Paul button, stuck a Ron Paul sign on the wall and sat down waiting to see if anyone would approach me. Several people did. Most of them thought that the Ron Paul campaign had sent me over and wanted to know if I could help the chairperson get people registered. I explained that I was a caucus voter just like them and a volunteer for the campaign in my own precinct. I talked for quite a while to a lovely, elderly woman who supported Ron Paul. I met a few other Ron Paul fans. It was great.

At a few minutes after 7pm the meeting began. The first order of business was electing a secretary to help the chairperson. I volunteered because it meant I would be able to make sure nothing bad happened to the votes. No one objected to me being the secretary.

Thus followed a lengthy period of standing on a hard floor in very high heels. My feet still hurt. We had a series of short speeches for each candidate. My husband gave a speech for Ron Paul and it was very well spoken. I passed out voting ballots. Then I collected them making sure that each person turned in only one ballot. I counted votes along with a representative from each of the campaigns. A little over half the people left the room at that point, not caring to stay for the rest of the meeting. We selected precinct delegates. I decided to be a delegate. Then I got all of us delegates and alternates signed up while the chairperson called in the vote, supervised by the representatives of each candidate. The last order of business was to choose important issues to go to the Platform Committee. Oh yeah, and choose a representative to the Platform Committee.

That's when my true party animal nature came out. I could not help myself. A few months ago I vowed to avoid the Iowa GOP at all costs. But now, I am one of them. I volunteered to represent my precinct to the Platform Committee. Part of the reason I decided to do this was, well, I need more responsibility or I'll continue to be a bum this year. Another part is that I really do not appreciate the recent turns the Republican Party has taken. I have not done much good as an independent. I think I am going to try changing the party from the inside out instead of standing to one side aloof and mysterious about my views. I now know of a candidate who champions my own political ideas for this country. Even if he does not make it to the nomination, I can still take his ideas and insidiously work them into the party structure. Wait, I am giving away my hand. Perhaps I should not say anymore about this . . . Then again, perhaps I should. Perhaps I will, at the Platform Committee meeting.

After all that Craig and I went to the Ron Paul post caucus party and hung out with fellow volunteers. It was fun. Ron Paul showed up and made an excellent speech. He gives me hope for America. And even if he does not win the nomination I am thankful that I got to be a part of this movement.


Anonymous said...

Hey Esther,

Really like that post and glad to hear that you're seeking to involve yourself in politics once more. Seems like I'm getting a few more readers but I remember the old ones all the more lovingly.

Emily said...

I was very excited to read your post. I have been following news about the caucus and I had no idea what a caucus was. It is also great to hear about someone that I know getting involved in a meaningful way. I have definitely been overly apathetic about politics the last few elections.

Esther said...

RWG: Thanks, and you're right, we have a lot in common. It's good to see a comment from you again. Why didn't I notice that OpenID thing before?

Emily: Well, heh, heh. It so happens that a friend of mine is running for Congress in your district. I'll have to email you.