Saturday, February 09, 2008

Um, so I actually liked the caucuses ...

Yes, it was crazy. And why wouldn't it be? It was record turnout. I remember four years ago we had record turnout, and today was beyond double that from most I heard. That's amazing. An amazing testament to a population I once thought was sinking into apathy actually getting off their asses to voice their opinion in the company of their neighbors, friends and families. And not only voice them, but act upon them. I spoke with dozens of people today, most for whom this was their first caucus ever -- and I'm not just talking about the teenagers. (There were first-time grandma caucusers, too.) Admittedly, it's not an easy process, but no process is perfect. And when you overwhelm a process that used to consist of a couple handfuls of people per precinct and now includes sometime hundreds ... well, patience is a virtue.

But my favorite part? It wasn't who won, or who we elected delegates ... it was the chance to see my neighbors. Many whom I hadn't seen in awhile. It's winter. We're busy. And sometimes, sadly, two blocks can seem like two states away. And so today, I didn't just caucus, I caught up on the neighborhood. Many I'd met for the first time at my first caucus four years ago, and since then even though our meetings might be sporadic, we chat and laugh and share whenever we run into each other. It was nice to meet up again; a bit nostalgic. And it was nice to add more new friends to this category. I look forward to four years from now. and look forward to seeing these neighbors much sooner than that!

So thank you to the many volunteers who worked tirelessly for the past days, weeks and months to prepare for then-unknown-sized crowds of passionate people ... and who are still working on the aftermath as I write this tonight. Thank you for the thankless hours you put in. And thank you to those who turned out and participated.

You give me hope.


Jen said...

It's crazy. I met a friend of my brother's that I haven't seen since the first week I lived in Tacoma. She lives just a few blocks away. We're constantly in the same internet circles, yet I never see her.

It was lots of fun meeting the most opinionated of my neighbors and listening to them do their thing.

Jess said...

Amen, sistah!

I can't say that I met neighbors I knew-- mostly, the people I saw were strangers who apparently shared my precinct. BUT the energy, the current of body-politic electricity, the stoke-- all so very cool. I heard people laughing to each other, "would you have dreamed this eight years ago?" -- I heard a conversation about a 41 year old man considering, quite seriously, becoming (finally) a registered voter... I heard of many my age(thirty something, cough cough) going to see how the caucus thing worked, and I engaged in some lovely conversations.

The best exchange, an older woman thanked me for bringing in the kid. I said, thanks, and she directly addressed the kid, "You're so lucky to be getting a chance to see how this country works." (she was bored, pretty much, through the entire process.)( but the moment was cool.) --and the second best moment-- the crowd, all committed American voters, recited the pledge of allegiance.

"One nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all." (I'll admit, I got a wee weepy-teary.)

I feel like we were all in the same bus, deciding on a driver. One driver has some neat ideas, and may drive us into ditches, but it'll be a mighty cool ride. Another driver has had some great experience, and can take us on a most excellent trip, well-researched, and we'll benefit from it.

Either way, the driver'll be a good 'un.

Joel413 said...

I wish I could have participated this year, but the prof only gave us an hour for lunch/caucus. The one nice thing about having a lawyer (from CA) for a professor is that he at least attempted to give the opportunity to try and participate. I think only 1 or 2 of my classmates did.

I look forward to the next caucus in 2012, even though it should be an easy choice.