Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Quit complaining about your caucus!

I have really enjoyed politics ever since Mrs. See's Senior Government class when a lot of the politcial processes finally started to make sense. I even ran, I think, as the Democratic representative in our class's mock election and I am pretty sure we beat Aaron Cohen's Republican race, but maybe my memory is a little fuzzy in that memory.

Every time election time rolls around, I try to inform myself of the issues and I really like listening to both sides of the issues. Trust me, as the lone registered Democrat in an in-law family of Republicans, I get an earful of the other side of the coin. I appreciate it, though, and makes me think about things. I don't, however, like the political propaganda emails that get sent around. It kinda makes me laugh/kinda gets on my nerves when I get an email from a well-intentioned family member or friend trying to persuade me that my political affiliation aligns me with the devil. I really have to question the intelligence of the sender of the emails that slam EVERY democrat EVER because of the failure of the Social Security program [Don't even get me started on that one!] or the ones that seek to defame and defile the Democratic national candidates by calling them terrorists or racists or whatever. I hope that everyone takes the time to think those emails through and REALLY only send them to me because they're so obviously thick with propoganda and spin that they can't be all true.

This year Nevada has a chance to caucus. We're the second state in the nation to have this kind of event and it's really meant to share our thoughts and feelings with others of our own political party in order to REALLY support one candidate for our individual parties. I didn't really know what it was to caucus, and when I talked to my good-government-teacher friend Patty we shared our ignorant excitement. She said, a caucus is hard to explain and usually it was something she didn't focus on when teaching high school students since it's a pretty open definition and awkward to say around teenagers. Then she reminded me of the student who asked her (when explained that a caucus is a group of people who get together to decide on their candidates) if black caucuses were bigger than white caucuses (I KNOW that is a little naughty, but also a true glimpse into what teaching high schoolers is like! and we both laughed at how uncomfortable a position that put her in as the teacher who tries to seriously answer the question about a legitimate process with a horrible name!) This is something I found online that made sense about what a caucus is all about:

What is a caucus?
A caucus is a gathering of neighbors who meet to discuss grassroots politics. Democrats [and Republicans] will join with others in their precinct to pledge their support for their favorite presidential candidate and thereby award delegates to the candidates.

Caucuses are different than primaries because caucus participants do more than just support a candidate for president – they also participate in other party business such as electing delegates to the county convention and submitting resolutions to the party platform to be considered by the platform committee at the county convention.

SO, I am going to caucus on Saturday. Yes, I know the caucus has some down-sides to it (like causing contention within one's own party with lawsuits [because the Democratic party has placed precincts at several casinoes which is likely to assist the O'Bama-supporting-culinary union in participating on one of their busiest work days while the Clinton-supporting-teachers' union thinks they're being slighted . . . even though teachers can go WHEREVER they want to caucus because they have Saturday off] and excluding those who can't get off work or have small kids to consider, etc. But it gives Nevadans a chance to really have their voices heard in a national forum.

My cousin Tyler was pretty amped about the issue, so you can read more about his position on his blog, but this was my response to his blog. Just in case y'all still want to know some more of what I think:

FIRSTLY, let me share this with all the love and devotion of my most closest cousin EVER! But, you asked for it. . .

Okay, I've been thinking a lot about this since your post (and before) and I've been listening to some people complain and some people be excited for the caucus. While I respect your stance on the "screwed up political process" I have to REALLY disagree with you about it being screwed up. I think the caucus process is a really interesting way to encourage Nevada voters to be a little more proactive. Now, that's difficult when you have to work and can't go share your voice with your neighbors (which is another reason why the caucus is being called a good thing), but the caucus is a small part of a big picture (as is the primary election - no matter when it is held.) From my understanding, the decision to caucus along with the August primary was to be able to have Nevadans voice heard earlier so it would count for something. Both the national parties agreed it would be a good thing, so I'm thinking this is one more situation when the general public would rather complain about the process and call it "screwed up" instead of actually actively participating in those kinds of decisions. If there were more people involved with their political parties when the "to-caucus-or-not-to-caucus" issue came up in early 2007 [or maybe even before that] then those opposed to the process could have said, "UH, I have to work a 12 hour shift that day and would rather not have any Nevadans voices heard as opposed to just those voters who have Saturday off and/or who don't have work and/or who have found a babysitter." This caucus on Saturday is a real chance to have an impact on choosing the parties' delegates and as one who is a little undecided on which candidate I prefer, I'm looking forward to going and deciding which candidate I think will be viable on a national level.

As far as your feelings about those running being so much more successful financially and thus unable to relate to us common folk. . .I think THANK GOODNESS we have intelligent people who make wise decisions who WANT to be involved in this crazy process and who WANT to make some sort of change. Granted, there may be some narcissitic personalities who are in politics for the wrong reason, but THANK GOODNESS we, as the ones who sit at home and hope for better OR who are content with the status quo OR who are cynical about the entire future of our country have the opportunity to see the good people and VOTE for them. I do believe a lot of the candidates who get involved with civic service DO understand what it's like to come from less-than-rich backgrounds BECAUSE of their parents hardships and lessons. It doesn't mean that by the time they are running for President of the country that they haven't been successful in other areas of their life and that may be fiscally. There are plenty of politicians that made a correction officers salary or a teacher's salary before they went in to public office, but yeah, some of them were successful lawyers and businessmen. Let's not waste time lamenting about their successes when they're throwing themselves into the possibly the most difficult job ever.

So, the benefit of a caucus is to get your feelings out and work through some issues with your party to be heard. Even though you can't go, though, you've done a good job of sharing here. Really, I like to think this stuff through, so it's all good :) What would you say/share if you WERE at the caucus? Which candidate would you support? Or would you be on that middle line waiting to be swayed to one of your party's candidates or the other?

Anyhow, basically I am thankful to be able to be involved. I own what I believe, what I don't believe, and what I am trying to figure out. I know what I am hoping for as far as our country goes and I'm really praying we can, as an American people, get some perspective and DO something by either participating in the caucus and/or voting. It's really a blessing to have the opportunity just to be a part of it on any level, right?!


Tyler said...

I posted a long comment to your comment on my blog, and it disappeared. I have to crash, but I'll just leave this thought:
When we all were born, lived, and died within a 15 mile raduis of where we were born a caucus was a great idea. If you really thing that this is a discussion of grassroots politics, I think you are wrong. I just don't see it. I don't WANT to talk politics with a bunch of people I don't know. How long have you known exactly what this process is going to entail, because I don't think most people do. I am all about my secret ballot. Let's just say I was able to go on Saturday, but I had to go in uniform because I could only get an hour off of work. Don't you think it would be a little intimidating for the people in the room to go against the guy with the gun? People may not be carrying guns, but people will be intimidated.

Also, you are not the only registered Democrat in the family. My Dad and my Grandpa are two very vocal Democrats. Also, don't get all one sided with the "propoganda" email. Both sides are really good at that. If you haven't seen any Bush emails/propaganda you are lucky. Or is that stuff true because it's about Bush? I always get confused about that.

Tyler said...

shoot-forgot to spell check! Sorry for all the errors I know are in there!

Rick/Dad/Grandpa/Mr. D said...

I have to say that I had no idea what a caucus was and then found out one would be held at my school. At a New Years Eve party where other administrators were in attendance, we asked a rather well-informed political person who what there to explain it. Afterward I went online and got information for myself and Kris and Riley. it's all there for anyone who cares to do the research.

I'm excited about the process and to see how it goes. Because our caucus is so early in the campaign "season" we really matter now and the candidates are taking interest in Nevada. I love that!

And I love that people are talking and discussing the issues and getting mad and showing interest. This election is SO important and I'm excited that people are showing emotion.

I love you all and respect your opinions (even if you are wrong!)!!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Jerolyn said...

As Kaitlyns 3rd grade teacher would always say,
Don't anticipate....Participate!

chanel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chanel said...

I don't know if I have ever said it this heartfelt and clearly but, Sarah Barlow you are my HERO!

Heck yeah to EVERYTHING you said!

I got a bit carried away with the original comment - sorry!

robin said...

ok You opened this up for discussion so I have to comment on the casino caucus. First, I'm all for them because I would love to see Hillary go down. Obama, I could live with as president. But, I find it ironic that the teacher union is opposing it. The only conclusion I can come up with is that teachers think they are probably a lot better informed then the average casino worker. It's a little frustrating to me when someone votes for someone just because their Union or church or mom tells them to. Jake has stopped more than one employee from sticking stickers on their work trucks (he tells them to take them home and stick them on their personal trucks). Then he finds out that some agree with hardly any of the issues they just have been told that that particular party is going to make sure the big bad white guy doesn't steal all their money because that is what the union told them. So go Obama and I hope Romney is up against him this fall. Sorry I know you love Hillary but if she wins I'm going in full survival mode.

Stac said...

this is nate

I'm gonna have to side with Tyler on this one... at least as far as the caucus goes. And I'm speaking as one of the suggested Cluinary members also. I couldn't care less about getting together with people "in my community" to talk about issues. Especially as an Independant, I want even less to be persuaded to one side or the other. I an regestered that way because I have big problems with choosing one party or the other- BOTH have big stances that set them back and I refuse to register for one just to be able to caucus for one or the other. All growing up we're all taught about how important it is that we get out and vote. Why? Because every vote matters. It's not that simple. Again, this is just about the caucus prcess. Being in the Culinary, you should see how badly they're trying to get the members to go and caucus (convieniently in several of the casinos on the strip and to a degree, also pushing for an Obama vote). As I've thought about it, I compare it to much of the feeling we get when we get stuck with jury duty. Sure, it's a price we pay for the benefits we recieve (should we ever need the process on our behalf), but either way you cut it, it still sucks that they haven't thought of a better system.

Christina said...

Great thoughts Nate! You explained things well and truly understand the process.

Rick/Dad/Grandpa/Mr. D said...

BTW - just because a teacher's union is filing a lawsuit does not mean that the rank and file are in agreement. That decision was made at the top and teachers were not involved in that decision at all. Ask any teacher what input they had in that decision. NONE!!! The teachers were not asked at all if they wanted to file a lawsuit. Don't believe everything you hear or read. Do some research. If you're getting all your information from the Review Journal, I will say a prayer for you.

Tyler said...

Again, my problem with unions or blindly following a political party-decisions get made that you have no say in, but you get labeled with making that choice! Those teachers are paying their dues, hopefully they will get people in who accurately represent them. At least we agree on a couple of points. Research is good, and the Review/Journal isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Again, it's getting late. My full response will be coming soon.

Kris said...

Tyler has got it right, Nate has got it right, Leah has got it right, thanks to Rick for calming us all down,lol. Riley and I are going to ROCK THE VOTE!!!!!!

chanel said...

Despite teh obvious Republican apathay comments, don't be fooled, Sarah, YOU are on the right track- thats why a Democrat is goign to take this whole election, whatever the caucuses do!

barlows said...

JUST FYI, I found out if you want to take your kids, you can, especially babies.

The caucus is a BONUS to our state, as a whole! I think people are bugged more with the fact that we HAVE a caucus than that they can't participate.

Tyler said...

My reasons for being irritated about a caucus are because I cannot participate, and a lot of others cannot participate. We have poor turn out with early voting, absentee voting. How it this going to increase turnout? I am irritated at BOTH parties for deciding to do this. Nobody has shown me how this allows more voices to be heard. It's just a way for the parties to dictate what happens on election day. The caucus is a bonus for the people of this state who are available at either 9AM or 11AM on Saturday the 19th. What if this caucus was moved to Sunday and it conflicted with our Sabbath? Would you have the same opinion?

Rick/Dad/Grandpa/Mr. D said...

OH MY GOLLY!!! This is just getting out of hand. I say "GO PEPSI!!! RED WHITE and BLUE all the way!!!" Oh, was that another blog? LOLOLOL I'm so confused!!!

The Hedden Herald said...

SARAH! I can't believe it. I just started this blogging thing a little while ago and I was looking at one and then that one would lead me to another one and presto...Sarah Barlow pops up. I can't believe it. I haven't seen you in years! Check me out sometime!

Love ya,

Rick/Dad/Grandpa/Mr. D said...

Republican apathy comments? I'm confused. It's because of the apathy of the Democrats that we lost the election the last two times. Hopefully the same thing won't happen again this election or heaven help us. Historically, the Democrats hold it together through the primary and blow it in the general election.