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?!