Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Amateurs in the Political World

They didn't give me a sticker for voting tonight, and I wanted one, so I made myself one!

Whew, caucusing is hard work guys! Standing in line for 3 hours to put your little drop in the bucket is not an incredibly enticing prospect, but boy was it a valuable experience.

By the nature of this being the first presidential election I was not on my mission during, this is the first opportunity I have had to be really politically engaged during a major election cycle, and I have been learning so much.

Here's the thing about my voting experience, though: the learning has been difficult. I'm not talking about learning about the candidates, I'm just talking about learning how to vote! Searching as thoroughly as I could, I found little-to-vague information on how exactly I can register to vote, how exactly a caucus works, where it would be, or how long it would go, let alone how to make it a good experience.

If information like this is largely unavailable, how can our citizens feel prepared to participate? I had many friends who did not go because they misunderstood the requirements for attending! There are so many roadblocks in the way of the average citizen (essentially the equivalent of an amateur, as discussed in class) being civilly active as it is, this seems like a fairly simple thing we could develop a solution for - a simple, thorough guide on what to expect from the experience, and how it works.

My brother and I at the Democratic Caucus! 3/22/16

So, this is what I have resolved to do: I am going to borrow a page from the success of amateurs in the 21st century and collaborate with my other fellow amateurs to create something that will be useful in helping us all become a little more skilled like the professionals (after all, isn't that what politics in the US is supposed to be all about, putting the power in the people's hands?). I am going to become active as a volunteer with the local political organizations, and help them with just what the name for that group implies they should be - being well organized. Along with volunteering locally, I am going to interview other who went to caucuses and then create a blog post that walks through my caucus experience, borrowing from added info from others who were there, and explains what to expect and how to be prepared.

My hope is that my post will be helpful and insightful enough that it assists at least a few to be more involved next time this comes around!

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