|Hanging chads: a personification of the many |
challenges America's democracy faces.
I'm a democrat, registered in the state of California. My wife, however, is a registered republican here in Utah. I felt bold and attended our corresponding republican caucus with my wife. This was my first caucus, and as such, I was surprised by several observations:
The extreme represent. I quickly learned that those who were more passionate, more confident, and more outspoken were often chosen to "represent" our precinct as delegates, regardless of their stances. 60 seconds was hardly enough time to explain their views on anything. In the end, the popular, patronizing candidates won the vote every time.
Nice kids finish last. I'll be the first to say that politics is serious business (maybe a little too much business these days). To everyone else in the room, it was war. Sarcasm rolled from seat to seat. There was no optimism. Instead of uniting in mutual purpose, neighbors and friends searched for holes and defects among themselves. Those who tried to demonstrate optimism were quickly crushed and criticized
Planning a caucus is like planning a funeral. But worse. 80 of us were expected to sit on each others' laps in a kindergarten classroom. There weren't enough pencils. The secretaries couldn't count. Those who registered to vote had to reregister because of an online error. There was no clear agenda, no clear leader, and no order. I seriously questioned the validity and significance of the caucus.
A silver lining. Despite all the pessimism and discouraging rhetoric, I noticed something rather peculiar. Among all of those aiming to criticize and patronize, there was one person who stood out. Don's behavior juxtaposed that of his peers. He was respectful, kind, thoughtful, and active. He was torn to shreds on the spotlight, but people began gravitating toward him in between events. Don gave me hope.
I wasn't permitted to participate in the caucus. But my impact doesn't stop there. I plan to look for more Don's who are willing to make a difference by bringing others up, and I plan on joining them.