Saturday, February 9, 2008

I Caucused!

Cau·cus [kaw-kuhs]

a. a meeting of party leaders to select candidates, elect convention delegates, etc.
b. a meeting of party members within a legislative body to select leaders and determine strategy.
c. (often initial capital letter) a faction within a legislative body that pursues its interests through the legislative process: the Women's Caucus; the Black Caucus.

I "caucused" today! I was a caucus virgin until 1pm this aftenoon. In the Democratic Party in Washington State, there is both a caucus and a primary election to nominate a presidential candidate. SO confusing. Why both? The caucuses matter, the primary election doesn't. The primary has been referred to as a "beauty pageant" and merely a "popularity contest." To begin, there needs to be more education and some serious clarification of this....

OK, moving on.

I felt so privileged to be a part of the caucuses today. The design of the caucuses is to bring together neighbors to discuss candidates and try to convince each other to vote for one or the other. Democracy in action. My favorite neighbor and I had differing opinions on whom should be the Democratic Presidential candidate. She was articulate in her speech and my already present respect for her escalated phenomonally.

Still, I disagreed.

And, it was OK! At first, I felt very nervous about the lack of anonymity in the caucus procedure. In every other election I've ever participated in, you go into the booth and complete the ballot in secret. Today, there were NO secrets. We all stood behind our candidates and had to answer for our choice. Some at my precinct's table were disappointed at the outcome. Others were elated. And, everyone seemed to leave friends.

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