2012 Caucus- Pure Awesome

I went to caucus last night, held at the local high school. As Precinct Chair I was running the meeting. My first time at it. Last year it was around 24-29 people in attendance so we planned for sixty people on the outside. I arrived early, around ninety minutes before the meeting to review the written instructions I received and make the the nuts and bolts (eg ballots and pencils) were in place.

Inside my own mind I was conflicted for weeks whether to run or not. The day before I had decided not to run for anything except in the case where it was needed or wanted for some reason.

Fifteen minutes before the meeting was to start (at 7pm) we had about twelve people. I thought to myself, great so far so good. By the time the meeting started there were at least fifty people crammed into the classroom with more coming in. I started right on time to the minute, explaining that the main objective was to elect the nine officers with a careful eye towards legitimacy:

Precinct Chair
Vice Chair
2x State Delegates
4x County Delegates

About ten minutes in I found out that there were another sixty people outside in the hall! What now? I had everyone line up in the hall, clearing the room, then double-checking to be sure everyone was credentialed. The vice chair, secretary and assistant were all triple teaming this laborious effort. Momentarily we were outside while a few scouts tried to find another room. Thankfully, the wresting room was open. So we filed into this mini-gymnasium covered with red padding and ring marks. On one side three tiers of carpeted shelf-bleachers, just enough for the approximately one hundred eighty bodies all told including observers.

Think of that, nearly five times the attendance of the previous year. There is an awakening in the land!

Now I'm in my natural element, in front of a group of people. And I thank the hand of providence which seemed to strengthen my voice and keep me from saying anything profane or stupid. I have some strange mental thing where I don't get nervous in front of crowds. In fact, quite the opposite I come alive like a ringmaster.

There was a great spirit of cooperation and comraderie in the room. There were ten nominees for the two state delegate offices which is a lot and quite highly contested. The second office was a dead tie which according to the rules is broken by the flip of a coin. When I asked for a coin (joking that all I had were hundred dollar bills) a marine in the audience threw me his company coin (?), a heavy and battered disc. I had the two nominees come out to the center for the toss. The setting (a wrestling ring) completed a memorable moment.

Between rounds of balloting an older lady called me over and asked why I wasn't running for anything. It's not uncommon for a precinct chair to run for a second term (two year terms). I explained that I think it important to take a cue from George Washington: do your service then step down. I had decided before the meeting to let others have a chance.

When it came time for nominations for county delegates that same woman nominated me! I was stunned, but accepted the nomination and took the line with the eight others. We got to each make a one minute speech, then questions, then voting. We were asked who we would vote for president. Romney down the line with one "undecided" but me with "I've had a Ron Paul sign up for six years" Side note: my math is off, it's just over four years. I seriously thought I wouldn't get one of the four slots, and I would have been fine with that, but I did. It was a tie for fourth!

Again with the coin toss, the coin went up, called, then rolled in a long arc across the mat and then into a crack between sections! On the second toss I won it.

All told I was there for six hours. I finally got to bed around midnight and the adrenaline has me up and running at 4am again. Hauling all my tables and chairs out to my van afterwards, I felt bad for the other person who lost out, but then it hit me: in the excitement I had forgotten to vote for myself which would have broken the tie anyway.

I am stoked for County Convention. I'm excited about some of the state senate and congress races. I already have some things in mind for how I'm going to do it better this time.

I don't know how it is in other states, but politics in Utah is a load of fun. It is conducted politely and in a dignified manner. I wouldn't miss it for the world.



blogger templates | Make Money Online