Today was Caucus Day in Washington State.
Until yesterday, I didn’t know what a Caucus was. I was simply pleased with myself for having already sent in my mail-in ballot for the State Primary and smugly felt that I had done my civic duty.
With a whim of curiosity about Caucuses, I found out that I was wrong to be so smug. I learned that in Washington State, the Democratic Party bizarrely totally ignores Primary results. If you want Delegates to represent your voice, you HAVE to participate in the caucus. The vote that I cast in the state primaries will do little more than add a minuscule drop of publicity to the candidate for which I voted. All of these interesting little political nuances are difficult to keep up with when you move often and are slow to update your residency.
Well…. I don’t like my vote to be rendered useless. I want my vote to count for something. So, after learning about how a caucus works, and finding out that it was the ONLY way for my vote to really mean anything, I determined that I would go today to fully ensure that I HAD done my civic duty.
Now, Husband also left for a detachment today. He actually left for the detachment twice, but that is a whole other story of Navy-wife angst. That meant, that if I wanted to ‘go caucus,’ I’d have to do it with my two darling cherubs in tow.
Now, lest you missed the last two posts, I’ll also add that we’re still getting over
the plague stomach flu around here. This morning after the upheaval of the ‘first’ good-bye to daddy including an early wake-up and sad crocodile tears, Little Miss had a little residual run-in with Phase I of tummy torment.
That presented me with a dilemma? Civic Duty? Or avoidance of the icy glares of the Court of Motherhood?
Given the information I’d gleaned about the importance of participating in the Caucus, and the fact that I like to give myself something to look forward to on days Husband has to leave us and ‘Caucusing’ was my treat of choice, I decided to risk the glares of mothers everywhere and take my recovering children out at naptime to cast my vote.
And I’m glad I did. It was…. kind of exhilarating to take part in politics in such a tangible way. I was sitting next to folks who live right down the street from me who felt as passionate, probably even more so, as I do about the importance of this election. I felt like I was digging deep into the soil of democracy. The Middle School cafeteria was jam-packed full of folks who also wanted their voices to be heard. And at the should-have-seen-that-one-coming remark of, “So…. how does it feel to be surrounded by Democrats for once?” hearty laughter erupted from all of us. Imagine that, I thought, there are more than a few of us up here on the ‘conservative north end’ of our little island.
That said, my initial rush of adrenaline and political glee was quenched some by the late realization that, though I had read on-line that I could sign-in and leave knowing that my vote would be counted, the leaders there today didn’t know that. So I stuck around for most of the long-haul.
Little Miss was alternately wiggly and droopy. She was overwhelmed by the crowded room full of people she’d never seen before who all wanted to know her name. She was tired, not feeling great, and wonder of wonders, hungry. Baboo was fussy, but flirting a lot–especially with the older gentlemen. Folks were giving me sympathetic looks all around. Dear elderly men who looked like a stiff wind would blow them over were sympathetically offering me their chairs.
And I hung in there. I did. Until, standing with my arms full of both of my children, two coats, and my car keys, I could do it no more. I looked desperately into the eyes of the civic-minded, but apparently not caucus-rules savvy spokesperson of my precinct and pleadingly asked her if there was anything more I needed to fill out or do to fulfill my caucus duties as an everyday normal old citizen.
I saw the look of recognition of my frazzled state flash through her eyes as she assessed my child-ful arms. She scanned through her official script, and not seeing anything further which would require any more action on my part, she mercifully allowed me to go.
I put Little Miss’s shoes and socks on (she’d shucked them in a howling protest), readjusted Baboo in my arms which felt as though they were going to fall off and trudged back to the Goobermobile thinking two things:
1) I am so thankful to live in the U.S. where I can be part of this process–where I can raise my voice of support for candidates who offer hope and idealism measured with practical ability in a crucial time for our country and our world, and how freaking cool was it that I got to rub elbows with like minded citizens who felt this same swelling of honor at the privilege….
2) There oughtta be a rule that you shouldn’t mix Politics and Naptime.