Tonight, I atteded my Democrat precinct caucus. I've never been to one of these before, so I didn't know what to expect. My other half wanted to come, but issues at home kept him from being able to attend. So...I head there on my own.
First of all, let me say that sometimes I think the political process is designed to take all the interest/passion out of people. We spent way too much time talking about our procedure, and very little discussing any issues...and it's mandated to be that way.
Somehow, I found myself at a table with a bunch of other clueless young adults. We spent a lot of time a)looking confused, b)exchanging expressed giggles at the conversation, or c)telling the moderator where he had last left his notes or important documents, which was then followed by a suppressed giggle.
I had no intention of involvement beyond attendance at this caucus meeting. At the meeting, they told us that our caucus could elect 46 delegates and 46 alternates to the Senate Precinct Caucus (or whatever it's called). We were then informed that there were 43 people present at the meeting. Hmmm. Interesting. One woman had a fit because we were holding separate elections for this Senate District, City, and County. Apparently, before the Senate District people also attended the City and County meetings. She was sure riled to find out that the rules had changed. In the end, we decided that we would go around the room with the sign-in sheets. Then, people could volunteer to be a delegate or an alternate. When they came to me, I didn't want to look like someone who didn't want to do anything (which is exactly what I was/am), so I said I would be an alternate.
Of course, it came around that there were 36 delegates and 4...COUNT THEM...4 alternates. Of course, we accepted all the delegates and us four alternates. Someone asked how we would rank the alternates. Huh? Guess what, the alternates just because delegates! Crap. Now I have to do something.
We finally got to the exciting part...the resolutions. Yet, we found a way to take the excitement out them as well. The first two resolutions were about procedure. Procedure! What about the issues? Well, we finally came to the issues. They were pretty much issues that I agreed with (against torture, supporting sex education, etc), but they were not my passion issues. I wondered if I would be one of those people who idly stood by while my passions were ignored.
I got a moment of inspiration, so I asked to borrow a scrap of paper from someone else at my table. I hastily scribbled a resolution on it, and raised my hand to present. Then (with my heart pounding), I stood up and read my resolution. I didn't have time for any "whereas" statements, so I just dove into it.
Be it resolved that the DFL actively oppose any constitutional amendment that would only define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
For the first time, the group cheered. There had been enthusiastic nodding for other resolutions, but this one finally got the crowd excited. I just stood there and nodded, dumbly. There was no speaking against the amendment. When we voted, only two people voted against (although one of the votes was from a man wearing rainbow suspenders).
For the remaining resolutions, there was applause. We live in a progressive area, so this didn't shock me too much. We came out against torture, we supported housing programs, etc.
So, I participated. It certainly wasn't a perfect experience, but I do feel good about my action. Now, if I can just get out of that next meeting...