Friday, March 16, 2012

Grass Roots

I am not affiliated with any political party at present.  I feel like they're all leading us down the primrose path to destruction.  I have not been politically active for 30 years aside from regularly turning out to vote in the general elections.  I had been very active at one time resulting in a bad case of disillusionment.  I was disappointed in the system and also very disappointed in myself, who had become quite masterful at manipulating the system.  Discovering I was too foolish to have that much power I decided to bow out.

This week we heard a message from the First Presidency, read from the pulpit, encouraging us to be involved in the political process and to attend the Caucus of our choice.  As there is no independent caucus, I considered myself excused.  Then yesterday morning, I read the next article on my monthly journey through the Ensign magazine.  As is often the case, the article seemed pointed right at me.  It was called, of course, Follow The Prophet.

Normally, I go Home Teaching every Thursday night.  And had intended to do so this week.  Then I realized that doing so might hinder those I visit from attending the Caucus.  We had also been counseled by the First Presidency to cancel all meetings that might interfere with Caucus participation.  The dye was cast, I needed to follow the Prophet and leave my families free to attend, and I decided I'd better go as well.  Besides, I had often rationalized that I had not left the Republican Party, it had left me.  I still feel that way, but I realized that perhaps I was partially to blame for stepping aside and letting it go, to hell, without a fight.  So off to the meeting I went.

Early on in the meeting, which, by the way, was much better attended that they were in the old days, I learned that, due to my lack of affiliation, I could not vote or become a delegate.  I was okay with that.  I enjoyed the meeting.  The Precinct Chairman is a friend, very witty, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The chairman called for the nomination of delegates and within moments the County Delegates, were nominated, voted upon and selected.  I wondered how anyone knew who to vote for.  They are all good folks.  Most of them are active in my Ward or my old Ward.  I know them to be good people.  Is that how we choose our delegates?  My neighbor across the street is someone I admire, practically above all others, I could vote for her for that reason, but I happen to know she voted for Obama and that would not sit well with me, whether she's a good person, or not.

I decided to ask a question and was granted the privilege, despite my outsider status.

"I'd like to hear from the candidates, especially for the State Delegate, BEFORE, the vote."

"We don't do that at this level," the Chairman replied.

"Why not?"

"At this level we just share the opportunity around.  My Dad always said there are two things that shouldn't be discussed among friends, religion and politics."

Are you kidding me?  You don't want to talk politics at a political caucus?  I was incredulous.  I was about to protest when he pointed out that I was not allowed to speak in addition to being not allowed to vote.

Fortunately, I'd stirred up another rabble rouser or two who carried it from there.  One of them pointed out that he was interested in ousting Senator Hatch and wanted to know that the delegate he chose was like minded on the matter.  Makes sense to me.  I'd like to think the representatives I select will represent me, otherwise we might as well have a drawing rather than an election.  Ultimately, a compromise was reached and each candidate was given one minute to campaign for his or her election.  Hardly enough time to introduce themselves.  Somewhere, someone had written the rule that the meeting and its business must be concluded in one hour.

In the end, they chose a State Delegate who has yet to make up her mind about the Hatch issue and whose biggest delight the last time she served was a pile of free campaign T-Shirts to give her grandkids for pajamas.

Something tells me that this flimsy excuse for grass roots representation was not what President Monson had in mind when he encouraged me to go to my Caucus Meeting.  While I have made up my mind about the Hatch issue, the jury is still out about whether or not I should re-affiliate with the Republican Party.  I don't think my blood pressure could take many more such carryings on.
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