Monday, January 7, 2008

Window to the Iowa Caucus

Well, we made it home, just in time for the famous Iowa Caucus. This was my first one, and I still wasn't really sure what a caucus was! Somehow, I was supposed to be a "precinct captain" and convince people to vote for my candidate. Ok. I was nervous but oh well. The ironic thing is, my husband was the one who signed "us" up for it...but he decided to caucus for Obama instead! So, I nervously threw on my fluorescent yellow MITT straw poll shirt and headed out.

I had to park blocks away, the people overwhelmed the small parking lot of the local elementary school. I probably should have just walked from our apartment a few blocks away by the time I parked. There was a huge line inside but I found a small room for my University Heights district (a very small subcity within Iowa City). I was the only visible Mitt supporter there, with many Rudy supporters. I felt awkward and silly and not quite up to the task.

I signed in at the front desk, verifying my voters registration and timidly crawled to an open table. I hesitantly put up a few MITT signs. One man came up and asked me if I was the Romney lady and I said yes, I had some stickers? No thanks, he said. I realized it was about 6:50 pm and I had a list of people to call and remind to get there (by 7). I guess they all lived in the very immediate neighborhood and could make it but I felt embarassed, esp since everyone said they weren't coming (duh!).

I tried to be friendly as the room finally filled up to about 45 people. I jokingly asked if one college aged boy was voting for Mitt. He told me he loved Mitt, a lot (he emphasized this multiple times), but he wouldn't vote for him because he was a Mormon. "They are pretty wacked in their beliefs. They were definately cut from the wrong chain." ...awkward. I didn't know what to say. I asked him if he disliked Mormons (no they are fine, just wacked beliefs, etc) and if he thought it would affect the presidency, (no, just wacked beliefs, etc). Weird. I've heard that as an excuse but it was different to have it said to your own very Mormon face.

I didn't know how to respond. I didn't want to seem defensive so I let it go. I'm not sure what I should have done. Any ideas? It probably would have been good to tell him I was a Mormon so he would feel sheepish? If you said you weren't voting for Obama because he was black or Hillary because she was a women, people would think you were exceptionally nasty. Somehow, the Mormon things is still an okay prejudice. I don't get it.

Anyway, we talked over a few things as our little community group. We voted a lady in charge, took our turns to vouch for our candidates (of course Mitt had a very polished letter for me to read instead of a speech I had for myself--maybe he is a little too careful at times!), and voted on small strips of paper. I volunteered (by Mitt's instructions) to count the votes. We were such a small group we tallied them on the board. Mitt had a poor showing in our precinct, taking 4th. Oops, precinct captain!

We voted on a delegate to represent us at a regional meeting and submitted "planks" for the republican party. They collected money for the republican party, and then we left. Phew!

1 comment:

brenna said...

Wow-- that sounds pretty crazy, but it is cool that you were so involved. Four years from now, you'll be pro