This afternoon I was asked to be the precinct captain for my area for the Washington State caucus for the Democratic National Party. My husband and I were rather appalled when we accidentally realized a few weeks ago that our primary was being held on February 19th, but the Democratic caucus on February 9th would already have decided which candidate got all the delegates for the entire state. There is something just utterly wrong with this system, but that is the way it is done here so we decided to become part of the caucus delegation.
At first we couldn't grasp it and thought we had misunderstood the process, as we had been under the impression that our votes counted in the primary. They will not. Of course, it is still worth voting if there are other issues like school bonds, et cetera, on the ballot, but not having a say for a presidential candidate for my political party? If I have to crawl to that caucus site tomorrow, I will.
For some reason I thought my neighbors and fellow citizens would have already volunteered to be the precinct captain. You know that feeling that 'somebody' is going to do the right thing, the difficult thing, the thing I would normally be too lazy to do? I agreed to do it feeling terribly under-qualified as I am unfamiliar with the process, but in the end that is just another excuse for not wanting to spend my Saturday utilizing my political rights.
Then again, I get to give a one minute speech to try to convince other caucusers to vote for my candidate, Barack Obama, so that's the pay-off.
I thought quite a bit about what I would say in sixty seconds, as I am not noted for brevity. My words will be important as one caucuser moved to reconsider a vote for Hillary could help send one or even all nine delegates in my precinct to Obama's side. My husband told me not to worry about it. Just to get up and let my real, authentic feelings flow.
For a practice run, this is basically what I would like to say, although it probably won't even resemble my real speech:
Clearly both candidates would be good leaders but after the course this country has taken in the last twenty years, and particularly the last seven, the issue for me is electability. If the latest CNN polls are correct, Obama has a much better chance of beating McCain than Clinton does. I believe this to be true. About 20,000 supporters joined him at a rally in Seattle this evening, Governor Christine Gregoire endorsed his candidacy, he has momentum and it keeps getting stronger.
The bigger picture, however, is about unifying our country and changing the stranglehold corporations have on our government. Barack Obama has demonstrated he can think and speak inspirationally, run a campaign, attract republicans and independents and raise money from the little people like me. His authenticity comes across in his speeches, he is a man of many ideas and good judgment, a thinker, he respects women, particularly his wife, and as a bonus is a charismatic leader.
I think he can unite young and old, rich and poor, men and women, all races and ethnicities and make us proud to be Americans again. He's already inspiring millions and with your support he can become president. Imagine what it would be like to have a president who actually cared what you thought. That's the person I want for a candidate. That's the person I'll canvas for, telephone voters, stand on street corners and wave signs and even chance an Obama bumper sticker on my car.
In my heart I fear that we may only have this one chance to truly change history, and I want to be part of that change. I believe Barack will restore honor and trust to Washington, D.C. and I hope you'll consider caucusing for him.
Okay, so I went way over a minute and now it all sounds … not good enough, so I am going to take my husband's advice and speak from my heart. Wish me luck. I'll let you know how the caucus turns out in my precinct.