ColorsNW – Dispatch from Precinct Caucus – Native Action Network

by Native Action Network –

This morning I woke up to the phone ringing followed by my seven year old son shaking my shoulder and whispering loudly, “Mom, the presidents keep calling you. They want you to do something.” Hmmm. It took a moment for me to wake up enough to realize that caucus day had arrived. Some folks look forward to Christmas; I look forward to elections.

I quickly jumped out of bed and made my way downstairs to put on a pot of coffee. “So, what did the presidents say?” I asked smiling at the thought of my son taking messages from the “presidents.”

“I don’t know. I was watching cartoons,” he said with a sheepish grin. Crazy kid. He later told me that if he could vote he’d vote for the “man.” I wanted to ask why, but figured that was a conversation better left for another time. I’m just glad he’s talking about voting at the ripe old age of seven.
Last night I tracked down my mother and sisters and encouraged them to get out to their caucus. To make things easy I even located their caucus sites for them so that all they had to do was show up. I followed up this morning with more phone calls and pleadings on the importance of the caucus. I’m so proud of them! They not only showed up; they actively participated in their caucus.

My sister in Auburn had no idea what to expect, but quickly took charge and helped organize her delegate elections and is now a delegate herself. When she stopped in her grocery store on her way home other caucus participants not only said hi, but engaged her in conversation. “Wow, no one’s ever talked to me in the grocery store before,” she commented in amazement. Now, she’s looking forward to her district caucus in April. She’s promised me that she’s going all the way to the national convention.

Over in North Seattle my mother and stepfather located their precinct table and got to know their next door neighbors whom they hadn’t talked to before. When participants spoke in support of their candidates my stepfather found himself standing up and speaking out for his candidate. He is now an alternate delegate.

“This was a great experience. I had a chance to witness just how excited everyone is about their candidate and now I know what this caucus is about,” my mom said. She’s really glad she attended and feels like she was a part of the election process.

I spoke to a friend in Kent and she said her caucus was well run and very well organized. She attended with her husband and daughter and both her and her daughter were elected as delegates.

The big surprise of the day came when I learned that my husband and friend are both supporting a different candidate from myself. In my husband’s case we were standing in line at our caucus when a woman offered us stickers and I declined. He, on the other hand, took several stickers and plastered them across his shirt. I have to admit I was more than just a little surprised. At the same time it’s not really an issue because when it comes down to what matters I’m just excited that everyone I know and care about is committed, involved, and actively taking part in our political process. YEAH!

All this excitement reminded of an email that someone sent in last week about the elimination of Urban Indian Health Care funding from the 2009 budget. The writer reminded me that the elimination of this funding was something that should have us all “protesting in the streets.” She’s right. This election process is just one component of the political process. There is legislation being decided on locally, statewide and nationally that impacts us all that deserves our immediate attention. So, let’s make sure that our participation continues long after the media loses interest. Let’s make sure that our voice continues to be heard throughout the legislative process.

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