I was hoping for something.
Along with about 140 others, I arrived at the Community Center in Marion, Kansas for the state Republican caucus ready for action. As a history teacher and poly sci major, I’ve been to primaries and election but have never experienced a caucus. So I was pumped for some political fireworks.
The Romney representative loudly squaring off against the Santorum rep, with a little fingerpointing by the Newt guy. Maybe a few Michelle Bachman t-shirts hanging around. Some pointed questions and yelling by the Ron Paul folks. You know, some excitement.
But . . . nothing.
The county chair read letters from the Romney and Gingrich campaigns and that was about it. We all scratched an X on a piece of paper, dropped it into a box, and went home. The box wasn’t even locked or monitored. Pretty boring. But you know, maybe that’s the point. American democracy should be boring.
There were no armed soldiers monitoring the voting. I didn’t have to dip my finger in ink to prevent voter fraud. I wasn’t afraid of physical intimidation by opposing campaigns. And while it was much less exciting due to a lack of figurative fireworks, I liked the fact that actual explosives were nowhere to be found.
I do have one concern. I may have been one of the five youngest people there. Lots of gray hair. Nothing wrong with gray hair. I actually have some of my own. But the lack of young voters was fairly obvious. A recent article in the Wichita Eagle (and tons of other places) tries to explain this lack of interest.
Whatever the reason, we need to be doing a better job of preparing our kids to participate. Check out some of these tools:
- The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
- Kids Speak for America
(And not that you’re keeping track but I was part of the 252 Other votes. I’m sure that Rick, Mitt, Newt, and Ron are just super nice people but well . . . some would consider me to be a bit of a moderate. Other was really the only option I had.)