FishDreamer scribbles: Howard Dean for President!

Friday, 6 February 2004

Vigil and the Caucus

It's the night before caucus and all through the house
Computers are humming, my hand on the mouse
We're going to stand up to vote and be seen
And hand over Washington's ballots for Dean.

Okay, I apologize. That was bad. We just got back from picking up our caucus stuff and talking to our district coordinator. It was interesting. He kind of assumed that because we're standing up for Dean, we're hard-core Democrats. This is not so, but I will deal with that after the caucus.

It was a long day at work. Mr D stayed home sick, so I didn't have anyone to chat with and I was kind of lonely. Everything is in that pause right before a big shift, and I am working hard on a bunch of stuff but my main focus is, of course, elsewhere. I so very much want to win this tomorrow. Everyone has already written us off, but I'm not willing to. I gotta believe, even though I live in Republican country. That could actually work in my favor, since most of my neighbors belong to a different party so they won't be there.

And tomorrow night, whatever happens, we'll be out getting drunk with the Dean team. (Let's not pretend it's a "party," it is a pressure release and a celebration and people will be getting hammered all over the place.)

Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Except that's not what happened.

I am of two minds about writing on the caucus. It was very interesting from a civics standpoint, and both frustrating and disheartening from a voter standpoint. (Or maybe I mean a Dean supporter standpoint.) We got there early, I helped sign people in while Mr D got busy with the caucus chair and setting up Dean posters. I got to see just how many people were signing in for Kerry, and how few for anyone else. We had more than 11 times the number of participants they had last time, which is good. I'm all for participation, even though it meant my guy didn't get as much of the vote as I'd hoped. In 2000, they had twenty people show up for 17 precincts. (Isn't that amazing? But then in 2000 we had a former VP running, so I guess there weren't as many candidates.) This time, we had 244 people.

My precinct had twenty people. Twelve signed in for Kerry, four for Dean, two for Edwards, and two undecided. After we all had a chance to speak, to persuade and argue and explain why we were supporting a particular candidate, we voted again. The end result was six for Kerry, five for Dean, five for Edwards, and four undecided. Mr D did all the math, and we ended up having one delegate for each. He's the Dean delegate, I'm the alternate. Our neighbors are the undecided pair. The Kerry people were fairly cranky that them having the most didn't get them more delegates.

I had a problem with them. The two most outspoken were this couple who I'm guessing were in their seventies. They both repeated everything negative about Dean I've heard from the media - he's angry, he's not electable, we have to beat Bush so I'm going for the guy who can win. Dean is volatile and unpredictable and angry. I told them why I think the Kerry supporters are in for a big shock if he wins the nomination (because the media has been throwing all their negative energy at Dean and anointing Kerry, but since the major media are all controlled by rich white republican men, come the actual election cycle it's all going at Kerry, and Kerry has a history of voting just like The Resident except he skips out on the funding votes so you can't hold that against him - and other things I didn't bring up). And I asked the woman flat out why she thought Dean was angry. She wouldn't look me in the face, nor would she answer. "He just is," was all I got. And then she and her husband looked at me and mine, and I knew there wasn't a damned thing I could do or say to get her to open her mind.

I'm too young, I look younger, and I am so very clearly smarter, better educated, and better informed. I not only had talking points for Dean, I had rebuttals for Kerry. Edwards is okay, I guess, but he accepted matching funds and therefore will not be able to compete. (You can only spend so much if you accept the federal campaign matching funds, and they will all have spent that much or nearly so by August, when the convention rolls around and the actual candidate is picked.) Plus he has no history or record of any kind of executive experience. Anyway, these people get their news from Fox and CNN, they are nearly twice my age, and they are not going to listen to a word I say. They will resent every moment of my time though, and they really got pissy that not only did we pull one of their people onto our team, we put two more in the undecided category.

I just hope that if Kerry goes down in a blaze of media fire for all those things that aren't being brought up now, they remember that and feel a tiny bit ashamed of their closed minds and agist behaviour. I can't count on it though.

It's been a long time since I've run into age prejudice like that, and I'd forgotten how awful it is. I'm a grown woman, I own my own home, I'm married, I have a good job and I am a contributor to society. I'm not used to being dismissed on account of my age. How do you combat that? I tried reason and persuasion and honesty, and I just got pursed lips and tight eyes. If any of you ever see me turn into that, please throw this into my face okay? Especially you, Mr D.

So we didn't win Washington. We did fairly well, but we didn't win. The people we were going to go party with were wiped out and not up for it. Mr D wanted to read. So I spent an hour on the couch with tears dripping down my face, from the frustration and hopelessness of the morning and the thwarted need for distraction. Eventually I put in Dirty Dancing to distract myself, and it mostly worked. But there's a whole bunch of prejudice in that movie and it got to me eventually. Mr D came down to watch and found me crying again. I was up until nearly three trying to tire myself out so I'd sleep, without going over every word and look and searching endlessly for something I could have done differently or better.

Sunday was okay. We went and watched my sister's kids, and that was fun. I've recovered from my disappointment. I'm moving forward and onward. I'm thinking about athletic things again. I got a new yoga video - Ali MacGraw: Yoga Mind and Body. I really like it. The teacher's voice is not as soothing as it could be - kind of nasal and with a strong midwestern accent. But it's good. It soothes me and works me and makes me feel better when I'm done. I've also been getting into the Tae Bo Cardio video. I do that when I need a good sweat but don't want to go running. It's pretty goofy, and some of these people take themselves a teeny bit too seriously. But goofy is better than boring, right?

So I'm going to turn off my monitor and go read a book, as soon as I upload this. I wanted to get this out so it would stop sitting right in front of me, a big roadblock. I want to write more, but I've been avoiding the caucus topic and that's kept me away. It's done now. Good night. I'll be back.

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