Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Excuse me, I caucused.

Caucus sounds like a dirty word, doesn't it?

I got home a little while ago after my electoral evening. As of this writing, CNN projects Hillary the winner of Ohio, but Texas is still up in the air.

As I mentioned yesterday I had a hard time deciding between Obama and Clinton. I consulted friends who had done their research (lazy, I know) and I read this blog entry. (Thanks for the link, Patita.) And I was still undecided, despite all the pro-Obama stuff coming my way.

After work I had to fight traffic and head down to South Austin, since I'm still registered at my parents' address. By the time I left work, I had decided to vote for Hillary, partly because of her health care stance, but mostly because of some gut feeling. With the candidates touting such similar platforms, I felt like this was the best way to go.

I brought Strangling Vines with me, which was not an ideal project for standing in line, considering the counting involved. I had to unknit (or "tink") several times.

The line to actually vote was pretty short. I only worked one row before it was time to dig out my ID. I was actually starting to feel a little resentful. It felt almost like there was peer pressure to vote for Obama, as if he was the popular kid. But at the same time, his popularity may make him the strongest candidate.

That's about the time I saw our neighbors down the street walk in. My family has known Johnny and Yvonne for years. Yvonne came up and hugged me and ask if I was going to Caucus. I said I didn't think so because I was undecided, which sounded stupid considering I was about to vote in less than five minutes. She said she had to tell me something to help me decide. We debated whether or not to step outside. Finally she whispered in my ear.

I was expecting another Obama endorsement, but instead she said something about needing a woman if we're ever going to get anything done. I forgot her exact words, but the important thing was that I suddenly felt confident of my choice. I had to move up in line and I told her I'd meet her when I was through.

I had to fill out a voter registration card, change my address, yada yada yada, and then I voted. I admit I skipped most of the other races, but that's probably more responsible than voting for people I have never heard of.

Then I joined Johnny and Yvonne down the hall, in line for caucus. I hadn't planned to caucus, but Yvonne gave me the confidence to stand by my decision. I'm lucky I ran into her.

Johnny and Yvonne were in a hurry to leave by 7:30, so they made it a point to be first in line so they could sign in and leave. Apparently, signing your name under the right candidate is what matters. You really don't need to stay for the rest unless you want to be in the running to be an actual delegate.

I worked more on Strangling Vines and the line grew behind us. The head of the precinct said he had never done a caucus with more than about 10 people. We had a line out the door, and we changed rooms twice, ending up at the theater. The polling place was at a middle school. Johnny teaches there, so he lead the way.

They had to wait until the last vote was cast before we could go in and sign in. Finally, we were instructed to get in two lines, one for Clinton and one for Obama (There was actually a third line for other candidates and people who were undecided. I didn't see anyone in that line.)

There was a little trash talk, but all in good fun. "Isn't it funny that the Clinton line is on the right and we're left," one Obama supporter said. "That's because Clinton is right," I responded.

I signed in just after Johnny and Yvonne. I considered staying, but decided it was time to go home.

I just checked CNN again, and they are projecting Hillary the winner in Texas, although it is close.

Whether Obama or Clinton wins, I'll be ready support the democratic candidate when the time comes. I think we have two strong candidates, and either one will serve us well.

It's good to have choices.


Cobbalicious said...

I had loads of fun at my caucus, too! I was tempted to stay, but the line was out the door and down the sidewalk, and I didn't feel like staying that long.

I didn't bring any knitting with me -- oddly enough, none of my projects are portable just now -- but it didn't matter. I ended up talking with people the whole time anyway.

BerkeleyBecca said...

Our household is split--I voted for Obama as a second best to John Edwards, who I felt betrayed me personally by dropping out before Super Tuesday. It's going to be a interesting spring and summer.

And "caucus" is a really weird word.