I said the pledge of allegiance this weekend alongside 100 of my neighbors. The sound of our voices reciting the pledge in unison, with hands on hearts, gave me goosebumps. I was attending my first caucus and I was excited.
My daughter attended with me and we walked to the caucus site, a few blocks from our home, at the local middle school. We preregistered so all our paperwork was in order when we arrived. We were given name tags and directed to our precinct table, a long cafeteria table with benches. We made fast friends with the twenty or so folks in our precinct. I recognized a few of my neighbors and folks I’d met out on the walking trail – there were smiles and waves from across the room. My daughter saw some familiar faces too.
The caucus was scheduled to begin at 10:00 am, and right on schedule the Caucus Chair, a young man with a big voice, rose and welcomed us to the Washington State Democratic Caucus. The room erupted in cheers. He read a welcome statement and reviewed the process with us. Each precinct would need to elect a chair, a secretary and someone to tally the votes. He reviewed the agenda and said that if we stayed on schedule we could be done as early as 11:30 a.m. The caucus would officially begin at 10:30. He pointed to the far side of the room and announced that they were serving coffee – Starbucks coffee, and snacks! I needed caffeine – not really, but I never turn down Starbucks coffee!
At 10:30, we elected a precinct chair, a secretary and a tally person. We passed our pledge sheets to the Chairperson and waited for the initial tally. We had a couple undecided folks who asked questions – wanted to know why we supported one candidate over the other. Several people spoke – eloquently and passionately. I spoke too. I hadn’t planned on it – sometimes its better that way. I spoke from my heart, about the kind of America I want to live in and leave for my children and grandchildren. I spoke about how no one should ever tell you that your dreams are too big, or that it can’t be done. Our only limitations are those we set for ourselves. The table cheered after my impromptu speech. I blushed. The undecided were now decided and we were ready to elect delegates to the Legislative District Caucus.
Our Chairperson asked if anyone was interested in serving as a delegate – initially no one raised their hand…but my neighbors pointed at me, the fellow behind me whispered, “You go, represent us.” I raised my hand. I looked at my daughter and she volunteered as an alternate. Two 18 year old High School students, who I’d come to know, raised their hands, and our precinct chair said she’d go too. We had our four delegates! Our table cheered – other tables around the room cheered too as their delegates were selected – some even started chanting. You could feel the energy in the room!
We filled out our golden tickets, posed for a photo and exchanged contact information. New friends were made, bonds were formed, walking dates set. We had just participated in our American democracy – peacefully, as a community. I was so happy that my daughter was there to share the moment with me. The caucus adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
I’m proud to be an American!