On another trip back to my homeland of Iowa, I thought I should take the opportunity of being here to document a little bit of history while the caucus[wiki] happened yesterday.
With my camera in tow, my nephew drove Rebecca and I around town to check out a few of the locations where fellow caucus goers gathered to chat politics, hear from some representatives of the presidential candidates, and eventually circle the name of the person they want to represent the Republican Party in the 2012 election.
As a non-resident of the state, I can’t participate in this event, but this is the state by which I vote in federal elections in the U.S.
Walking into one caucus location, the woman just looked at us and said, “Alright, let’s do this. Who are ya and where do you live?”
I just told her that we were there to observe but also pointed to Rebecca and said, “Don’t live here.” (I’m a long time independent voter in terms of party affiliation, but for some reason, the last time I registered to vote by absentee, my registration card came back as Republican, even though I know that box for independent was checked.)
The only locations big enough to hold multiple large gatherings of people in this area are churches, and ascending from the basement where you register, it was easy to see why the woman at the front door was anxious to get our paperwork all in order. Seating was just at capacity with a few people standing at the back.
This is where everyone gathered to hear people speak on behalf of the candidates running in this caucus, but only a maximum of two people per candidate could speak for just a few minutes. If you had something to say, all you had to do is raise your hand and speak your mind as to why people should pick the person you wanted other people to vote for.
At the end of the evening, it was very easy to see and hear how many people were passionate about this caucus, the last speaker almost yelling at the crowd to vote for the person who will remove Obama from the White House as he waived his cane in the air.
As people broke off into smaller groups to actually make their vote, the battery life in my camera blinked empty. Shortly after all of the pieces of paper with one name circled were collected, we made our way back to the car and chatted about what we witnessed.
I’m glad Rebecca got to experience a small slice of Americana like this. Small towns and politics run almost hand in hand, and the way it happens can be like a thunderstorm in the heart of summer. The clouds will suddenly turn violent and rain down destruction, only to turn sunny and calm in a matter of minutes. But then you also know, another storm will eventually come along. It’s just a matter of when.
All of my photos can be found in this flickr set.