Lest I lose you to my verbosity, I shall dangle a bit of a preview......to the left is a glimpse of what I still promise to provide as soon as I can get Blogger to permit me to upload the rest of the photographic evidence of their visit.
After seeing my good friends' post about their experience with Democracy in Action ..... Unalaska style, I feel it is only fitting to post about:
Democracy in Action......Bethel Style!
Those who know me, or who have talked with me in the week since the announcements were first made on the one radio station that there would be a local Democratic Caucus, know that I have been very excited about this. Some of you have even received emails from me in which I talk about all the anticipation. Some of you have received emails in which I solicit opinions as to whether I should bring cookies or porkchops. Some of you received both.
The good news - what has me doing my daily cartwheel of glee - is that the actual experience far exceeded anything I could have imagined. I can't believe that I didn't discover this fine process until my thirties. My friends, I can't help but think that all primaries should be replaced by the caucus. The caucusing process might just be the key to restoring some genuine splendour and roots to American politics. It certainly did for me.
But the bad news is that I didn't bring cookies or porkchops. It is hard for me to admit this. Embarassing, actually. I brought, my friends, store-bought donuts. From Swansons. Go softly with me. I was sick the night before, and chained to my desk the day-of. The homemade contribution was, sadly, impossible. But the best news - and perhaps a contributing factor to why I so loved being a part of the evening - is that the Bethel Democratic Caucus was well-equipped with homemade foods - there was salmon dip, and bean soup, and a rice pot, and cookies, and salsas....and, yes, donuts. Noone knew how to get the coffee pots to brew coffee. But there was more than enough water to go around. The Obama table even brought fresh fruit and two veggie platters, and it was fun to see the kids running around, eagerly digging into a fruit bowl for apples.
The statistical summary of the evening is that the Bethel majority went for Obama. But there's always so much more to an event than its statistics and summaries, aye? There was quite a bit of debate, at the start, about how to determine the number of people in attendance. And then there was some debate about how to organize and assign corners so that the unexpectedly large number of attendees could stand in recognizable groups. Eventually, it was decided to divvy-up the room based on the 8 rafters in the ceiling to create 8 "stalls." And one person was assigned to each stall to hold up a sign of a different candidate. Most of the attendees were gathered in the stalls at the far ends of the room. There was a stand, however, in the middle of the room, for Kucinich. Sure, Kucinich has left the national presidential race. But he was still on the Alaska ballot. And a lot of people - seven or eight - decided to make a pitch for him. However, they did not have enough to meet the 15% requirement, and eventually those in the Kucinich stall had to disperse and select between the two candidates that did: Obama and Hillary. There was some banter across the room, and some stumping. Not alot, mind you. And I think it would have been better to have more. But there was some, and I definitely feel more involved in the political process for having witnessed it. Eventually everyone had staked their position and the numbers were counted. I don't remember the exact number of people in each camp, but I think it was something like 58 for Obama and 38 for Hillary. Ultimately, 8 Bethel delegates will be sent to the state convention to vote for Obama, and 5 for Hillary.
Unlike my good friends in Unalaska, I didn't get any photographs of the actual caucus. Fortunately, though, my buddy Tom did and it looks like he may let me post them here.
While I wait for them .......
I recommend listening to the local radio's coverage of the evening. I can't provide an actual link to the actual story, but I'm hoping that if - a little bit after Thursday morning's news - you click here and then click on "English news", it will include the story and interviews from the caucus. (It's my humble opinion, of course, but I do advocate for setting an alarm just to be sure you get to hear it!)
And here are some pictures of the context for the evening to tide you over until I get to post Tom's pictures.
Here is the flyer announcing the caucus.
Here is a picture of the outside of the Imaculate Conception Church, where the caucus was held. I took it from the steps outside of Swansons, when I popped in to buy the donuts.
Here is a close-up. Do you see the map to the caucus?
The crowd starts to arrive...........
And here is Puck, at the end of the evening, playing politician. For the record, I did not take my dog to the caucus. But, with Pamela as my excuse, I felt like this would be a good way to sneak in a cute picture of him.
And here is a photograph that symbolizes a very big and earnest thank you to some very good friends out in the Aleutians!(p.s. - are those MickeyD burgers at your caucus?)