Democrats caucused this evening at Kiowa Middle School for precincts 2, 3 and 13. Once upon a time the Dems were thick as thieves in these parts. I went down to KMS tonight hoping to catch a glimpse of a few of the old guard from those times perhaps showing off a bit of their old leftist activism. I had my note pad and pen ready. I had a recorder in my pocket in case the debate got hot and heavy and I couldn’t keep up with handwritten notes.
I arrived moments before the scheduled start at 7:00 p.m. I had expected to slip in the door at the last moment as an observer, perhaps even go unnoticed as I took a seat in the corner while sliding my recorder out, turning it on, adjusting the input volume, and hoping no one would be alarmed by the blinking red recording light that would indicate the unit was capturing a form of speech it had never before captured.
I was hoping against hope that I might glean some insight, some clue about this weird sect of humanity that has given me so much consternation through the years while providing me with an unfathomably deep pool of sophisms to rebut, refute and report. In the spirit of Dian Fossey, I was about to mingle with the gorillas in their native environment. Perhaps I would find out something about my own distant genetic past before a couple of large union goons rose to escort me out of the room. I was ready to deliver my plea about the 1st. Am., political speech and public meetings, and to have it fall on deaf ears as they manhandled me into the cold night, away from the secret knowledge of their enclave. I was emotionally prepared for the arbiters of transparency to pull the curtains shut on me as they cast me out.
To say the evening was anti-climactic probably raises the bar for an anti-climax to a new height. I was definitely not prepared to be the first attendee to show up. Nor was I prepared for a very pleasant Patty Sward to greet me and welcome me to stay. This was at 7:00! Patty and I. And Patty’s not even a resident of one of the subject precincts. She had volunteered to conduct this caucus because there was no one else to do it.
Well, it was about to be a very strange caucus between a non-voting volunteer and an observer from the other party when a couple of nice ladies showed up, Janine and Lark I think. Ahhhh! Real local Democrats had arrived!
Well, the whole thing was over almost as soon as it began with the 2 Democrats, 1 volunteer, and 1 conservative blogger observer. No goon squad, no activism, and not a single note on my pad. When it became clear that nothing political would be discussed I offered to leave the caucus because I didn’t want my presence to chill their political speech. But they assured me that was not the case and that I was welcome to stay. And that was about it. They filled out some delegate paperwork, the ladies took their leave, Patty and I shared some parting thoughts, and the Precinct 13 Democrat Caucus was over.
You know, it wasn’t my place to confront them with opposing views at their caucus, nor was it even my place to speak at their caucus, so I did not confront them. Nor did they seem too interested in airing out any prototypical issues from their side. I could speculate about reasons for this but it would be pure speculation. They were very nice, you know, people I would be happy to call friends.
And I respect that they represented without guile their political preference, even though they didn’t care to get into it in much detail.
Perhaps more importantly, I have to conclude that everything I’ve said in the past about the Republican Party in Elbert County being used as a flag of convenience for the great majority of local leftists has been proved correct. There may only be a handful of Democrats in Elbert County, but it’s simply not plausible that there are so few leftists in Elbert County.
This points to a glaring problem with the Elbert County Republican Central Committee Bylaws which are framed from the perspective that all local Republicans are bona fide Republican. Now I have proof this is not true. Still, ECR executive members are bound to support without prejudice all Republican candidates, notwithstanding the real nature of those candidates.
This is a thorny problem. The current system tolerates, even encourages this gaming. To those of us who’ve had a few years to observe the game, it’s fairly obvious. My guess, however, is that many if not most county assembly delegates — the people who will place the next commissioner candidates on the primary ballot — may not appreciate the full spectrum of political preferences represented by their Republican candidates.
In this game, the labels “Republican” and “Tea Party” cannot be counted on to mean conservative. Perhaps the Republican Party Bylaws can be amended before the next election so that the local GOP can no longer be abused as a flag of convenience. Solving this problem, while preserving the power of the delegates’ voting franchise through the county assembly, should be a priority for the ECR Central Committee.
Elbert County has a perfectly viable Democrat Party and it should be used as such. Political questions are meant for resolution in the public square, not the stealthy back channels that Robert Rowland advises.