Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It's All About the Timing

It was around 7 P.M. last night that I started to get antsy. My friend still had not arrived and there were already reports of traffic jams and long lines around precinct caucus locations from the local 6:30 P.M. news programs due to a record turnout.

At 7:18 P.M. I hear a faint rap at the kitchen window and the dog, (a 3 year old Beagle named Sausage, abandoned to me by a client on his way to serving a 28 day jail sentence and, for reasons that were to become obvious, never returned for) began his staccato warning bark/howl. “Do we still have time for a quick bevie? Oh what the hell.” We pour a couple of tall, stiff screwdrivers (in honor of the Bush Admin.) from the half full jug of Absolute my friend gave to me for helping him win his taxi cab dispute with a disreputable character from his homeland and quickly pounded them in our heads. “Ready? You driving? Let's Roll...”

We quickly make the 5-block trip to our precinct caucus location, the local United Methodist Church. We knew it would be crowded when we noticed the lack of street parking more than two blocks away from the church. I tell my buddy to turn right and start heading north, away from the street the church is on, when I notice a steady stream of people leaving. Obviously many of those foolish enough to arrive at the designated time of 6:30 P.M. had had their fill of the cheap brand diet pop, bagged junk food and political activist company and were making bee lines for their cars.

“Hold on!” I shout. “There's one right across from the church!” My friend tries to back up from his nearly executed right turn but it becomes apparent there isn't enough room for his converted taxi, now passenger car to park. However, we quickly spy another spot just around the corner, park and make our way like spawning salmon through the oncoming stream of leaving presidential preference voters and enter the church.

Downstairs in the church's basement we are met by a greeter who asks us if this was our usual voting location, which it is, and were asked to step to our right and into a room that looks like it has seen its share of post funeral, hot dish dinners. We quickly register and I cast one of the 2 votes for John Edwards in the presidential straw poll balloting. We later learn, at the end of the night, that in our precinct Obama garners 184 votes to Hillary's 88 in a sampling that would pretty much accurately reflect the statewide vote which only a week ago favored Hillary by about 7% and had now broke heavily for Barack.

We grab the very last two folding chairs in the back row and at approximately 7:45 P.M. settle down to hear the agenda for the evening. We promptly elect the MC our precinct chair and other mundane pieces of business before we got to the red meat of the evening, our state senate district convention delegate election. These delegates would be the people to choose the delegates for the state convention where the party endorsement for the U.S. Senate seat will be decided.

After a reading a short statement from the party encouraging minorities and those historically underrepresented to participate, the floor is opened up for those willing to serve as one of the 36 delegates our precinct is allotted. My left hand shoots up while at the same time my right elbow nudges my friend, the only person of color in the room. With a head nod I encourage him to raise his hand for a position he had told me just a minute ago he was reluctant to
volunteer for. Before we know it we are elected delegates! Talk about timing.

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