Dancing with the governor, and other moments

My grandfather just rolled over in his grave.

My grandfather just rolled over in his grave.

This past weekend, I was a delegate in the Thurston County Democrats Convention. It wasn’t the fact that I, the granddaughter who followed in his journalistic footsteps, participated in politics. As the political columnist for the Spokesman Review for many years, he probably would have been proud.

No, what really would have pissed him off is that fact I am a Democrat and my grandfather was a staunch Republican.

I will admit that I am not always active in politics. Sure, I registered to vote when I turned 18, but unless the ballot had something I viewed as important on it — a bond for my dad’s fire department or one for my former school district — I rarely got excited and voted unless it was a big election. I did vote in the last presidential election, and, along with many students at Western Washington University, wore black the day after, but outside of these small measures, I am hardly a political activist.

This year is different.

This year, I felt I needed to have my voice heard. I felt inspired and hopeful for the first time in quite a while about the direction of our country after listening to the words spoken by the senator from Illinois.

So this year, for the first time ever, I participated in the caucus.

On Feb. 9, I marched myself into my former elementary school, East Olympia Elementary, which looked so much smaller than I remembered it, especially crammed to the brim with many other first-timer caucus-goers.

For two hours we debated the choice of Hillary or Barack (for me, there really was no choice). My small precinct, 192- East Olympia, was split, 60-40 with Obama in the lead. However, since we had four delegates to send and sending a fraction of a person is rather difficult, we split our delegates 50-50.

The leader of our small group of donkey supporters then asked if anyone wanted to be a delegate, and after a quick glance that saw no one volunteering, my hand shot up. A few others followed my lead but I was now an Obama delegate.

This past weekend I continued my obligation to the presidential hopeful at the Thurston County Democrats Convention. After driving through snow (seriously, more snow in April?) to Capitol High School in Olympia I took my place as a delegate.

On a bleacher seat.

For the seven hours.

It didn’t take me long to realize that the political process wasn’t as glamorous as I had imagined.

Oh sure, it had its uplifting moments. For the first 20 minutes, I was filled with patriotic pride as I looked around at the nearly 1,500 delegates and alternates that filled the gym, the upper mezzanine and the small gym.

Along with many around me, I shook my Obama sign with pride during a clip of one his speeches.

I even stood up and danced with Gov. Christine Gregoire. And by “with,” I mean about 15 feet away, in the bleachers, one of hundreds, but that’s just details.

I felt moral pride when I, along with almost everyone in the gym, voted on a floor resolution that would send the message to the National party that the Thurston County Democrats want gay marriage rights and we want them now.

However, in the grand scheme of the day, these moments were a fraction of the time.

Most of the day was a lesson in the political process.

It took nearly an hour to approve the convention’s three-page platform. Everyone who suggested a change first elaborated on what a great document they thought it was. That hour’s worth of work resulted in the change of two sentences.

To fill the wait while the delegates’ votes were counted, we heard from nearly a dozen candidates for the kinds of positions that I probably wouldn’t have even voted for in years past. I dislike voting unless I have spent some time researching the candidates.

Resolutions first seemed so exciting. After all, how often do you get to debate whether or not you should start proceedings that would impeach a president? (We passed on that, by the way.)

We chose to concentrate on the upcoming election, put aside bitterness and work on moving the country forward. Oh, and to start criminal proceedings once Bush and Cheney are out of office. Bygones can’t always be bygones.

As the resolutions moved to the more mundane and hours since my breakfast ticked by more and more slowly, the meeting seemed to drag.

At last the final counts were in and it was time to elect our next level of delegates. My group of delegates, all from Legislative District 20, Congressional District 3, sat and listened for an hour as those passionate about wanting to attend the State Democratic Convention spoke of their undying devotion to Obama and the fact that they would never waffle.

I did not put my name down as a candidate to be a delegate this time. I had seen enough, and if these 30 men and women really wanted to attend an even longer session than this one, I would not stand in their way.

In the end, if I was asked, was it worth it? The answer would be yes, absolutely. Would I do it again? Probably not. Unless of course, another presidential candidate comes around who inspires my political passion at least enough to override my dislike of butt-numbness.

Kyra Low can be reached at klow@reporternewspapers.com or 391-0363, ext. 5052.