For the first time I can remember, I feel anxious about the current political situation in the United States. Instead of wringing my hands about the whole deal, I decided I’m going to take my civic responsibilities seriously.
So, this year, I’m trying out precinct caucusing here in Minnesota. I feel like I’m experiencing a rite of passage, like I’m charting some previously unexplored part of adulthood.
For those of you in Minnesota, I encourage you to consider heading to your precinct caucus, too.
This might be weird, scary and new for you. I know it is for me! I feel a bit like a political pretender. Precinct caucuses seem strange compared to primaries. I’m just going to acknowledge this as awkward, and I don’t know all the rules going into the caucus system. But, like everything else in life, I’m just going to trust I’ll figure it out as I go. And I’m not going alone. So, that helps, too. Find somebody to go with you, if you’re nervous.
If you’re curious about what caucusing in MN might be like and aren’t a “just wing it” person (I’m sure not!), check out this MinnPost article.
I’m not asking you to caucus because I want you to vote for my candidate or join my political party! Nor do I think we all need to be aggressively promoting our favorite candidate, out canvasing, or getting sold out for whatever political party. If that’s your thing, by all means, go for it. It is NOT mine. Showing up to a precinct caucus doesn’t mean you suddenly have to a be a political die hard. And, really, I’m grateful for that!
Also, to be blunt, I don’t think Jesus really cares what political party you prefer. When it comes down to what God wants from us humans, I think it boils down to Micah 6:8: do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. There are Republicans AND Democrats who love Jesus and take his teachings seriously. Democrat and Republican Christians might disagree on interpretation or on social policy, but they still follow Jesus.
Further, I don’t even care what candidate you support! Well, that’s 95% true. Really, there’s only one candidate I absolutely fear getting elected. If that person becomes President, I might utterly lose what little is left of my faith in humanity. When did belligerence and blatant sexism become acceptable politically? I’ll stop there.
I like some candidates more than others, but I don’t think the country will suddenly turn into a hot mess under the vast majority of them. Even while I have a favorite, I can see why people like or support the rest. There’s logic I can understand for those choices.
We get to be part of this process, fellow Minnesotans. We actually get to have a voice in our government. This is a privilege and a responsibility! Regardless of our level of disillusionment with government and authority, let’s not take lightly the sacrifices that countless others have made for our freedom. Let’s not silence our voices. Not casting a vote means you’ve chosen to mute your voice.
And really, if you’re bemoaning U.S. politics for countless hours with anyone who will listen or posting political links or rants on Facebook/Twitter/Whatever-Social-Media-You-Prefer, show up at your caucus and actually physically support your candidate. Put your actions where your mouth is. This is an opportunity for you to have tangible influence and impact. Don’t squander it. (Though to be fair, showing up at your party’s precinct caucus may not be as satisfying if a candidate you particularly oppose is running under another political party.)
If you’re curious about where your precinct caucus location is, check out the MN Secretary of State’s caucus finder. To be clear, the Secretary of State is not involved in determining precinct locations. The parties themselves decide the locations on their own; the Secretary of State is just being helpful in letting us know where to find them.
Technically, with 10 days notice, employers are required to let you attend your caucus. If you miss out on the opportunity to caucus this year because of work obligations, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll get another opportunity to raise your voice on November 8th in the national election.
Also, for those wondering what to do with kiddos, you’re allowed to bring your kids with you to the caucus. Now, this may or may not work well for you, depending on your kids. If their temperaments permit, however, it could be a good way to teach them how elections work and how they could participate when they’re older. You normalize participation in elections that way, and it makes the process less daunting when they hit 18.