Since the whole country, if not the whole world, has been talking about the Iowa Caucus, and I happened to be in Ames, IA, my wife and I decided to visit one of the gatherings. We went to the Bethesda Lutheran Church on 1517 Northwestern Avenue. The parking lot was over flowing. Not being from Iowa, we were not sure if we would be even allowed to come in. But contrary to our fears we were wecome, but we were not given a ballot slip which we didn’t want anyway.
The main hall in the church was grand and serene. The tall brick walls were lined with countless small stained glass panels. Up in the balcony behind I could see huge organ pipes.
When we entered, the hall was almost full. We got to sit not far from the front rows. After a brief announcement and the formal election of a chair and a secretary for the session, the proceedings began. But first, envelops were passed around for fund raising.
Then people were invited to make brief comments in favor of one of the several candidates on the Republican roster. One gentleman came and spoke on behalf of Newt Gingrich, saying he wouldn’t vote for anyone else even if he were paid a thousand dollars. He was upset by the negative ads against the candidate of his choice.
A young man came and spoke highly about Ron Paul who, he said, was so different from the other candidates, and who would bring fresh ideas to Washington. How things change! The oldest candidate was favored by the youngest members of the electorate. Talk of generation gap!
A political figure from Texas, probably a senator from that state, came and appreciated the welcome he had received in Iowa, and went on to extol Perry. Not many people clapped.
There was a warm supporting statement for Mitt Romney who was described as the one with the greatest chance of defeating Obama.
One gentleman thought Senator Santorum expressed best the mood and spirit of Republicans today, he probably meant many Republicans in Iowa.
No one came forward on behalf of Michelle Brachman or John Huntsman: the right-most and the left-most of the candidates, I thought..
Then everyone marked their choice on the slip they had received. These were put it into one of several cardboard boxes with a hole that were passed around.
That was it: This group of Republicans gathered there had expressed their inclination for one candidate or another.
Thus I witnessed grass-roots democracy at work.
We returned home to get the latest news from IV on how things were going elsewhere in the city and the state.
January 4, 2011