Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Inside the fish bowl: Life in Iowa during Caucus season

I’m proud to live in a state that has such an important role in the presidential election. It is a rather wonderful experience to go to the caucus every four years and help to choose a presidential candidate and I look forward to that each time caucus season comes around again.
It is also quite overwhelming to live in Iowa during this time, especially for a sensitive soul and a mother with children. For months and months leading up to the caucus, our phones ring off the hook with political surveys and recorded diatribes, the television and radio ads are full of snarky, smarmy commentary about just how horrendous the “other” candidates are and our mailboxes are full of graphic mail full of unkind pictures of candidates with cruel commentary of all the mistakes that they have made in their lives.
There was a time when caucus season was not so overwhelming. We’ve always been deluged with advertisements, mail and phone calls- however, there was a time when the candidates used their voices to tell us about their own platform. That time has long past. We now spend precious minutes of our day listening to vitriolic attacks of one candidate on the others. It is emotional exhausting and depressing.
It is especially trying to experience these days as a mother. My younger children become filled with anxiety, wondering aloud if our country will ever be okay if any of these men or women become president because if one were to listen to everything that we hear, they each are the spawn of Satan himself. We are one of the archaic households that still has a home phone line and it has now been unplugged from the wall. We watch only programs off of the DVR so that we can fast-forward through the hateful commercials. We listen to MP3s instead of the radio. It has become imperative to shield our children from the hate even as we raise them to know the importance of the Democratic system and doing their civic duty and voting in every election.
I do not do my vetting of candidates from advertisements or even from the debates, which seem to no longer be a venue for the candidate to share his or her ideas for this great country but instead have snowballed into a place to throw barbs at one another much like inviting a group of playground bullies upon a stage.
I will educate myself about each candidate and make a decision, proud to use my voice in the caucus. I am grateful for that opportunity and am grateful for opportunity for the world to see how wonderful my humble, Midwestern state is.

However, at this point in the circus  that is Iowa during the caucus season- I will mostly be grateful for the process to be over. On Tuesday morning I will plug my phone back in, turn on my radio and watch television without worry of spewed hate swirling its way into the sanctity of my home. I will wish for a day in which our election season is returned to a day in which I hear about the candidates themselves without sickening malevolence towards each other. But, for now will be simply grateful to reclaim my loving home without the daily intrusion of venomous politicians and their campaigns.

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