Shape the futureCaucus!

It’s easy to become disillusioned with politics. Maybe it’s our president, who has damaged American respectability, perhaps irreconcilably so. Maybe it’s Congress, the only governmental body with an approval rating lower than our dismal president’s. It’s probably a combination of both, coupled with the nagging feeling that nobody out there is really listening. We at The WEB share the average Iowan’s feelings about big party politics, and that is why it is so essential that all Ames High students who are able to participate in the upcoming Iowa caucuses do so. While the caucuses may appear to be just another manifestation of big-party machinery at a glance, they really represent an exciting chance for Iowans to make decisions about their leaders that can have far-reaching effects. Only 22% of Iowa Democrats registered to vote participated in the 2004 caucuses. This is an incredibly small amount of people, yet one that holds the power to make or break a candidate, as we did in 2004 with John Kerry. Caucusing is really the average voter’s opportunity to defy the often-problematic viability issue. Many voters grumble over having to support a candidate who doesn’t completely represent their views in the general election. Here and now, there is a field of over a dozen candidates to choose from. It is much easier to find a potential satisfactory candidate, and caucus support goes a long way in providing one’s particular candidate a chance for nomination in the general election. Actively participating in the caucuses, and all the media attention and celebrity visits they entail, can also help one make a more educated decision in the general election. In the last month, nearly all the major presidential candidates from each party have been in Ames, and there have been opportunities for citizens like us to ask them questions about important issues. Seeing a candidate’s response in person can be even more valuable than just hearing about their stance on something, because one can get a sense of their sincerity. It is also very valuable to have had some level of interaction with candidates early, so one can see what sort of differences there are in campaign promises when one is trying to appeal to the general public, rather than just party faithful. Developing an eye for these differences is essential in evaluating the integrity of one’s candidate. Finally, as cheesy at it sounds, we urge all Ames High students who are able to caucus to do so, because it is a meaningful way of participating in a democracy. It is our duty as young people to make sure that we have our say in deciding who becomes president. If normal citizens like us don’t, special interest groups will. The Iowa caucuses provide a unique opportunity to choose our leader, one that empowers the people who truly care about their country. Be a part of it.