We live in an amazing land, a great nation. We live in a Republic (A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of
state are elected or chosen by elected people …In modern republics such as the United States, the executive is legitimized both by a constitution and by popular suffrage) a democracy (exercised indirectly through elected representatives). We are blessed to live in one of the few places on this earth where the citizenry (meeting a few very basic requirements such as age) have a meaningfully say in the leadership and activities of their government.
Say what you will about money and lobbyists, at the end of the line if you are over 18 and not a felon you and I both go in a private voting booth and the results of that secret ballot are actually respected. We make a real choice, in state and national elections there will be more than one name on the ballot (smaller local elections might not, but not due to the sitting governments’ long arm). The winner of the secret ballot you and I submit in fact gets the job; no fuss, no blood and no questions. The transfer of power, even at the highest levels, is as routine as one teacher packing a box and leaving a classroom and another teacher walking in. Standard routine, expected; no blood, no fuss, no guns, no fear of reprisal. Every four years this nation elects a President, new or not; and if that President is not new then that is their last term. This reality, that we take for granted, is remarkable in comparison with most of the other nations even today in 2011.
As home educators, my husband and I carry a special responsibility to ensure our boys truly understand the remarkable and powerful certainty that is the voting booth; the peaceful transfer of power in this great nation. We must ensure the boys understand the process; from caucus/primaries in January of one year all the way though to the Inaugural Speech in January of the next year. The boys need to understand exactly how that man (or woman) standing on that platform that cold January day actually “got there”.
The boys are young; I do not expect them to be quoting the numbers Electoral College votes each state has up for grabs; but I DO expect them to understand there IS an Electoral College and the popular vote does not directly elect the President.
Here in Iowa we are blessed to observe and be part of the process in a very real ‘hands on’ way. Iowa caucuses on the county level, in fact on the district level “below” the county.
The Iowa caucuses operate very differently from the more common primary election used by most other states (see U.S. presidential primary). The caucuses are generally defined as “gatherings of neighbors.” Rather than going to polls and casting ballots, Iowans gather at a set location in each ofIowa’s 1,784 precincts. Typically, these meetings occur in schools, churches, public libraries and even individuals’ houses. The caucuses are held every two years, but the ones that receive national attention are the presidential preference caucuses held every four years. In addition to the voting and the presidential preference choices, caucus-goers begin the process of writing their parties’ platforms by introducing resolution ….. the Iowa caucus does not result directly in national delegates for each candidate. Instead, caucus-goers elect delegates to county conventions, who in turn elect delegates to district and state conventions whereIowa’s national convention delegates are selected. Ironically, the state conventions do not take place until the end of the primary and caucus season: Iowa is in fact one of the very last states to choose its delegates……………Additionally, 17-year-olds can participate, as long as they will be 18 years old by the date of the general election. Observers are allowed to attend, as long as they do not become actively involved in the debate and voting process.
People in Iowa literary sit down with the person next door and have a say in who their distract supports, who their county supports, who their state throws its numbers behind at the National Convention; how much more “by the people” can you get?
Since the Iowa caucus are the first is the nation; January 3 this year, we are lucky enough to get to see and hear all the candidates. Being so early in the process very few hopefuls will have dropped out before trying the water inIowa. Furthermore most of the candidates will hit all 99 counties in Iowa because a strong showing inIowais a powerful and much desirable flower for the lucky front running candidate. Iowa is a place to meet the candidates, not just to be “spoken at”. It is a place to eat with them, to hug them, for your children to share secrets with the candidates.
In an effort to lay a solid foundation for our boys regarding the Electoral Process from roots to the remarkable end, we have made an effort to take the boys to meet / see some of the people that are pounding the pavement in hopes of getting the National Republican Bid to run in Nov 2012 vs. Barack Obama. Our boys having actual impressions of these men and women, real life moms (Michele Bachmann is the mother of 5 biological children and mother to many other foster children) and dads (Rick Santorum is the father of a homeschooling family) – we hope will add a personal touch to the “flow chart” as we learn about the process now and in the years future. These people are not faces on a TV and names in a book, they are humans (Michele Bachmann is 5 inches shorter than their mom) that the boys will have met.
Dec 28th we took the boys to Winterset Iowa to see Michele Bachmann speak. Michele was actually born in IA herself. While she was at the Winterset stop (on her 99 county campaign) she was interviewed for the O’Reilly. Big Brother, Little Brother and I were asked to stand behind Michele during her interview. Big Brother actually got to sit right by her at the café counter. We had a long time, at least 15 minutes, of standing / sitting perfectly still and quiet as we waiting for the show to be ready her. At one point Michele Bachmann actually turned to Big Brother and talked to him, tickled him a little and the two of them shared a secret. After the interview Big Brother told Mrs. Bachmann that his daddy had a hurt ankle and the candidate asked to meet him. Our family got to spend about 5 minutes, sitting in a café booth, talking with Michele Bachmann and have a family photo taken. As she left, she told Big Brother “Ok I remember our secret” and Big Brother still has not told Daddy and I the secret.
No matter who stands on that stage in Jan 2013 and makes the next Inaugural Speech; and no matter who is elected in 2023 (the first election Big Brother will be able to vote in) – I am sure the boys will both have more personal feeling regarding the entire process.
A few links for you to look at: