By John Yarrington
We in Utah are in a very unique position. We are one of only seven states no, I believe, who employ the caucu system of grass roots politics. In short, most of our nation employs the primary system for deciding who will compete in the main election. That leaves the elections to those who can buy the most publicity, or are the most appealing, physically and verbally, hardly benchmarks for quality representatives of the people. We, on the other hand, have the unique opportunity to meet in caucus meetings and participate intimately, at the very heart of the process.
The theory is that the voters in a precinct will intelligently choose from amongst themselves, delegates that are somewhat savvy on the issues of the day, are moral in their character, understand the Constitutions, support the platform, and will represent their constituents honestly. In practice, however, too often anybody who shows up gets the jobs, no one shows up at all, allowing another set of individuals with an agenda to fill those positions with whomever they please, or the process gets hijacked by groups with an agenda. These results are the product of apathy, and lack of understanding, and are morally unacceptable. The backlash of this lack of character is that convention after convention has been shut down early in the day, because those with narrow agendas have finished their single item business, and walked out by the hundreds. Far too often quorum has been lost and little business has been conducted.
I hope all who read this can understand the danger here. Our Founding Fathers said it best, “This form of government is wholly inadequate for any but a moral people.” It can be perverted by those who lack character. We, as a people, have a choice. We either wake up to our duty, and pending danger, or we lose our liberty.
I have been going to caucuses and conventions for ten or more years, and I learned just before this year’s, that several more entities/organizations were joining the two, who have for the last six years, already been mobilizing their people for this hijacking. I wondered what must be done. I could certainly join them, and mobilize the organization that I heard up, but I realized that I had never yet voted a personal or organizational agenda, and I wouldn’t be starting this year. I prefer to look in the mirror, and like the person looking back. We should be extremely concerned that the people’s rights, delineated in, and protected by the Constitution, are threatened, and the privilege and right we enjoy in Utah, that of representation and participation at a grass roots level, is unethically being denied us. This unethical usurpation must be exposed for what it is. This is categorically immoral, a huge breech of ethics, and our franchise as voters. It is a cancer that will only spread and kill its host. the single purpose of this process is to elect officers and delegates who will safeguard our liberty, and represent us as the voters in this precinct, period. In other words, we agree to uphold that platform, the Constitution of the State of Utah, the Constitution of the United States , the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. Period!!!!!
We had a decent turnout, some 29 adults and five young people learning about the process. We elected our officers, and then started into nominations. I properly asked for, and received permission to talk about the process of delegate nomination and election, conventions, the demands placed on the delegates, their duty to read everything that comes, meet the candidates, and take all the calls. Many questions were asked, and we had a great discussion of hat should and should not be, and the above mentioned problems. Attitudes and intentions were changed, and people were elected to these positions for the right reasons. All left our caucus as friends, united in our desire to do our proper duty, and elect and affect proper candidates and policies. We would recommend this to all. It was right, it felt right, it went right, and we only hope it will spread. It will end most of the fracture that we have experienced for years. We cannot, no matter how noble our intentions, accomplish great and good things, by acting in an unprincipled fashion.
Jon Yarrington has spent the last 10-12 years going to county and state conventions, as well as other political involvement. He is the current President of the UHEA and is actively involved in the political process. Originally published for his workshop, “Politics YOU Can Make a Difference,” given at the UHEA Convention, June 2006. Reprinted with permission of the author.