I can’t believe how nervous I was last night. All I could imagine was that a caucus meeting would be a lot like politics on Facebook, where I’ve been accused of everything from holding a gun to a person’s head and robbing them via the Waiver Parker receives, to not being a member in good standing in my Church.
It couldn’t have been more different.
The turn out was huge. Big enough that we needed a room twice the size reserved, and there were still people in the overflow section.
I learned last night that the odds of the same people getting elected over and over as Utah Delegates increases vastly when there is only a small turn out to local precinct caucus meetings. The system works at it’s best when more people turn out to have their voices heard.
I was disappointed in the lack of opportunity to ask questions before the voting took place. Never the less, I did have the opportunity to ask several potential delegates how they felt about social safety nets for the medically fragile and disabled. I don’t think they expected that particular question, which is good, because I believe I received a more honest answer.
The highlight of my evening though was reading this paragraph from the Utah Republican Party State Party Platform:
We believe that the primary responsibility for meeting basic human needs rests with the individual, the family, and the voluntary charitable organizations. We recognize, however, that there are special social needs which must be addressed through state human service programs. We support requiring welfare recipients to work towards self-sufficiency.
Just to make sure I was reading this item properly I asked my local legislative Representative to give me his take on it’s interpretation. His reply? Social safety nets. Not hammocks. Not cadillac plans. Our interpretations matched.
That alone made the itchy asbestos underwear I had donned just in case a caucus meeting really was like discussing politics on Facebook, worth the discomfort. Turns out I didn’t need it after all.
I truly believe one of the best kept secrets in this country are the real life experiences of parents trying not just to keep their medically fragile children alive, but the parents who have to fight for their kid with special needs to have the exact same rights a typical child is automatically granted.
It’s time for Utah Delegates to become more informed on this issue. While I could never hold an office in Utah (keeping Parker alive is seriously a full time job) I CAN research potential Delegates, attend Caucus meetings, meet with elected Delegates, invite them to meet Parker, and explain that Parker is only one child out of many in this state that need the social safety nets discussed in the Human Services paragraph in the Utah Republican Party State Party Platform refers to.
You don’t have to section out huge pieces of time to be involved in politics in Utah. It can be as simple as following @MiaBLove and @DanForUtah on Twitter or Mia Love and Dan Liljenquist on Facebook. Tell them Parker sent you, won’t you please?