Caucus time — be a part of the process

In one week, something really important is happening. Iowans will have a chance to come together in support of their candidates for President in the Iowa Caucuses. This year is the first time in 8 years that both parties will be selecting candidates. Once again, it puts the spotlight on Iowa, and renews the doubts about whether Iowa should have such a prominent role in selecting our presidents.

With increased use of social media like Facebook and Twitter, it may seem like the retail-style of politics that is required in Iowa has fallen by the wayside. We think it’s too soon to give up putting the candidates through the wringer of getting to know voters up close and personal. We need to know who they are just as they are, without any filters or enhancements. Iowa serves an important role in vetting the candidates as individuals before they can start defining themselves and each other in slick TV commercials and sound bites.

In keeping with our important responsibilities as the gatekeepers for the Presidential selection process, let’s keep the conversation civil, and support our candidates by talking about their positions, not their persons. There are a lot of problems facing the country, but they cannot be solved unless we are actively working together. We will not do that if we aren’t speaking to each other.

The caucuses also are a great educational opportunity for our children. Although you should probably leave the little ones at home, your middle school or high school student will probably benefit from going with you to learn how politics actually works at the state level. Knowing how we select our leaders is an important step in being involved in our democracy.