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03 January 2008

Root of the Grass

What is a Caucus? Well, since you asked, it is a collection of politicos from each political party who gather to decide who should be their chosen candidate. Interestingly, the word Caucus originates from the medieval word meaning a drinking vessel, or in modern terms a beer mug. Ah! So, now we know what everyone is doing up in Iowa!

Grass roots political movement at its finest. Neat-o huh?

The first presidential election in America was in 1789 which simultaneously created not only the first election loss but also the need for more smear tactics against future candidates. America: Land of the Smack Talk. Last night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, former Arkansas Governor Huckabee said that "if you don't like the sight of your own blood, then don't run for office." Really? Where do we sign up?

Even the casual observer can see that politics has gotten smarmier and smarmier through the years. And yet we still tune in by the millions to see who Clinton allegedly diddled or what Bush allegedly toked. Perhaps that all matters to what kind of elected leader they will be. But perhaps it also sends the message to stay away to the extraordinary young person out there right now who is strong of heart, principled in character and judicious in judgment, but who had a just a little too much fun at Cousin Rick's Beach Party in front of a few too many cameras last summer. That means we will eventually get stuck with whoever is the most sanitized, chaste, square and super funded that are left for our elected representatives. Does that description represent any of you?

As a parent of a newborn, it is natural to focus on the immediate needs and wants of our child. Their cries, their thundering diaper of terror, their oral geyser of reconstituted milk and so on. Thoughts of Ethan as a functioning adult are on my mind to be sure, they are just partially obscured by his present needs and by anticipating when his next feeding, diaper change, etc. will occur.

I had a discussion with a friend of mine recently about what Ethan will experience and have available when he is older. Just imagine. Most of us have seen at least the advent and/or evolution of the phone (rotary to iPhone), the stove (fuel to microwave), music media (LP to Digital) and so on. When Ethan is in his 30's, he will likely be transported by, his food prepared with, talking to friends around the world on and listening to music using technology that is nary a gleam in some researcher's eye right now. And much of that innovation will be at the whim of regulations that our future politicians will oversee.

So while much of the current presidential race is still mostly just noise, someone out there is going to being influencing the laws, the fuel, the safety requirements, and the kind of car my son drives some day.

And since 1972, that grass roots process starts each election cycle over some, uh, 'drinking vessels' in 'meeting rooms' (wink, wink) all over Iowa. Strange bedfellows drinking and driving make in this instance wouldn't you say?

What a wacky world Ethan has to look forward to, eh?

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