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Now that summer is here, I think you will be seeing more of me.  If you are looking.  I hope someone is, but hey, this blog makes me happy, too.  Even if no one looks, it will be the best diary I’ve ever kept.  The following is not a book review.  It is simply a “I should really write that down somewhere” and the reason is that my mind is like a sieve.  I need to write this down before I forget.

This year, my home state decided that instead of having a caucus for both parties and a primary election, it would save money by picking one or the other, and it picked caucus.  I had never ever tried engaging in such a system before, but they took away MY primary!  My DH and I decided we would go to our local precinct caucus.  I barely knew what a precinct was, but having one time left flyers on doorsteps, I can tell you it is a small area of your legislative district if you are driving a car, basically the size of your neighborhood, but dang, on foot, it seems huge.

Because of the lack of a primary, word really got around and the poor organizers ended up with between two and four times as many people as they usually expect, even during a presidential election year.  Almost all of them were new to the whole process and had lots of questions.  I was in line at a local elementary school, and one man said, “I didn’t think there even were this many Republicans in all of our county!”  Yes, the Republicans.  Obviously the Democrats don’t have as much excitement this year since they already have a sitting president and seem to want him for another term.  This year has been very interesting with the number of candidates, but now there are only two, and only one actually wants to be president: Mitt Romney.  I ended up joining the Ron Paul supporters, because I am attracted to many of the same things they are, but I like to listen as well.

When we got to our precinct table, there were only five people.  Two were us, one was someone I knew from the pro-life movement, and the two others were Romney people.  Not one of us had been there before.  I had only an inkling that usually precincts have PCO’s, which are chairpersons.  Ours didn’t have one, and may not ever have had one.  I and my friend were willing to move forward and volunteer to go to the county convention.  DH needed to watch the kids and the other two had no interest in going.  That resulted in two Ron Paul supporters going.  Some precincts had one or even no people, others had more like 20.  We filled out paperwork and followed directions, discussed party platform politics and such, and went home.

Now that I was a duly elected delegate, I waited about a month before going to our county convention.  Then I learned something very important, which is basic to people who do these things, but is not obvious to the vast number of people I know.  You don’t need to be hard core about a particular candidate.  What delegates do is elect people to move up the ladder and elect other people.  Another very important things to know about are “slates”.  I had no idea what those were.  In our county, there were Paul supporter slates and Romney slates, but in this case one was called the Unity slate and the other something else, like Conservative Values.  Some years there are pro-life slates, or something else.  It is a list of people that a block of people want to see move forward.  Delegates get to vote on their top people, be it top three, top 10, or whatever.  You keep voting until certain people get a majority of the votes in that election.  It takes a while.  In this case, there were still four candidates: Ron Paul, Mitt Romeny, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich.  This is where things got exceptionally interesting.

I should back up and say that most of the day was taken up by agreeing to the rules of the convention, first.  That took til lunch.  I had never heard of Robert’s Rules of Order, but that’s how they run the meetings.  It seems like a big waste of time, but it is really the only fair way to do things that I can think of.

The Ron Paul people in my legislative district had already been meeting in person and emailing each other in order to have a game plan.  We’d checked who wanted to move forward and what they thought were priorities, and put togther a sheet of delegates and alternates we wanted to see move toward the State GOP Convention.  The “Unity Slate” was very pro-Romney and claimed to be the new alliance between Romney, Santorum and Gingrich supporters.  It is hard to find the truth at these things, it turns out.  The truth was, Santorum had never agreed to be a part of such a slate.  It mislead quite a number of his people.  The leader of the Santorum folks got together with other leaders and eventually got on the phone with Santorum himself, who said he’d never authorized use of such a slate.  Though they’d fought against Paul supporters in other areas of the country, Rick Santorum supported Santorum and Paul supporters working together at this point in order to make sure some delegates were not strictly Romney delegates, and therefore to cause more conversation within the party, perhaps even a brokered convention.  A brokered convention is one in which no presidential candidate wins 1144 delegates at the national level, which is the majority of the country and leads to that person becoming the official presidential nominee for their party.  We now know that Romney did indeed collect all his needed delegates, and I wondered what effect that would have.  But back to the county convention.

The Santorum people were somewhat split in the confusion, but we managed to elect 11 Santorum/Paul delegates and six Romney to State.  This was a resounding success and not expected.  I was one of the 11.

Were there any people who were completely independent and didn’t vote on the slate?  Yes.  That is a big reason why we all had 30 second speeches, so people could decide who they wanted to see move forward.  I was voted in in the second round of voting.  My position was that we should take the high ground by behaving ourselves and having real, honest conversations about our convictions.  And that is also why I went to the state convention.

History probably won’t care in about five years, but it’s important to note that there is a LOT of hostility against Paul supporters for various reasons.  I actually saw a flyer being passed around that said that Ron Paul was for legalizing prostitution!  Oh. My. Gosh.  I was so mad.  That is extremely untrue.  And that is why it is important to have conversations with people. They fiind out that that not all Paul supporters are raving maniacs, incapable of reason.  There are some, of course, but there are those in every faction of any excitable organization.

Extreme word of warning: When voting for delegates, when they say you’ll be done by 6pm on a major election year, DO NOT BELIEVE THEM.  I didn’t get home til 11.  You must bring extra food and water.  Lots of it.  And something to read/do while votes are tallied.   It takes forever.  People get mad at Ron Paul supporters for being paranoid about vote tallying, but things have been messed with in other counties, so they actually have reason.  It just never makes the mainstream news.  Unfortunately, it takes forever to make sure.

One of the funniest things at the county convention was how many people from my home church were there.  I had no idea that many were coming.  I took a picture.  Most of them just wanted to have a voice and hadn’t picked a particular candidate.

Part 2 will be about the state GOP convention… coming soon.

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My son, aged almost 10 (and don’t you forget it!) is totally enamored with the history series, Story of the World.  They can be found here:  http://www.welltrainedmind.com/store/.  I’m so proud that something I enjoy so much is something they also enjoy, instead of it being a chore.  A proud, proud homeschooling moment indeed. 

The Well-Trained Mind is also a good book, and they just released a new edition this year.  I am very interested in acquiring one to see what the differences are.  I am also interested in using her ideas for said 10 year old next year, along with ideas from www.amblesideonline.org, which describes for free a Charlotte Mason based curriculum for homeschooling or, as they call it, “afterschooling”, for those who simply wish to enrich their children’s education further. 

Back to the history books…

The first begins with ancient history, when there were groups of people settling near the Indus River and the Nile River.  She tells history in storybook format, and it’s quite charming and educational.  The first book and the second could be read, really, with any age.  We’re currently on the third book.  It’s great, and we’re almost done.  The fourth, however, comes with a bit of a disclaimer.  It concerns modern history and the sheer nastiness that came with World Wars.  It becomes less story-based and more fact-based, because to tell too many personal stories might be downright depressing.  She does a great job of explaining so many things.  I was also very pleased to see her treat religion well.  It’s easy to blame and accuse, but she really feels there’s enough of that to go around, and keeps to the actual facts.  It’s a great world history curriculum, because unlike so many others, it covers Australia, Africa, New Zealand, China, and Vietnam, among others.  Such a nice, balanced view of world history!

In fact, I think the quote I want to use is actually from The Well-Trained Mind, 1st edition, pg. 211-212:

“Public schools, which have the impossible task of teaching children of many different faiths, must proclaim neutrality.  We don’t deal in matters of faith, the teachers explain.  We’re neutral.

Think about this for a minute. Arguing for the presence of God is generally cosidered “biased.”  Assuming His absence is usually called “neutral.”  Yet both are statements of faith; both color the teacher’s approach to any subject; both make a fundamental assumption about the nature of men and women.

To call this neutrality is intellectually dishonest.

Education cannot be neutral when it comes to faith;  it is either supportive or destructive.  The topic of education is humanity, its accomplishments, its discoveries, its savage treatment of its own kind, its willingness to endure self-sacrifice.  And you cannot learn-or teach-about humanity without considering God.”

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