Now, about being a Republican, I need to add something: I am willing to work with Democrats. I don’t think we need to distance ourselves from fellow autistics because they are Democrats or Republicans. (Of course, this is just the U.S. national. Feel free to include the number of major parties in your nations for comparison.) We do not need to divide people up that way in the mental illness or disability community, especially not before, during or after an election year. Of course, when you’re an active member of any party, just about every year is an election year. The party chooses its candidates in the primaries, etc., but I digress. We need autistics working with both Democrats and Republicans. The thing is, whether you get one party or another controlling a branch of a government (including state, local or national), it’s pretty clear that when you have people working with every party, you can be more sure that those elected may remember that autistics worked with them, so the autism acceptance agenda gets a better hedge against, say, Autism Speaks and other hateful organizations. Right now, providing parties with your volunteering and other contributions is one of the best ways to lobby autism acceptance into the party agenda. We need it in both parties, so both parties are willing to accept us into their ranks when any particular party gains control in government.
I have to say something: I’m a Republican. Normally I don’t discuss politics, but there is something to note of it here: only Republicans were at the Kentucky Republican Caucus yesterday. Of course, when more than half of the voters in our county were registered Republicans, guess what? More than half the county shows up – but that is not the only factor involved. There are several factors involved in the throngs of people in our local high school. And believe me, there were throngs. The line curved down the hallway, but we were taken to the front because my mother rides a motorized scooter. So, here are what I believe were some factors to involve, if you want yourself a crazy, throng-filled party caucus.
- Have a Caucus – “The Good Wife” showed what a basic Democratic Caucus looks like, in Iowa. There is a tremendous difference to holding a Republican Caucus. There, what you do is enter the auditorium, go around to a series of exhibit tables or your assigned alphabetical line, whichever you prefer, and then get in line and get your ballot. You then go and cast your vote.
- A Well-Oiled Machine: Good staff is critical – The process, with all the people involved, ran extremely well. I was out of the line with my vote cast within five minutes – and that’s even with a woman recognizing me from the work I did the year before in volunteering at the party headquarters with my mother. My mother’s line was much longer, for some strange reason. It was the big line at the time. I had some time after I had cast my vote to
- Shorten the Time – Now we are getting into the more negative factors. The time for our caucus was only from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., which is much shorter than the 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. time that a primary or general election would be held. This was barely any time to hold the throngs of people coming.
- Centralize the Location – The location was a local high school cafeteria. It was hardly big enough to hold the throngs of people who came before, came during and came after we went and voted. Trouble is, the location was down a single-lane road that barely held any traffic coming in. It was bumper-to-bumper for at least a mile going in. There were long lines.
- Have a Celebrity Candidate – This is the factor that brought all the voters. For all intents and purposes describing him, Donald Trump is a celebrity. I only use that word as a descriptor. He is a celebrity billionaire. Very few rich go out in public and engage the masses on purpose. He is a face we are all familiar with, who is very much a Washington outsider, which makes people flock to him, because there is a feeling that the current leaders of our country are out of touch with their constituents. (Yes, I went there. I had to.) Most of the other candidates are fairly unfamiliar to the public, or at least were before their runs for President. I don’t think the local party heads had the resources to deal with a celebrity candidate. I mean, where else can they hold an indoor caucus – Rupp Arena? That is the only place I could think of that could hold the numbers of voters, but it is outside the county.
With all the throngs of the people that came, I think the biggest factor was the celebrity candidate. A face people are most familiar with is the one which can bring the people. The throngs of those who came is a good sign, and I hope it will continue. I want as much participation in the political process as the people are willing to give – even in the anger, because government in the United States is government by consent – in other words, the people let their leaders lead them. Why not have your say in the government – even if it is not a “popular” one? It may be more popular than you think. Besides, if the people are divided, voting will let people know exactly how they are divided, and possibly what to do to unite them again.