It’s officially Caucus Day in Iowa. The day when the state becomes the focus of the nation, watching and waiting to see who will emerge victorious. It’s the day when the media takes over downtown Des Moines and the entire state becomes involved in the political process.
I had the pleasure and the opportunity to participate in the Iowa Caucus experience as a young college student from Minnesota at Drake University during the 2000 election (yes, I am totally dating myself). It was an inspiring environment. Rather than people just going and casting a vote in the General Election in November, Iowans are involved in the process months, actually years before the election. They meet the candidates, shake hands with them, attend pancake breakfasts, tea parties and town hall meetings. They talk about the candidates non-stop, and it was truly unlike anything I’d ever seen before. As a student, I worked phone banks, attended big events and small gatherings, including a tea party at the Younker’s Tea Room. It changed the way I view the political process. It made me realize that everyone has a say in the process, that becoming actively engaged with the issues, sharing your perspectives and getting out the message can truly change the world.
It was also during the Iowa Caucuses that I truly discovered the amazing Tom Brokaw. Many evenings I would be in my room studying and have Tom on the NBC Nightly News covering the political landscape that was forming in Iowa. I can’t hear his voice without thinking about my Iowa Caucus experience.
Today, I tuned in to watch the happenings in Iowa, reflecting on my time there participating in the process. Tom Brokaw was on the TV discussing the scene, in his own eloquent way, the way only he can cover the news and elections. The journalist and civic-interested part of me was so filled with joy to hear his take on the day’s events! He brings such knowledge and perspective to the news, it is refreshing. I feel like in general there’s so much rhetoric and finger-pointing on political coverage, but Tom Brokaw brings his own brand to the coverage in a professional and engaging way.
I hope today a new generation of college students becomes forever inspired by the civic process and Tom Brokaw’s classy coverage of the events. But most of all, I hope we as a nation realize the importance of the political process and that we all have a say in who runs our country. Understanding the issues, getting the facts and making your own decision is important to ensuring our democracy runs as it should. Every vote truly matters!
Cheers to Tom Brokaw and the State of Iowa!