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Pivot From the Caucus

Palmer House Stable, Solon, Iowa, Feb. 8, 2020.

While the Iowa caucus news cycle lingers, I am already gone.

After a Saturday of political engagement — an interview with Michael Franken of Sioux City who is running for the Democratic nomination as U.S. Senator from Iowa, and a town hall meeting with my state representative Bobby Kaufmann — Michael Wines of the New York Times contacted me about my experience at the Big Grove precinct caucus. I told him the story… which is metastasizing.

The narrative is repeated so much I might resurrect a circus like Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey to take it on the road. As locals know, circuses are an Iowa thing and four of the Ringling brothers were born in McGregor, Iowa. What more fitting outcome for the caucuses?

Nontheless I am pivoting away from politics. I’m in a position to do so because of great caucus turnout. I’m confident our four delegates to the county convention will show up. Two volunteers stepped up to participate as precinct representatives on the county central committee. Despite lingering interest in what we did, the news cycle will eventually move on. It’s time for me to go.

I unsubscribed from the county party weekly newsletter, thanking the public relations chair, and saying, “I have less need to stay abreast of what party insiders are doing.” There is life beyond politics.

Toward what will I pivot? Will a divot of politics follow?

Our big family news is on Feb. 5 we made the last payment on our daughter’s student loan. Including loan interest, our contributions, and her work study and scholarship, the cost of her four-year education was about $140,000. In the box of letters I sent Mom during college, I wrote my monthly bill at the University of Iowa was $50. Add in the scholarship I had and my college expense was about $6,800 for four years.

My freedom from politics will be used to become a better citizen. Monday I start a brief term on the county Food Policy Council. If that proves to be engaging, I’ll volunteer for a full, four-year term. I’m writing more for Blog for Iowa, have written up one interview, two more are done, and there may be more. I hope to have a better garden this year. I invested in an electric tiller, bought some rolls of mulching, and began planting onions on Friday. There are plenty more projects in the works. There are also the farm jobs, which have been reduced from three to two this season.

A group of us were sitting around a table in the break room at the home, farm and auto supply store on Wednesday. The discussion was about retirement as a couple of us have retired but continue to work because of the social engagement a job involves. Our store manager was there and he told me, “If I were you, I’d retire as soon as possible.” Depending on how the next couple of months go, I may take his advice and help on one of the federal election campaigns.

For now, I’m on to what’s next while sustaining ourselves in a repressive national political environment. Life will be better, at least I hope so.