DES MOINES, Iowa — Today, Iowans will vote in the first primary (well, caucus, actually) that could set the 2012 presidential race in all sorts of directions. Some candidates may drop out (sorry, Michele Bachmann), others may become front-runners (welcome to the big leagues, Rick Santorum). I don't know what to expect — nobody does — which is kind of what makes Iowa amazing.
But amid the building energy, I'm also kind of let down. Last night, someone looked at me as I watched a few candidates campaigning around town (it was hard not to run into a candidate in the state's capital this week) and said, "You realize there's 3 million of us. Only 120,000 vote. That's 4 percent."
All of a sudden, I was feeling kind of hopeless. I spoke with one twentysomething and asked, "You going to vote tomorrow night?" He laughed: "There's a repeat of 'Glee' on." Wow, really? A "Glee" rerun trumps participating in one of the truly unique democratic processes our country offers?
But I am no glass-half-empty guy — I hope today, more than anything, isn't just a day when I get to see what it looks like when someone my age goes into a caucus for the first time. When they lock the doors at 7 p.m., not a minute later. When I follow a decided voter as he/she finds out who wins. Or when I follow an undecided voter as they hear each person make a case for their candidate and then make a final decision before the caucuses close at 9 p.m.
More than anything, I hope to see that people my age actually care. It makes sense that we don't trust the system, but we are hopeful about our future. So rather than relying on everyone else to decide the rest of our life, we might as well start investing in ourselves.
Plus, you can always catch "Glee" on iTunes.
MTV is on the scene in Iowa! Head to Iowa.MTV.com for all our Iowa caucus coverage, and stick with PowerOf12.org throughout the presidential election season to follow Andrew Jenks on the campaign trail.