Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Primary 2012: The Future of the Democratic Party

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Editor's Note: Jessica Murri, a senior at the University of Montana, is interning with the Boise Weekly editorial staff this summer. We asked her to bring her unique insights and skills to join our news team for Primary Night.

Kira Landry and Clarity Brown
  • Kira Landry and Clarity Brown

Beside Bardenay in Boise's Basque Block was the scene for Tuesday night's Democratic Party primary night festivities: white lights hung above the room, strung between elegant wood beams; blue and white and red corrugated plastic campaign signs lined the walls and windows of the small room.

By 8 p.m., the party was in full swing. The room filled with the chatter of hopeful Democrats, each with drink in hand while they voiced optimism for victory or cynicism for opponents. Well-wishers mobbed candidates while the chinking of glasses filled the air.

But the scene was of little or no interest to the kids. On the small second story of the venue, two teenage girls sat in the corner, talking and giggling. Kira Landry is 14 years old, and she was more anxious about starting high school next year than about who would win the primary. She was also more excited about getting her braces off in February than to hear election results.

But Kira Landry isn’t oblivious to politics. Her mom, Shelley Landry, just gave up her position as interim executive director of the Democratic Party to take a job with a political phone company in St. Louis. Kira hears her mom talk about politics a lot, but doesn’t get tired of it. She just has a different idea of how things should be run.

“I hate political parties,” Kira said. “The world would be better with only one political party.”

And Kira isn’t as devoted a Democrat as her mother.

“I’m more independent,” she said. “I believe in both parties. When I’m old enough to vote, I’ll vote for either one.”

Shelley is proud of her daughter’s independence in political thinking.

“I want her to develop her own opinion,” Shelley said. “This country is at a crossroad, and we need independent thinkers. I’m proud of her for stepping out of my shadow. I mean, obviously I want to say she’s a Democrat, but it’s up to her.”

Another 14-year-old girl sat with Landry at Tuesday night's event. This one wore eight rubber wristbands for causes ranging from human rights to ending war to “Love Day.” Her name is Clarity Brown, and she’s the daughter of the new interim executive director of the Democratic Party, Sally Boynton Brown.

Clarity is in the eighth grade at Anser Charter School. She likes playing basketball, hanging out with friends, and listening to Eminem. She’s outgoing and, as Kira mentioned, good with the boys. The conversation disintegrated into laughter at that point.

“I wish I could vote,” Clarity said. “I would vote for [Congressional candidate Nicole] LeFavour because she focuses on human rights.”

Clarity's mother, Sally, said her daughter has always been excited to go to these political events.

“I think it’s rewarding to see her mom work in a job that pays a living wage,” Sally said. “I’m proud to be in a socially active family, a socially active community, and a socially active party.”

Kira may not be able to vote yet, but she has plenty of ideas on the changes she’d like to see in the United States.

“I want to see a change in the economy,” said Kira. “It’s hard to see people on the streets. I know the president probably has a lot on his mind, but if we could get them food and shelter, that would be good.”

“I want my kids to find out what they are passionate about,” said Sally, “and go for it.”

Above the primary reception Tuesday night sat two girls, the possible future of the Democratic Party, with idealistic visions untouched by the politics taking place directly below them.

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