Quinoa Salad With Citrus Dressing

By Wendy Monro

I really enjoy watching the enthusiasm young people are having with this presidential election. In fact, my daughter’s eagerness to be a part of the process has inspired me to get involved as well. I promise this is not going to be an article trying to get you to support my candidate. In the last election, I volunteered for the candidate I supported. I felt like I was helping and doing my part. This year, however, I am taking it a step further and this is completely due to my daughter, Daphne. Her passion is contagious.

Daphne has been watching, reading, and learning about the candidates since day one. Although she is only seventeen, she will be 18 by the time we vote. Because she will be eighteen in time to vote, Nevada allows her to participate in the election process from the beginning. She decided early on whom she supports in this campaign. This took me a little while longer. Once I made the decision to support the same candidate, we jumped on board to see what we could do to help.

I had never really understood the caucus process. I won’t bore you with the entire procedure because it is pretty lengthy and a bit archaic, in my opinion. Long story short, Daphne and I were elected delegates to the county caucus this weekend. What a day! The drama, the passion, and the emotions were intense. One woman wore an American flag outfit. Most people wore the t-shirt with their candidate’s motto or picture emblazoned across the front. If you are a part of the caucus process, most likely, you are very invested emotionally in who wins because it takes a lot of time. So, these people were all pretty serious about their choices.

We had people locking arms in protest to a committee member almost being removed from the convention. We saw a few near fistfights with two people speaking heatedly with their faces an inch apart from each other’s. There was one seizure and one fainting, which meant two ambulances. However, in the midst of all of this yelling, there was so much joy and camaraderie. I don’t mean just for the people who supported the same candidate. There was love amongst people no matter whose button or sticker you wore. This, more often than not, came from the young voters. These young voters are inspirational.

Even though we lined up for two and a half hours just to walk inside to line up again to register, these young voters were smiling. I mean ear to ear smiles every time you caught an eye of one of these young adults. They were genuinely happy to be there in the heat, slowly walking, what seemed to be miles, to the front door. I saw many of these kids were alone but introduced themselves to everyone and soon made tons of friends. I made a friend in line heading in. He was a retired criminal attorney in about his seventies. He also came alone. We ended up spending most of the day together. We talked a lot about the passion from these young voters.

Daphne and I stayed for the entire convention. This took twelve hours. This was necessary if you wanted to be elected to go to the state convention, which we were. That is commitment. I don’t think I would have stayed if it weren’t for Daphne’s enthusiasm. She made friends, waved her banner high, screamed her praises every time she heard something she liked to hear, volunteered to pick up trash, and never complained that we couldn’t find a seat or the bathroom to the line wrapped around the corner. She was just so grateful to be able to have this right to vote and have her voice heard.

At the end of the night, I found myself holding a huge sign with her while we joined a conga line, singing and dancing with everyone around the convention hall. We high fived so many people. I am quite certain I haven’t high fived that many people in a year, maybe my entire life. We laughed, shouted, hugged, danced and sang, all in the name of democracy. It was a beautiful thing. I felt so grateful to have this right to vote. It wasn’t that long ago when women weren’t given this right. I don’t care who you support in this election, please get out there and make your opinion heard. Exercise your right to choose who you think would best lead the country. Take a lesson from these young and eager new voters. They are reminding me of how lucky we all are.

Oh yeah, this is a food column. This is the salad I packed for Daphne and I to take to the convention. It was delicious. It is a great salad if you aren’t going to eat it right away because it tends not to get soggy even if it sits for a while. Enjoy.

Quinoa Salad:

4 cups cooked quinoa

2 cucumbers, diced

4 tomatoes, diced

1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 cup curly leaf parsley, chopped

1 cups feta cheese, crumbled

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Pour citrus dressing over the salad and mix well.

Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Citrus Dressing:

cup olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons orange juice

teaspoon oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well with a fork. Pour over the quinoa salad.