Downside: each group got a single one-minute speech, which wasn't enough time to do more than "yay [my candidate]"! Unsurprisingly, nobody changed sides (or declared a side, for those who came in uncommitted). And the chaos level was too high to actually talk to people one on one.
Upside: I got a new insight into the nature and benefits of the caucus process - it's more than putting in your statistically insignificant vote. It's about connecting with your community on the basis of ideals and fundamental values.
Then we got to elect delegates to the county-level caucus, which was also neat. Everyone got to talk about why they wanted to go. We had a 19-year-old, there for his first caucus, who is now a delegate. A father of two who wanted to show his kids that an ordinary guy could get involved and keep going as far as he wanted to. A woman who's been working with the Democrats for 35 years, and this is the first candidate she's ever been really excited about. I almost got a twinge of insanity and volunteered myself, but a level head prevailed.
I am, however, somewhat interested in becoming more involved in the local politics here. I liked the people that I met and would be interested in working with them. If only I didn't feel so conflicted about being a Democrat in the first place - for some issues, I'm really more of an old-school Republican, and in a perfect world I'd be more Libertarian. It just so happens that on the issues which I care most about (and therefore know most about) I align better with the Dems than anyone else. Of course, I also tend to believe that the two-party system is fundementally broken, and from that standpoint would be leery of working to support one of them. Crap. I don't know. But to cut to the chase, I am less cynical about the nature of our government having seen a bit more of how it works at the grassroots level.
On another note, I got yet another smack in the head that I really need to learn sign language. People there were very accommodating about speaking in my direction so I could follow what was going on, and I was even offered sign interpretation - but I couldn't use it since, well, I can't follow more than incredibly basic sign.