Monday, November 26, 2007

So what's your excuse?

Tonight I got a chance to talk to my friend Karen Jennings, who is running in a special election for Annapolis City Council. She's fighting an uphill battle as a Green Party candidate, but the great thing about small special elections is that anything can happen if you're willing to work hard, which Karen definitely is! I shared some of my experiences from running for office a couple of years ago, and Michelle was able to share some of her expertise from having gone through a couple of campaign schools and her involvement as a board member with the Pennsylvania Women's Campaign Fund.

The conversation got me to thinking: why don't I know more people who are running or have run for office? You're all smart people- you care about things, you're passionate about issues and many of you have killer smiles. Seriously though- running for office is the ultimate democratic action. Your vote may be ignored, sure, but when you're a candidate, you've got the bully pulpit to get your ideas out there, and a chance to affect real change in your community. You don't have to be the next Barack or Hillary, you just have to care. Want your city to hire more police officers? Want your public park system improved? Well DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! If nothing else, it will make you more aware of the real issues in your community, the ones that you might not have been aware of, because it will make you talk to all those people you haven't met yet. It's a very educational experience.

So my question to you is- when are you going to do it? When is the world going to tick you off to the point that you're ready to be actively involved in changing it? As I said, you're smart folks- I have no doubt that the political system will only be richer for your involvement in it. And if you're not going to do it, I really do want to know- what's your excuse???


michelle said...

And if you're a woman who is thinking about running for office, check out She Should Run.

Anonymous said...

i think there are different ways people can contribute and make a difference. and that running for an office, while great, is not the only way. not everyone is suited for office and/or politics even on a small scale.

stegan said...

river- I understand what you're saying, but my contention would be that those are exactly the sorts of people who should be running. Far too many politicians run out of egomania or some sort of perceived birthright instead of passion for an issue or their community. I agree that it's not the only way, but I do think it's the best way to restore faith in democracy.

Anonymous said...

but if someone's strengths are not conducive to holding an office, that could work against rather than for an issue.