Democratic process

I wasn’t feeling especially inspired about myself, but I knew I wanted it. I didn’t realize it was going to become an aggressive campaign – a Get Out the Vote! effort all about me, me, me!

I probably would’ve chickened out! I at least would have been a little more polished, a little less candid.

TWO

See, look! I was number 2!

But it started to take on a life of its own. Within 24 hours, I climbed from number 60 to number 10. The top five candidates, voting for which ends on May 7, automatically win scholarships to this unique conference, with an additional 35 chosen by committee. Within another day or so, I enjoyed a brief visit to number 2!

It was a surreal roller-coaster ride, kicking in my spirit of competition, but mostly I was humbled and awed at how many of my friends were willing to launch mini-campaigns on my behalf. Perhaps partially because the voting process includes only a quick two clicks and minimal personal information, and there is, delightfully, no negative campaigning to combat. So many friends went out of their way to say incredibly kind things.

I floated on a little cloud of good will and personal accolades, knowing full well I wouldn’t ask all these nice people to put up with full month of campaigning – cluttering their feeds with “Vote for Sara!” day in and day out. It has been an interesting temporary experiment, with myself as the guinea pig.

I cannot imagine what it is like to actually run for office: to not only campaign for myself, but against others. To develop coping mechanisms to ride the glorious highs of ringing endorsements contrasted with combating half-truths and outright lies spewed by opponents or, often, anonymous interests with no moral accountability.

It would be frustrating to know that some well-meaning supporters who, in their cheerleading, would say terrible things about opponents, or who use my candidacy as an excuse to browbeat opponents’ supporters.

It’s understandable why many people avoid politics. In our social media-saturated world, politics have become unavoidable. The negativity and constant stream of criticism even in non-campaign years is making our nation sicker. The fear-laced, blame-filled email forwards do not bring greater truth, peace, or quality to our lives.

I once learned that, to many people, disagreement is inherently interpreted as disrespect. Some are combative for sport – and healthy debate of ideas can be fun! – but for many folks, conflict is extremely uncomfortable. They stay away whenever possible to avoid the discomfort and because they don’t want to cause discomfort.

It always pains me when someone is so passionate about an issue they overcome their aversion to conflict to timidly approach the fray, almost apologetically entering a discussion. We need to learn how to trust each other through dialogue.

If we overcome the urge to take opposing ideas so personally and treat each other kindly while disagreeing even passionately, we grow. It’s an edifying process. Even if we don’t solve all the world’s problems in one sitting, we grow relationships and heal a little.

Conversation is healthy! Disagreement is healthy. Struggling with other perspectives, articulating who you are and what you stand for – without devolving into moral attacks on others – we need more of this. It’s human nature to believe, on both sides of an argument: “I’m right, you’re wrong, and your wrong beliefs are the downfall of society!” It’s natural to vilify others, to justify our own rightness and avoid change. Wars have been started over less. We have to overcome pride, allow for dissonance, and honor each other.

In the words of my favorite non-politician turned politician, fabulous Donna Frye: “You can’t take things personally. It’s just politics.”

So, thank you, friends, for participating in my scholarship experiment, but mostly for participating in the broader, learn-as-we-go, LIFE experiment. Let’s keep making it better for each other, and let’s fight clean for the causes we love.

Better World World Children  Heal the World

 

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About earthysara

Maine girl at heart, always, living in San Diego. You can take the girl out of the woods...
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3 Responses to Democratic process

  1. harry baltzer says:

    What kind of office were you running for?? Harry

  2. Mac says:

    I am running for a Netroots Nation Scholarship and I have voted for EartySara! I suggest you do too! You can vote for more than one candidate! Help her out! She is very close and I know if she can hold her spot the committee will pick her based on her story!

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