All Politics Are Local (Reflections on an Election)

I’ll be honest, I had no idea what I signed up for when I submitted my paperwork to run on the last filing day. I have learned a great deal and I would like to share these lessons with you.


1. Nonpartisan elections are surprisingly political.


2. The politics within one’s own party can be worse than the politics between the parties. Moreover, the politics within our own parties are notably more painful because it is like having a fight with a loved one rather than a stranger. I don’t care what a stranger says about me, but I care a great deal about what a friend or loved one says.


3. You will like some candidates on the other side as much as you like some on your own side. This should not be a source of discord and yet it usually is.


In the last three months, I have befriended candidates and candidate spouses, some of whom were on a slate or affiliated with a group of candidates other than my own. Party or slate loyalty should not, and does not, preclude genuine respect or affection for anyone else.


I consider myself to be incredibly blessed by these new friendships, some of which may be short-lived, but others I expect to be long-term. In either case, however, my life has been enriched by these relationships.


4. Even though I look at my campaign and identify many missteps and mistakes, I am comforted by knowing that I was not alone.


I have a great deal of respect for every person who ran their race while I ran mine. In particular, I feel a deep bond with the many candidates who, like myself, had never run for office before. Together, we navigated the choppy waters of local politics. Regardless of the outcome on Saturday night, I am proud of all of us.


5. I have been humbled by the people who have supported me in this process. I wish I had the words to convey my gratitude to each and every person who has given me (and my campaign) their time, their attention, their support, and their money. Every kind word, every phone call made, every block walked, every person my name was passed to, every dollar donated… I am grateful for every single one of these things. I am grateful to all of you.


6. You will anger people without trying to and you will be misunderstood, more than once. The people who matter are the people who come to you directly to address these instances. Some people, however, will not do that and you have to let those misunderstandings, and those people, go.


7. Politically active people are passionate people. Conflict is inevitable. But forgiveness follows (or should follow) in short order because we are essentially a family. The people who piss me off the most are also the people for whom I feel a great affection.


Dysfunctional or not, I love the misfits of my party. I can only hope the feeling is mutual.