It may sound silly but one of the first campaign type messages I remember hearing was in elementary school when two boys from my school did a skit in the talent show to “Fight For Your Right (to party)” by the Beastie Boys. It was the 80’s, that coupled with my major crush on Alex P. Keaton were my first impressions of talks about politics.
My parents always vote. But they don’t talk about politics alot and definitely not in a way of trying to influence my decisions. They will express their opinions about it, but mostly just impressed upon me the fact that it’s your civic duty to vote. They may not agree with everyone’s opinion, but they give people respect to have opposing thoughts.
Always choose you!
Fast forward to high school. I didn’t run for student council president or anything, but I did put my name in to be the captain of our swim team. I was very excited about it and knew I could be a great leader in that role, encouraging our team and rallying everyone together. The day came where we all put in our votes. I was so confident that I would be elected, all of the team was very supportive. When it came time for me to vote, I remember picking one of my teammates. My coach was confused, he said “Aren’t you going to vote for yourself? For some reason, I don’t know why, but I didn’t think that was allowed. It felt weird, like I was cheating or something. I remember him saying to me, “You’re going to be really mad if you don’t vote for yourself and lose…” that was good advice .
We end up having co-captains that year and I was one of them. It was a great experience for me and I’m glad that I got that opportunity. Twenty years later as I was reflecting back on it, I don’t remember all the details. Was there a tie? Did we vote for more than one person? Did I vote for myself? I can’t really remember, but what I do remember is how I felt. It was a really close vote and I could’ve lost. The lesson that has stayed with me is the importance of one vote and the importance of always voting for yourself.
So far this month, I’ve been talking about sending words of encouragement to lift up friends. So this week I made sure to lift up my friends and colleagues who are running for office in our community.
I shared out photos of me and my friends talking about why they are qualified, but most importantly why I believe in them. There is an importance of an endorsement. Especially when it’s for someone that you know very well and you feel confident can represent the community. I’m proud of my friends and colleagues who are running for office. It takes a lot of time and effort and energy. It’s a real commitment, as it should be. I admire them for sharing why it’s important to them to take on this role. I admire them for being vulnerable and sharing their stories of why they want to represent our community.
They are my friends and when I vote for them , it feels like I’m voting for myself. Every vote we make is a vote for ourselves. It’s a vote for our beliefs and what we feel will be the best decisions for our communities.
For our future and our past
I’m a hopeful person. I always feel so energized when I get to vote. Walking in to my voting location, I can’t help but think of how the election will affect our future. I also can’t help but think of those who came before me and fought for the right to vote, fought for my right to vote. I imagine all of those suffragettes marching along side me or looking down on me as I grab my ballot and fill it out. Whether or not they would agree with the choices that I make in the polls tomorrow or that I’ve made in the past, they are there with me. I’ve always been proud to exercise this right.
But what about you?
Elections are important. But what you do everyday and how you act toward yourself and others is important too. When ever we are coming up to an election, I put out this reminder…
No matter the outcome of tomorrow’s election, we have a choice everyday to be the best versions of ourselves; caring parent, loving partner, helpful neighbor, amazing human etc. It’s true. The more we can embrace this, the more we can contribute to all of the good in our world. You know the saying, be the change you wish to see in the world. Yep, more of that.
Have you ever run for office? What was something you learned from that experience?
I’d love to hear about it…feel free to share in the comments below.