Perhaps more than any other year, national politics in 2016 has been driven by fear and hate. This has left many people disillusioned with our political parties and Presidential candidates. I have to admit that this spring as I geared up to begin talking directly to voters at the doors, I worried that people would not be receptive to anything related to politics at all. But what I have learned these past four months is that despite what we read on Twitter and in the comments section, most people have not given up hope. Most people I talk to care deeply about their kids and their communities. Most people I talk to are open to having conversations about how we as individuals can affect positive change. I often see that glimmer of hope on people’s faces when they realize that they are not alone, when they realize that a “politician” might just be that mom down the street who cares as much as they do.
For me, the most rewarding thing I have discovered over the course of this campaign is how many people in our communities are doing amazing things for others. There are so many positive, hopeful things going on all the time but we often don’t notice because we are so busy with our own things! And that’s okay but I wanted to take a moment to shine a light on that fact.
There are people gathering, packing and delivering food to families in need. There are people organizing community conversations about racial justice. There are people working to prevent the number of gun deaths in our communities. There are people walking and raising money for cancer research, for justice, for peace, for animal rescue groups. There are people volunteering their time in classrooms and on soccer fields. There are people literally building playgrounds together!
One of my favorite people is a 23 year old who works as a nurse taking care of veterans, coaches high school cheerleading, serves as a human rights commissioner – and still finds time to knock on doors with me on a regular basis!
And there are so many moms and dads and caregivers and teachers contributing to our community by raising kind, respectful, informed kids!
People often ask me why I decided to run for office, or how I manage to do as much as I do. My quick response is that I am driven by hope and caffeine. Deep down, I am driven by the idea shared by President Obama that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” And I am driven by this quote from Senator Paul Wellstone:
“Politics is not about money or power games, or winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives, lessening human suffering, advancing the cause of peace and justice in our country and in the world.”
So please keep your head up and your eyes open. We are all in this together and I can’t wait to talk to you about it!