By A Candidate
Excluding the 24 hours it took my wife to deliver our first baby, Election Day was the longest day of my life.
Devoting your life to one special event for well over a year, putting all your energies into one thing, one effort, one goal, takes its toll. Canvassing helped me lose 14 pounds. (I could lose another 14, but that’s another story.)
After resoling one pair of shoes, I took to wearing sneakers for door-to-door work. My lower back issues, aggravated by walking tens of thousands of steps too many times, sent me to the chiropractor almost weekly in the closing month.
Excessive cell phone use to raise money, throw meetings together, scheme, dream and compare notes could probably cause me brain damage, according to some experts.
My wife and kids and I need to be reacquainted. Other than the occasional meal and fervent waves to one another as we headed off in opposite directions, I spent at least 20 times as much energy and attention with my campaign manager and my staff as my family. I hope they haven’t forgotten me.
Given my diet for the past six months, it will be interesting to see if I don’t succumb to some bizarre malady after dinners of cheese and crackers, lunch of diet soda and a hot dog (if that), and at least eight cups of coffee a day.
My circle of acquaintances is much, much broader. Clearly, the number of good-hearted folks outweighs the cranks. People are gracious, warm, open and generous. They can also be just the opposite. But I’ve learned the positive citizens far outweigh the negative ones.
I met some lobbyists I will undoubtedly see again (providing tonight’s numbers are favorable), and some I’d just as soon never see again. I’ve made friends of regular folks who wrote checks and then volunteered to call or write or canvass with me.
And I’ve met a side of myself which demanded patience, a resolute sense of drive and determination, learning and accepting that campaigning is a marketing project more than a thorough discussion of different points of view in the marketplace of ideas and values.
Today, the final day, I’m drained. I’m done. I’m cooked. But I can’t stop yet. We know which of our voters haven’t yet voted, and we must get them to do their duty. I will call as many as I can, and my volunteers will knock on their doors. We have until 8 o’clock tonight.
Gratitude takes on new meaning for me. So many people thanklessly came forward to help. We mustered a small army of loyal, hard working people from all walks of life. They were extraordinary, and I am hugely grateful to them.
Win or lose, would I do it again? Would I put myself through such an unbelievable meat grinder? If I win, yes. If I lose, I don’t know. Maybe it will depend on how close it is.
My basic premise for running for office remains: If we want change to be the kind of change we want, then we have to do it. No one will do it for us. What does that mean? Why did I take on this gargantuan task?
Simply put, I want our government to be run from the bottom up and not the top down. I want the will of the people to transcend the self-serving demands of the oligarchs.
I want our society to be better for everyone, especially those doing the work in the trenches, those who labor, who teach our children, who can take us to higher levels of understanding and accomplishment. And we need to remove big money from the process.
I could be more specific but the general notion of positive change transcends excessive detail. And that’s why we have a legislature to hash that sort of stuff out. After all, we’re regular humans. We’re the same and we’re different. But we all want a better life for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.
Editor’s note: This was written several years ago. The candidate won and went on to a successful legislative leadership career. He prefers to remain anonymous for this writing.