Monday, July 14, 2008

Run for political office.

Tomorrow is election day where I live. This isn't one of the so-called "major" elections - we're not choosing between Clinton and Obama, or between Obama and McCain. Instead this election focuses on local offices. And I suggest that these elections may be the biggest of all. That's because local elected officials have a lot to do with the quality of your life. Most importantly, because they represent a relatively small number of people, you have a reasonably good opportunity to meet them, tell them your concerns, and influence their position. That's a lot of power for people who are chosen in an election that lots of folks ignore.

I've been educating myself on the candidates in tomorrow's election, and unfortunately, I've not been impressed with many of my options. If you can't file your fundraising reporting paperwork on time, why should I trust you to run my county? If you photoshop yourself and a popular presidential candidate into a picture for your flyers to imply and endorsement where there is none, why should I trust you to be my senator? What's a concerned person to do?

Here are just a few ideas:

* Vote responsibly.
* Education yourself and others about the issues and candidates.
* Run for political office.

Yes, I suggested running for office. People who care, really care, and are honest, ethical, discerning, and thoughtful (all qualities of readers of So What Can I Do!) are needed to govern our society. It may seem a strange suggestion, but think about the improvements you could make by bringing a fresh perspective to government. Just running a collaborative, honest, positive campaign could make a big difference in your community, even if you don't win. Have I got you thinking? Now check out these resources:

* Monitor your local paper for seminars and workshops designed to teach people how to run for political office. For example Scientists and Engineers for America holds workshops to train scientists to run for office. And the League of Women Voters offers workshops for women interested in running for office. Contact the League in your area.

* Download the manual "How To Run For Office" from the Committee of Seventy. They wrote it for Pennsylvania, but it's useful for the rest of us too.

* Want to read more? Check out some of the books on the topic. Here are just a few:
--> How to Run for Local Office : A Complete, Step-By-Step Guide that Will Take You Through the Entire Process of Running and Winning a Local Election
--> So You Want to Run for Political Office: A Practical Guide for Aspiring Politicians
--> Winning Local and State Elections
--> The Newcomer's Guide to Winning Local Elections: Trials of Balance, Chapter Three

Be sure to talk it over with your family before you begin. Then learn all you can about the process so that you can run a campaign you can be proud. Remember that if you are trying to change the way your government currently works, you may have to do some things differently than the way they've always been done. The serve your community proudly when you win!

"There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming." - Soren Kierkegaard

1 comment:

Karama said...

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