A running list of personal lessons learned 3 months into my first real foray in party politics [in no particular order]. I should say that these reflections are not based solely on one experience, but on participating in — and watching — discourse in VA around a number of primary races.
- That people on the left of the political spectrum have all the same unexamined prejudices and bias as anyone else – including: misogyny, ageism, classism, racism, and “othering” people who don’t fit their preconceptions.
- That taking the high road is not easy and rarely enjoyable.
- That the biggest obstacle to the success of the ideals of the Democratic platform are Democrats.
- That “purity” tests for Democratic candidates mean that no one is ever good enough for everyone, and that we are all too willing to draw first blood against fellow dems. We don’t need the GOP to do it for us.
- That some folks on the left who should have more scruples about money in politics, don’t. And folks on the left who understand the dangers of money in politics, don’t seem to realize that we can’t win elections without it.
- That paid staff and interns does not equal “not grassroots” or “sell-out” but rather reflects the values of paying young people in politics for their time and talents so that they don’t have to starve to make the difference they want to in the world.
- That there is no one in charge “behind the curtain.” That we are the leaders we are waiting for. That no elected position — either within the dem party itself — or in government, is really out of reach for those of us with commitment, clarity, and purpose. It’s time to stop complaining and get elected or roll up your sleeve and get someone you trust elected.
- That one-on-one conversations are highly underrated and absolutely critical in making change.
- That it’s scary as hell to take a stand in your community [however you define your community] that is unpopular or contested. But if you are very clear about what you are trying to accomplish and why, it is possible to do that very scary thing.
- That civility and kindness and authenticity and clarity of thought and ideas is the path that I will continue to choose — no matter what. And if I screw up, I will cop to it and try to make it right.
I am going to continue to add to this. Please feel free to comment with your own observations.