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Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by In Exile, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. In Exile

    In Exile Member

    In this political season, a question: Anyone here ever run for public office?

    My story: About a decade ago I got talked into running for a relatively insignificant board of trustees position in my town, part of an entire slate of mostly "newcomers" running for everything fed up with the way things were. Understand, I don't work for a local paper or publication, so there were no ethical issues in regard to running.

    Here's what I had to do to campaign: Show up at 3-4 public forums to speak, eat cookies in someone's kitchen once and stand outside the polling place on election day. The price of democracy was $4.29 because I had to make myself a sign to hold, and had to buy an extra large magic marker and two sheets of poster board, which I stapled to an old broomstick.

    The cool parts: On election night, we all gathered in the back room of a local restaurant, chipped in for a bunch of food, and waited for someone to call when town hall posted the results. I won, dumping an incumbent for the first time in almost forty years, by almost 2-1 margin. In fact, nearly the whole slate won, and for a brief moment we thought we could change everything. My picture, holding my sign, made the front page of the local news section of a nearby daily, and a few weeks later, I received a small, wallet size card from the Secretary of State's office identifying me as an office holder, presumably to use if I ever got a traffic ticket.

    The bad parts: When I showed up for the first meeting after being sworn in, I was told by one of the old bats, "Well, we understand that this is a democracy but you really should have been invited by us to run for this postion." Despite the fact that I was the only person on the board with any professional experience that pertained to the job, they were not interested. From the start the board basically chose to operate without me, and by the time I resigned when I moved away two years later, it was pretty clear that they were holding secret and entirely illegal meetings without me to make decisions before the regular, public meetings. Then there were the deep divisions that the election of people who had only lived there 10-15 years caused in the town, and the resulting hostility that made living there a nightmare. Even on this small scale, with nothing at stake except ego, the status quo can get real nasty, let me tell you. The town has yet to recover, and has ended up completely polarized, paralyzing local government.

    Welcome to democracy, pal.

    I'm glad I ran and have a newfound respect for those that do, but would never do so again in a million years. In my town now I have been approached several times by people wanting me to run for either the school board or town council, but I run the other direction as fast as I can. I did my time.

    Anybody else ever run for office? Got a story to tell?
  2. Blitz

    Blitz Active Member

    I've read the book "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail"
    Does that count? *Looks like McCain's got his own "Sunshine Special" is choo-chooing down the tracks at this point. :)

    My brother ran for office, Justice Court Judge, this past year and my family campaigned heavy for him door-to-door and at public speaking forums. He lost the race but gained newfound knowledge, as he was beaten by a guy whose family had been in place as a policemen and constables for over 40 years.

    Sounds like the secret meetings you are seeing are on the same level as Executive Sessions, which exclude the media.
    There is always an inner circle, inside the domain of whatever the entity is initially described as.
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