I was substitute teaching a few days ago (gotta make cash while I write) and I visited the school newspaper staff, whom I advised for six years until this June. And I decided to tell one girl – very bright and politically active – about my idea to run for office. Her response shocked me. It went something like, “That’s a terrible idea. You don’t know anything about politics.” Keep in mind, please, that this girl is 17 years old. Her comments haunted me for days – not because I thought ‘Wow, she’s right, I shouldn’t run’ but because her immediate response was to shut me down.
This is the attitude I encountered all the time as a teacher. Young people’s knee-jerk response was, invariably, ‘no, I can’t.’ With a school system that routinely tells them no (or how high they may jump and at what time), it shouldn’t be surprising. I am a big believer in the ‘maybe’ or the ‘why not?’ What, exactly, is the downside of attempting to make a change in our society? And why shouldn’t it be me? One look inside your Voter’s Pamphlet will show you that pretty much anyone can run for office – so a better question is: Why isn’t it you?
Some people are so ignorant that they refuse to vote on those grounds, or else they rely on The Stranger to dictate their views (I’m gonna be honest – I’m talking about myself just last year. The Stranger is brilliant). But this year, I tore open my voter’s pamphlet, eager to literally make my mark. It is a testament to 11 years spent correcting shitty essays that I could read this document without wanting to give it to my 3-year-old to use as toilet paper.
I was under the misapprehension that in order to do anything in politics, one had to be a lawyer. Or have an advanced degree in amazingness. Or at least graduate from college. But I am, in fact, better educated than Paul Ryan, or the Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. Or Senator Maria Cantwell. That’s not to say I am particularly amazing – but what they have, I can easily obtain: knowledge and experience. Perhaps one of the reasons why the political arena fails to attract the best candidates with the best qualifications is because they are performing a thankless task for very little pay. Luckily for me, I’ve been doing that for years.
So while I gad about ‘obtaining,’ let’s have a little fun. I’ve devised a scavenger hunt for my fellow Washington Staters to encourage you to pick up the book and look at what’s inside.
Find the candidate who:
- Has a degree in dental hygiene
- Uses the phrase ‘Heart to God, Hand to Man, Brings Healing to our Land’
- Lists Coach of Renton High School Golf Team as professional experience
- Wants to ensure this century will be another American century
- Favors totally eliminating illegal immigration
- Calls herself ‘a work horse, not a show horse’
- Headed up a complete home make-over for a single mom
- Will return 10% of his salary to the Treasury if elected
- Played the French horn in the Rose Bowl
- Has only a high school education (there’s two!)