Sunday, May 25, 2014

"They're Coming for You."

I have very little time to write anything- but wanted to do a quick update.  Some days it feels like this at debates and events where many or most of us are present, especially on the surface.

We are the World (Michael Jackson)

And others, it is clearly more of this:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Which Came First? Or Am I Just Chicken?

All of this Running for Congress business has caused some personal existential crisis, but perhaps I ended up in this position due to a crisis related to teaching.  Apathy is alarming to someone who is attempting to educate social workers to go into the world and make a difference where it is most needed.  I empathize with my students when it comes to these feelings, especially when related to significant changes being made through politics.  Helping others in a one -on- one (micro) way is often more satisfying and tangible than tackling systemic issues that affect our clients. 

When responding to a friend’s question on Facebook about how I felt about a debate, I responded unthinkingly with, “You just survive these things. How will you fix (?): Some awful world issue___. 15-30 seconds- BANG (now answer without sounding foolish, offensive, true & like-able) lights, 5 cameras, and a counter bell DING! Time to stop...then there's the characters in the panel ;-) it’s the most unnatural thing in world.”

TY Debate May 10, 2014
After reading it later, I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to subject themselves to such a thing on purpose.  I’m pretty sure I’ll never “know enough” to feel solid answering everything and anything in this way on subjects that cover instability in the world, the question of evil, war, and how we should or should not legislate American morality. 

What worries me more is that after a certain amount of time, many feel fine making statements about such things, and feel assured of their correct position.  I grow more unsure, more questioning as I move along.  I find myself stumped on certain topics, but the one thing I’ve realized is that the more money that is involved in any of these topics- including politics and education, the more one is expected to conform and comply.

I sent a group text to my best girlfriends to check myself by saying  “out loud” to women that know me and love me regardless of where I work, who I work for or where I live while I do it.  One reminded me that I have been feeling this way for a while, before running for Congress, and although I love my students and teaching- there has been something hollow about it for a while that is difficult to pinpoint.  Maybe some of it is is related to being rated on performance rather than substance (professors are now generally subjected to anonymous Amazon type reviews every 6 weeks). 

In general, it seems as though more weight is given to what you say or print, rather than how you think, question, or problem solve. You must worry about properly editing yourself (and projecting this online), and be careful to not question those that are more powerful than you are, because it could harm your cause down the road.  We are expected to “put it all out there” but make sure it’s nice and tidy and in a style that appeals to the most people possible.  That way the messaging is clear.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Congressional Forum, "Top 7"

Ted Lieu, Kristie Holmes and Marianne Williamson

Last night's Top 7 Candidate Forum focused on many issues- but my focus was on the money in politics, regardless of where it comes from. The amount of money fed into the mailers and television time disrupt the balance for voters. Those who can spend more can drown out the voices of those who can't. I hope to see more voters show up in the primary and take a look at all candidates. As fellow candidate Barbara Mulvaney stated last night, "Check their price tags." In 2014, most of us have access to a lot of information about each candidate online. And it's likely you will be taking that tool with you into the voting booth.

Money campaigns rely on the fact that you are more likely to vote on name recognition alone.  This should make you pause before you click on a candidates name.  Do you really want to vote for someone based on the fact that you saw their name stapled on a light pole every day on your way to work?

 *Thank you to the Americans for Democratic Action and Venice Action Alliance for basing candidate choices on metrics outside of fundraising.*