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)...hot 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.