The election is over. It was a good campaign season but at the end of it, I came up short. I am so, so humbled by the 1500+ people who cast a vote for me. Since I did not do many of the things that are traditionally associated with campaigning, I have to believe that most, if not all, of these 1500 votes were cast by people who took the time to look into who I am and what I stand for. Thank you!
There are things that I learned through this process. First and foremost, signs still matter. 🙂 When we had our first candidates meeting to go over the rules and procedures, I asked if anyone knew if signs make a difference. The common sentiment was that no one was sure if they make a difference but no one dared tried anything different. As you could have guessed, I took that as a challenge. And at the end of the process, I feel fairly confident in saying that, yes, signs do matter. I still have my ideological side that thinks they should not matter in the face of technology and good communication. But, all of the grand visions in the world cannot change reality. So, for anyone who has wondered, I did the experiment for you. You’re welcome. 😉
The other thing that I learned is that gender still matters in politics. Some might disagree or take umbrage on this point and that is okay. I am not trying to attack anyone for a vote that was cast but I do think it is important to confront bias’ that might not be recognized. My reasons for thinking that this is a valid point are simple. Five out of six candidates on the ballot were females. All five were actively engaged in learning about the city and have been involved in many city functions. The single male is not involved, has not attended any city council meeting or training, is as new to the city as I am, has almost no online presence, has eight young kids and has even publicly said that he does not have time for long meetings (which is, kind of, a hallmark of our city). But at the end of the day, he got the highest number of votes. Now, I recognize that he is well educated and a good guy. I do not discount that there are valid reasons to vote for him. But, all things being equal, I do not think that if the roles were reversed, a female who had the same short falls in engagement would have garnered the highest number of votes. To repeat my above point, this is the reality of our current society. And I don’t think it is going to change unless we are willing to acknowledge that the bias exists. I do not expect that we will elect less qualified women just to have more women in politics. But I would hope that we can reach a point where the playing field is, at least, balanced.
I don’t know if I will run again. My idealism makes it hard for me to think about trading in my beliefs on what should work for what does work. But if I ever feel like this is something I am supposed to do, I will try again with a little more knowledge, understanding and willingness to accept help. Thank you, again, for your support. I am not done trying to make a difference, regardless of what title I do or do not have. 🙂