Four years ago tomorrow, the morning after Al Gore lost, I had a knot in my stomach. Certainly, I was upset by the scenarios surrounding the election. But, to leave my anger there would have been defeatist and would have left me feeling powerless to affect change. I made a commitment, that morning, to engage myself in the political process.
What I forced myself to recognize was not so much that others had “stolen” that election from us, but that WE had failed to adequately sell our vision for America. We had to do better, and therefore, I had to do better.
I went online, found where my democratic legislative district met, and attended the next meeting. The first few were extremely frustrating. The party organization is chaotic. I attended state party meetings. I met whomever I could meet, spoke to any and all who I thought could teach and guide me, and continued to progress in my knowledge of party, state, and federal politics.
Today marks the end of the 3rd official campaign that I’ve worked on in the past 4 years. I worked for early gubernatorial candidate Phil Talmadge as his Communications Director. Then, in December of 2003, I learned that Mark Sidran was running for Attorney General and felt this was a good fit for him and for the State. I asked to manage his campaign and was given the job.
Mark’s campaign was a fierce, long battle. From my position there, I was able to see into the inner-workings of nearly every major political race in our State. I got to know the players, I saw the candidates in all their strength and weakness. I was able to witness the push and pull of the most powerful special interests in our State.
Mark’s narrow loss in the September primary was difficult. We had worked hard to narrow the huge gap between Mark and his opponent, Deborah Senn. In the end, however, and for reasons that in many ways were out of our control, we weren’t able to close the last 1.3% gap, and Mark lost. It was a bitter defeat.
Following that loss, I was immediately offered the job of managing a city-wide initiative to recall the building of a monorail. This campaign, with only 5 weeks to plan and execute prior to today, was a whirlwind campaign and an uphill battle.
This has been the most difficult and most thrilling period of my life. Personally, I’ve had many blessings and challenges that have kept me on an emotional roller coaster. Professionally, I’ve gained valuable experience and moved dramatically forward in my effort to engage myself in the process of building a more perfect union.
So, four years later, where are we now? In many ways, we’ve barely moved. Our country is still essentially split in much the same way as it was during the 2000 election. As I write this, I don’t yet know who has won the presidency; but, either way, the work is only, as always, just beginning.
It is time to commit again, for the next four years. Will you join me?