It’s been nearly a full week since I was last able to walk around and knock on doors to talk to voters in House District 48. How could I have foreseen that Oregon would have its worst wildfire season ever this year, and that the smoke would make the outside air hazardous to breathe, throughout practically the entire state?
I won’t lie: these fires took the stress Oregonians were facing each day in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, and (at least in my household) kicked it into overdrive. Only today, now that the fires are slowly becoming contained and the smoke is starting to thin out, do I see some light at the end of the tunnel. Throughout the past six months, I’ve sorely missed the simple pleasures I used to have in my life - working with students as a substitute teacher, being able to hug my friends and parents, and seeing smiles on the faces of strangers. Now I miss just being able to go on walks, whether to speak with voters or to simply unwind with my wife.
Because of all this, it would be so easy for me to throw in the towel and call it quits for my campaign. I mean, there’s always 2022 to plan for, right? And hardly anyone would be sad about it, because I haven’t met that many voters yet. There’s no shame in changing your plans once in a while.
And yet, as true as those statements are, there’s something deep inside me that fuels me to keep going forward.
Is it stubbornness that keeps me moving? It’s possible (just ask my wife). Is it delusion? Likely, if you talk to some of my detractors on Facebook. Is it my ego at risk of being bruised in some way? Maybe from a philosophical and/or psychological aspect.
But I think it’s something else.
Oddly enough, I think that what drives me to march on with this campaign, is my opponent. If I had to speculate, I’d say that Representative Jeff Reardon, the incumbent candidate for HD 48, isn’t dealing with all of these same issues and existential questions - at least not to the same degree. He has the advantage of incumbency in this race, and all of the privilege and networking that comes with it. He hasn’t walked around his district lately to knock on doors and ask Oregonians what they need from their government, because he doesn’t need to prove himself to them - he’s already “in”. This reflects a trend in many races, past and present, at the local level; if this circumstances are just right, a candidate only needs to seriously campaign once to hold power for years.
I don’t like that this is a thing, and I know that many others feel the same way. If an incumbent leader doesn’t bother to knock on the doors of ordinary folks in his or her own district - the very people who elected him or her in the first place - then who is this person working for?
This campaign of mine is an attempt to break that vicious cycle, and that’s why I’m not backing down anytime soon. Not to be crass, but I’m here until the fat lady sings. I’m still in, so the question is: are you?
Posted on 16 Sep 2020, 20:25 - Category: General