Archive - Jun 20, 2012
When you become a candidate for public office you essentially grant everyone a license to tell you how you should act and what you should believe. I have certainly gotten my share of recommendations since I became the Democratic candidate for State Representative in the 114th Assembly District in Connecticut. People have suggested positions on policies, strategies for connecting with voters, even going so far as to give recommendations about what I should eat and what I should wear.
Most of these recommendations have been transactional instead of transformational, and I pay attention to them. But I'm more interested in the bigger, transformational questions. Becoming a candidate for public office changes the way people interact with you, and that changes you. They express hopes and desires about the sort of representative you'll be. I was also invited to be a member of the Connecticut Health Foundation's Health Leaders Fellowship Program. This is about changing as well. I write all of this as I sit in an airport terminal on my way to a conference I'm scheduled to speak at.
I've spoken at conferences before, but usually, it is at a conference that I wanted to attend, and sought to be a speaker. This time, the conference organizers invited me to come speak before I even knew about the conference.
In all of these, I hope I will live up to expectations. Having expectations to live up to can be a very powerful motivator for positive change. Yet there is something scary about change, particularly if you already like who you are, and voters seem not to like changes. They like to know what they are getting and eschew 'flip-floppers'.
It seems as if having clear sense of underlying beliefs enables people to change, to grow, and yet remain true to themselves. It is with this in mind, that I join the political fray as an observer participant. I'm interested in participating in this political process, as well as the other growth opportunities being presented to me. At the same time, I look forward to observing all of this, analyzing it, and writing about it.
Perhaps I can discover what it means to be a philosophical ethnographist State Representative, acting as an evolving political observer participant.