One of the most common questions during the campaign has been “why in the world would you want to run for political office,” and honestly, I have even asked myself that question, but this weekend an event happened that reminded me of just why I am seeking this position.
Saturday morning, the campaign was at Columbiana Trade Day talking to the people, registering voters and passing out information about the campaign. A few booths down the path there were two ladies in their 70’s, who were selling Easter Baskets.
After I had been there for a couple of hours, one of the ladies came down to my booth and told me that I was causing quite a stir. People were still talking about their conversation with me when they were looking at the Easter Baskets, and she was shocked by what she had heard.
There had been a little bit of an incident about an hour before when a man, a staunch conservative, stopped by my booth and accused me of being the devil. He told me that I was going to burn in hell for my support of marriage equality. He went on to say that he had just moved to Columbiana from Jasper, and that he did not know who was running against me, but that is who he would be voting for.
I was able to maintain my composure, which was very hard, and asked him the same question that I ask everyone when he or she tells me that they are new to the area, “Have you registered to vote in Shelby County?”
The man was taken aback. He had just questioned my integrity, my political beliefs and one of his comments even questioned my parentage, but instead of getting mad and losing my temper, I offered to help him register to vote.
At that point, the man’s demeanor changed a great deal, the conversation became much more civil and the man wound up registering to vote.
The lady had witnessed this event, and she asked me why I would want this man to be registered to vote because he would not be voting for me.
I told her that supporting my campaign was not a prerequisite for voting in this election. That I was asking people to make me their representative in the senate, and for me to be an honest representative of the people, I had to represent everyone and not just those that agree with me, and if I acted any differently before the election then I did not deserve to be elected in the first place.
She said that she was just amazed that I would do that.
Then she told me that she had recently had a mild stroke, and that she had been having problems with her memory. She was having problems with Medicare not wanting to pay for the medicine that her doctor wanted her to take or pay for the tests that he wanted to run.
She said that she had contacted several elected officials trying to get help, but had come to the conclusion that all politicians are “as crooked as a sidewinder rattlesnake,’ and that we need people like me in office.
She went on to say that she was 71-years-old and she had never voted before, but she wanted to register to vote, so that she could vote for me.
After filling out the form, she held out her arms to hug me. When I bent down to hug her neck, she kissed me on the cheek and said, “You have a good heart and as long as you hold on to that you will be a good senator.”
People who have never participated in the process before are so exasperated with our government that after years of political apathy they are now compelled to see that change takes place because, more than ever before, they feel that their government has left them behind.
Sometimes, men and women of good consciousness cannot sit idly by while their government ignores their responsibilities to those that need their government the most, and that is why, I am running for office. To help those that cannot help themselves.