First, some exposition
I did a lot of volunteering for the Hillary campaign. I knocked on doors, made calls, gave money. But in reality, I wasn’t doing it because I was excited about Hillary (I liked her all right). My primary motivation was fear.
So when Trump won, it hit me with a solid sense of despair. And upon reflection, if Hillary had won, I don’t think I would been like “Hell yeah! I’m pumped for the next 4 years!” I think my main emotion would have been relief, and probably some joy at watching Trump crawl back into his golden cave.
All said and done, it was a pretty rotten experience.
Was totally different. In 2018, I followed my mighty activist-maven wife into the service of the Andy Kim congressional campaign in a district near ours. And that was a blast. I don’t think I even knew who he was running against, but I liked Andy Kim, and I loved getting out there trying to take back the House of Congress. And he won.
So here we are, approaching the 2020 election.
First off, I’m doing stuff. No way I’m sitting this out. My feeling – you’re only allowed to have an opinion about politics if you participate in the process. Watching MSNBC and Fox News is not participating in your democracy. Sharing a meme does not make you an activist. If you’re not out there putting in real time and real money, then you deserve whatever elected official you get. In fact, my New Year’s Resolution for 2020 is really get at it for this election.
However, for my own well-being, I didn’t want to go out there with the primary motivation of getting rid of Trump. I wanted to be for someone. I wanted to be excited about the potential of someone being President.
And I liked my options. I liked Harris, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Bullock, Castro…lots of really smart people who I felt like I could get behind. I think of an election as a job opening where I’m the hiring manager. This felt like a lot of highly qualified candidates.
But I hadn’t really made a pick. I guess I was hanging back, ready to really go at it when it became clear who the winner was going to be.
But then I went for a walk with Alex.
Alex is in “Model U.N.” where kids represent different countries and debate political issues. This year their issue is climate change, and quite reasonably, it’s scaring the shit out of the boy as he learns more about it. So we were talking about that.
EXT. SUBURBAN STREET – DAY
ALEX, a 14-year old boy, walks with his father, MIKE.
(using his “patronizing dad” voice)
Well, you’re not powerless, Alex. In fact, a big way that you can affect the issue of climate change is to participate in who the next President is.
Oh, I like Warren.
I’m glad you are aware of the candidates. Elizabeth Warren is a strong option for sure.
She has a plan to try and get to 100% renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions by 70%.
I also like her Green Apollo plan where she wants to invest $400 billion dollars over the next ten years into clean energy research – so that will help the economy at the same time.
(As he talks, the tone Mike’s voice slowly changes. And as Alex talks, one would swear that his voice takes on a tone that sounds just the slightest bit…patronizing.)
Plus the Blue New Deal she has for cleaning up the ocean is good too. Not to mention that offshore wind power can make 4 times the amount of energy that our whole grid uses today. Most people don’t know that.
OK, so as Alex went on explaining the finer points of Warren’s policies, a lightbulb went off.
- How cool would it be to do all this election stuff with Alex?
It was followed by a series of supporting light bulbs.
- Doing this with Alex would motivate me to do it even more. Like a gym buddy.
- Alex would be an animal on the phone
- Bringing in Alex would get me a TON of brownie points with my hyper-activist wife
And that’s how I landed on Warren. Alex.
So the next week, we went to a campaign event in town to make calls to Iowa voters, and I was right: Alex was awesome at it.
Phonebanking is basically getting hung up on 19 out of 20 times. But when people hear a kid on the phone, that’s quite a hook. Hearing Alex read the Warren script in his cute mid-puberty voice – people stayed on the line with him…I guess to be patronizing…but, whatever. He was a force.
We’re in for Warren. We’re actually planning to host an event in the next couple of weeks, so I’ll keep you posted.
Final note: I’m gonna be a little bit of a dick about comments on these posts. Not really into hosting a political snipe fest. However, comments about what a great father I am are always welcome.