A love letter to democracy (Or: Stories from the 5500+ people who want to run for office)

Dear Democracy —

We’re so grateful for you. Even when you sometimes seem a little broken (ahem, uh, 2016), you are a truly beautiful system of government that gives citizens a way to be heard and allows this remarkable, diverse, inspiring group of people to consider running for office…

A young man in North Carolina:

I am the son of a union postal worker who was afforded many opportunities in life because of fair and just economics. I am deeply concerned with our recent national shift towards tribalism and believe the ruling elite are dividing the masses in an effort to permanently seal in economic security with climate and population crisis looming. Our five year old adopted daughter deserves a better world than what the first 8 days of the Trump administration have symbolized.

*At age 28, this might seem pie in the sky and I understand Rome wasn’t built in a day. I love North Carolina (my home since age eight) and would be thrilled to eventually help make a difference.

An Ohioan:

I am a licensed art therapist, returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and artist/activist who moved back to my hometown of Cincinnati three years ago after living in Chicago for six years. I have seen how a person’s access to quality mental health care wildly fluctuates based on socio-economic levels and the region where a person is receiving treatment. I believe in equality in access to health care, as well as in education, LGBTQ rights, gender rights, and many more issues that are not mirrored in many of my local representatives. I have served my country abroad as a volunteer, and now I am interested in discovering how I can serve my local community.

A Virginian:

I’m a computer engineer so I understand tech — I can code, I can speak code, I deeply understand the power and opportunity of tech. I’m the son of immigrants and refugees. It’s a personal responsibility for me to continue to fight for those same people. I have no children so I have time — but more importantly, my best friends have babies. BABIES. They deserve to live in a more promising future.

Another Virginian:

I never thought about running for election before Trump was elected, but now I realize that nothing will change if progressives stay quietly on the sidelines. I’m a wife, mother of two children, and a professor. I’m ready to serve.

From Florida:

I am African-American and my husband is Pakistani American. We need more people of color involved in politics because NOBODY will fight for our rights like we will.

A woman in Connecticut:

As a Muslim-American, as the child of immigrants, as a woman in STEM, as a citizen living in a town where there is rampant income inequality, I simply can no longer sit complacently and hope that the issues important to me will be resolved by others. I have no background in politics, but for the past few years I have become increasingly serious about the idea of running for local office and fighting for the changes I want to see, that my peers and neighbors want to see. And for my own Muslim community, I want to demonstrate through actions, not just words, that there is a place for us here, that a woman who wears the hijab will refuse to be silenced in Trump’s America, and that it is our obligation to advocate not only for ourselves but also for other marginalized groups.

In New Mexico, a young woman is done sitting on the sidelines:

I always had the vague impression that candidates for office had specialized training or experiences that made them uniquely qualified. However, the 2016 election made it clear that many of the contenders were less intelligent, less passionate, and less qualified than I am. I need to stop waiting for a candidate that represents me and my values; I need to become that candidate.

A young man in Illinois:

My boyfriend said this weekend: “I have faith that our institutions are strong, and will save us.” It struck me that what makes our institutions strong is the strength of character of the people who run them. I can’t stand by any longer without attempting to right the ship — I want to help make our institutions strong.

A Texan:

People in almost every zip code are struggling, this is not new. The hope that the system will eventually fix itself is a luxury I feel I can no longer afford. It’s either this or start a punk band.

A Californian:

I’ve always been interested in politics but November’s election made me realize that it’s not enough to stand on the sidelines, and more new people need to get involved. Civic duty is just that, a duty — and I’m ready to do my part to protect our democracy and continue fighting to create a more perfect union. As a gay, first generation, Latino — this battle feels personal and I am ready to join the fight!

And finally, a Coloradan who sums it up quite nicely:

Because fuck this shit.

Democracy, thanks for being the kind of government where we can put people in charge who actually represent all of us.

Even when you feel a little shaky, we’re still your biggest fans.

Run for Something

Want to help these folks run for office? Sign up at runforsomething.net.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Run for Something

Recruiting & supporting young people running for office. Building a Democratic bench. Want to help? hello@runforsomething.net