Thoughts while door knocking:
The more and more doors I knock, the more apparent the disconnect between the citizen and their elected officials becomes apparent. Many don’t know who our mayor is, even if they voted for them.
Though we have trouble with our identifying whom we have entrusted society’s power to, it seems many of us are still very infatuated with the party mechanism. Countless times I have come face to face with someone asking me what party I am representing. The answer is generally the same: I am representing myself.
So often politicians use the party mantle to actually remain unaccountable to their constituents. The binary system means most of us citizens are going into the voting booth to check which ever box says “R” or “D” besides it. In doing so we cast our vote for our tribe and not for any individual.
My walking was cut short this last week as the City of Tustin experienced a tragedy as a fire swept through the Chatham Village Apt complex. Donations of clothing and hygiene items poured into the Orange County Rescue mission. Churches and other organizations banded together to serve those who had lost everything.
This wasn’t a partisan activity. It was humans preserving the dignity and livelihoods of others. While many might not call the response political, I would assert that is because our mindset has strayed so far from what politics should be.
My encouragement for us to take a different attitude when it comes to non-partisan races. Non-partisan races create for us an ability to actually understand who is representing us, without falling into partisan dichotomy we are presented in races near the top of the ticket.
The beauty in that moment, even in the pain, was that the community came alongside those hurting. Non-partisan races as a chance to see the humanity in one another – the same humanity we show in times of tragedy. It’s the first of many steps needed to get rid of our partisan vitriol and come together in a community that will remain regardless of the outcome in March or November.