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May 31, 2007

The Value of the Act of Campaigning

Yesterday evening I attended a kick-off gathering for Gael Tarleton, who is running to unseat Bob Edwards at the Port Commission.  I have been completely taken with Gael the couple of other times I've met her.  She is organized, passionate, knowledgeable and articulate.  I think she would be a great addition to a very stodgy, and sometimes dodgey, commission.

By the time I got to the event, I'd had a very long, hot day and had no paper to write on.  So I decided to forgo writing about her talk or the event this time.  However, just as I went to leave, I happened upon an interchange between Gael and one of her supporters that has stayed with me and that I wanted to share. 

They were talking about the act of campaigning and how much Gael was learning about the particular interests of individual voters.  The man, whose name might have been Martin, said it was amazing how people had one particular thing that they were concerned about and wanted the candidate to know.  He said, "This is what democracy is all about." Gael agreed and said that she had learned so much already from all these types of conversations and that the key for her was finding a point-of-view that could incorporate the many different perspectives of the people she talked with.  She found it both challenging and invigorating.

As I mulled that conversation over later, I thought that there are those candidates, like Gael, who use those interchanges to broaden their own perspectives and others who fend off perspectives that might force them to enlarge their picture of an issue. 

I also thought how valuable these meet and greets are with candidates - for us as voters and citizens.  It is a critical act of democracy.  And, it is not all about money, even though the raising money aspect is important.  I go to as many as I can fit into my schedule even if I know my finances will not allow me to contribute to their campaigns, much as I might want to. 

I want to know which ones are willing to consider new perspectives and which ones are pretty rigid in their thinking.   I want to actively participate in the act of democracy.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 31, 2007 at 08:36 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink

Comments

Lynn - it sounds like a very positive event and I agree, Gael is extremely smart (I might even say "shrewd"), talented and open-minded. I do think Bob Edwards will be looking for new employment soon. Maybe he can partner up with Mic Dinsmore in some new "consulting" scam?

Wish I could have attended. Instead, I went to a town hall meeting in the U-District held by Jim McDermott, which ended up being completely hi-jacked by a bunch of creeps from the Lyndon Larouche Gang. Never in my life have I witnessed such rude and disprespectful behavior exhibited towards a public official, especially when the official is practically all alone in fighting for their interests, as regards the Iraq war and the White House. The fact that these jackasses were so ignorant, uninformed and ridiculously inarticulate made it even more unpleasant. (And, heads up, Larouchies: screaming at your legislator is counter-productive and stupid.) McDermott handled the situation pretty well -- much better than I would have, were I the one fielding their crap. I'm at the point where I think these real-life "trolls" who show up at public events just to stage their one-note-Johnny type protests should be summarily booted out. And apparently, they skipped out on 5th and 8th grade Civics classes. They have no clue as to how the government is set up to work, and only want a dictatorship based on their myopic world view.

I definitely would have had a better time at the Gael Tarleton meet and greet!

Posted by: shoephone | May 31, 2007 11:25:19 AM

Gael is a fantastic candidate and exactly the kind of person we need at the Port - and in public service generally.

Posted by: Bill Sherman | May 31, 2007 12:33:42 PM

The lessons Ms. Tarleton refers to sound a lot like the paperwork side of engineering (my profession) - specifications, requests for proposals, etc. They're the sorts of things most practicing engineers would rather not do, yet they can make or break a project. Doing this paperwork requires knowing the ground - doing the research, understanding the needs of the customer and the physical or financial limitations, that sort of thing. Knowing the ground is a valuable lesson in many professions, and it sounds like Gael Tarleton is the sort who can make the most of an oppurtunity to do so.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 31, 2007 10:12:33 PM

Yes, she clearly has a business/professional orientation that will stand her and the commission in good stead. If I'm not mistaken, it comes from years worth of work in the field of intelligence gathering.

Posted by: Lynn | May 31, 2007 11:13:31 PM

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