Yesterday, after I taught about the history of April Fools’ Day, I went out on the campaign trail. One citizen that I met at a party very honestly asked, “aren’t you the fool for doing this — running for office?”
My response may have knocked her over more quickly than those who thought spaghetti grew on trees (a 1957 prank).
I think it takes a bit of a fool to run for office. One has to sacrifice precious minutes that could be spent with family, improving one’s craft, and even leisure and sleep go by the wayside. One has to have a bit of ego to think they can win. And, most importantly, one has to have the passion and compassion.
But the bigger fool is the intended candidate who fails to climb the mountain of possibilities.
One of the most foolish things I have ever done was drop from a helicopter onto the ski slopes in Colorado. I could not, for the life of me, believe I agreed to do something so foolish. As we coursed the mountainside, my stomach churned just as quickly as the chopper blades. But when the door opened, that worry vanished, and I only had one thought:
“Here goes everything.”
When I landed on the snow, I tumbled for several yards until I regained my footing. But once I got up and got going, the intensity was only surpassed by the sheer thrill of it all. The foolishness was left at the top of the mountain.
The same can and will be said about this campaign.
There will be bumps and falls. There will be people who shrug why the county treasurer position is important (do you care about the future of our finances? I do!). There will be others who try to disqualify me because I’ve chosen a career leading our community from a classroom rather than a board room.
Yet, I have been told this before. I was told I was foolish to think the kid who got in trouble could be a teacher. That engaged young people could not change local government. That splashing in freezing cold water in various American costumes could not raise thousands for the Special Olympics (see photo). That I could not help change state legislation and policy on education and fair funding, especially as a Democrat working for Republicans. That I could not dare be a candidate for local office.
I cannot wait to meet you on the campaign trail, if only to prove to you there is a bit of fool in us all. Here goes everything.