It’s been a long time since I’ve updated my blog, though my absence wasn’t because of a lack of political interest. I spent more than a year working full-time on David Garcia’s campaign for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Working on a statewide campaign gave me a whole new insight into the political process and sadly, I can’t say it was pretty.
You all know what happened in the state superintendent’s race… David, who was arguably the most qualified person to ever run for state superintendent, was defeated by a woman who quite literally went into hiding during the general election.
Voter turnout was historically, pathetically low with the majority of twentysomethings, minorities and single women abandoning their voice and their power in the political process.
And that, my friends, was the saddest part of the 2014 election. The very people who have the most to lose are the ones who have tuned out and given up.
I understand their frustration. I relate to the idea that politicians seem untrustworthy and the whole process is just, well, icky.
But it’s time to connect the dots, folks. Your elected officials make decisions that determine if your child will end up in a small classroom of 20 students or an overstuffed and difficult-to-mange class of 40, if working-class moms will have access to quality childcare or if they’ll be forced to choose between their child’s safety or a job, if you’ll be able to afford college or be left with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and few job prospects.
When you live in a democracy that is quickly turning into a plutocracy, things won’t change for the working class – the great majority of Americans – until they start electing people to represent them.
And don’t give me the excuse that no one represents you because I spent a great deal of time with our candidates. They may not be perfect, but many of them were intelligent, caring and open-minded individuals who were willing to put their lives on hold for a year or longer to try and win your vote.
It’s true that the campaigns for Arizona’s state legislature aren’t nearly as exciting as the race for President of the United States. But when it comes to who has more influence over your everyday life, I’d argue the state legislature wins every time.
So good luck to our Millennials and even our Gen X’ers. You (and me) will need every ounce of it to get through the next four years.