There is a fellow by the name of Lincoln Chaffee. He served as a mayor, a senator, and a governor. In 2015, he launched a bid for the presidency. A major part of his platform was for America to formally adopt the metric system.
Seriously. The metric system. (Choosing this for his campaign is a big regret, he says.)
But, it’s good to ask what I would do if elected. Here’s my list:
- Listen to people.
- Ask good, fair questions.
- Tell the truth.
My sense is that these aren’t happening that much in national politics. Instead politics seems to mostly be about telling people what it’s believed they want to hear while at the same time asking for money.
But I also get that this three-part platform isn’t immediately satisfying. You want to know if I am for or against whatever issue(s) and if our opinions are the same.
Except, I am starting to discover that I don’t have opinions about political issues. What I have is political marketing messages that worked on me. And like many advertising jingles or slogans, I find myself repeating them uncritically.
This is why instead of telling you what laws I think should be passed or repealed I would rather listen to you tell me about your life. Your family. Your challenges. Your ideas.
Because I have opinions, sure, but I’m not running for Congress to represent me. I’m running to represent all of us. So let’s talk. I’ll listen, ask questions, and then tell the truth.
And best of all, I can start that right now, long before Election Day. And perhaps through those conversations, together we can come up with specific actions that make sense and have broad support.
This is what I want to do.
When you tell people you’re running for office, they usually run the other way.
But if they don’t escape the conversation, they have questions. Like why.
We all probably would benefit from to asking ourselves why more often in daily life. But for the would-be elected official, this question is the first and the most important. It’s the one I asked myself in order to get here. Why am I running for office?
My answer is this: I think I can help.
That’s not the usual answer. The usual answer is something about being called to public service. Or about being fed up with the incumbent (who is from that other party.)
I think I can help because of who I am, but also who I am not. I am not wealthy, nor am I a Democrat or a Republican. I am not a career politician or even an attorney. I have not had exceptional success among my peers. And I do not come from a political family.
I am a lot more like you.
I think unconnected, non-political people who aren’t rich are the most common, and most underrepresented group in America.
I’m running for us. Because we, the people, need more of us.
That’s why. Next question?
I’m writing this short post to make a private decision public. I intend to run as an independent for the U.S. Congress in 2022.
These proclamations are typically made in large public events with speeches and banners and rally signs. There’s supposed to be hundreds of people, media coverage, and an outline of the candidate’s platform listed in handy, bumper-sticker-sized slogans. And, of course, there are the appeals for donations.
You know this. You’ve seen it all before. And I’m not sure it’s really working that well for any of us.
Which is why I am making an anti-announcement. Because right now, this is not a big deal. Right now, it’s only a speck of an idea. There’s nothing to celebrate yet.
For it to become something, I have to convince you—and hundreds of thousands of other people—that I am worthy of your trust. That I will listen and learn. That I know I have work to do and I will do that work. That this campaign isn’t about me, but about you.
That’s an enormous ask, which is why I am not asking for anything else.
That’s it for now. More, of course, is to come. Thank you for reading.
Happy Independence Day.