You decided to take the first step in politics. When do you move from being a voter to a politician? Personally, I found that when you decide to run for office, you will obtain the “politician” badge. Strangers will cheer you or hate you and the uniformed will not trust you, no matter your integrity. You will be asked trick questions and your words will be taken out of context. I was labeled both a politician and political activist. The “activist” label surprised me, but I suppose trying to change things and make a difference is what activists do. Are you ready for this? Be brave, it’s worth it.
How do you get started?
Sometimes getting involved may be simply joining a party, attending events, donating and volunteering. If the party leadership thinks you are worthy of a slot on the local committee you have a start. You may be asked if you would like to run for a low-level office against the opposing party’s incumbent. It sounds like exciting stuff! Often it is… helping candidates campaign and sometimes win, meeting new people, meeting leaders and sometimes getting the inside scoop on things is fun.
So what are the downsides? You donate a lot of time and effort and get passed over because someone’s friend desires the slot. You might be asked and encouraged to run for a low level office against the competing party’s incumbent. You have never done this before and find there is little or no help from the party. You are left drowning until you lose.
Say you want to avoid the “paying the dues” because you want to accomplish things now and you see opportunities. This can be done, but don’t expect it will be easy and that you will be welcomed with open arms. On the occasions where you are, know that in politics, you never really know who your friends are. Is there a “good ol’ boy” network? Sometimes there is. Political party committees, depending on location, leadership and member activity can maneuver things to accomplish what only the leadership may desire. It all seems good until you see the result is not what you expected. I have witnessed this personally several times and at first it can be shocking and it is never “pretty”. Take heart though, you will meet people who will inspire and motivate you.
No matter how you start, you first must earn respect. To gain respect, especially from political leaders, you must be confident. When speaking about something, be knowledgeable and never stop learning. Listen to others and ask questions when someone else has the experience you do not have. The person who asks questions is not dumb, for soon he/she will have answers.
Thank you for stopping by and being a patriot!