Electors

I’m seeing a lot of people in my circles very upset today about the electoral college — I’m not one of them, for a variety of reasons.
 
1) I didn’t think there was any real chance the electors wouldn’t give it to Trump (so my hopes were neither raised nor dashed).
 
2) I’m actually…not pleased, but satisfied, that they followed the votes of their state, regardless of their personal beliefs; as long as the electoral college still exists, I think that is what the electors should do. (I also think the electoral college should be abolished, as we have evolved past what the founders wanted to a more democratic ideal. Let’s push for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. It looks promising. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact)
 
3) I am finding that doing my creative and family work is immensely satisfying and healing, so have concentrated most of my time and energy on that.
 
4) I am gearing up to fight politically for the next four years, as needed, on every front, in the ways that suit me best. I find phone calling really emotionally exhausting, so I basically haven’t done any of that. But surprisingly, running for office seems more manageable. Volunteering at non-profits that help those who will be hit hardest by this administration is also very satisfying. From each according to their abilities.
 
Fight back in the ways that suit you best, but the key thing is to fight.
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Forsworn

I’ve filled out my statement of economic interests and filed it with my petitions (due by 5 today), so I am now officially on the ballot for library board trustee. Trump must have filled out a similar form at some point in the running for president process, and I do not see how he can reconcile refusing to put his assets in a blind trust with his signature on that piece of paper. Whatever else you think of him, the man is now forsworn. It makes me angry.

I’m going to need some anger to fuel me; they told me that there are now nine candidates running for the four slots for library board, so this is actually a real race now. (The village clerk seemed surprised — apparently this is an unusual level of civic participation.) I’m going to take this week to be with family and enjoy the holiday, and then come back on December 27th, ready to open a new bank account, set up a campaign committee, start fundraising and planning how to win this race, precinct by precinct.
At yesterday’s party, I was surprised by how many people thanked me for running for office, and said that they would support my campaign. So much frustration and energy in the air, looking for the right channels to pour into. I’m going to need that support, it looks like! Onwards.
#runningforoffice

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Statement

I’m pretty sure that in order to run for office, I need to file my statement of economic interest tomorrow, and that to do so, I need to go downtown to the Cook County clerk’s office. I’m going to call tomorrow and make sure I actually need to do that, because it’s time-consuming and a pain — and confusing, because I think I file the same statement as a state employee every year, and we do that online, so why do I have to go in person for this?
 
Regardless, barriers to entry. Can’t take two hours out of your day (minimum) to go file this piece of paper? No running for office for you!
 
#runningforoffice
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Banking

One thing I’ll be doing this week is setting up a separate bank account for campaign finances, because even though this is a small local race, and I may even be running unopposed, I’ve been advised that I do still need to do some work to convince voters to vote for me, which means at the very least, paying some volunteers in pizza.
 
To that end, any advice on the bank account portion would be welcome. Is it just a regular checking account? The book I was reading said that the candidate shouldn’t be the one writing the checks — does that mean I’m not supposed to have access to the account? Which I assume means Kevin’s not supposed to be the one writing the checks either? So I’d need to find a volunteer campaign manager and/or treasurer?
Other things I did this morning: sent a note to the library director, asking if he has time to meet with me and discuss what he’d find helpful from a trustee, any concerns he has, etc. Put the January library board meeting in my calendar, so I remember to attend.  Added the June American Library Association conference to my calendar, since it’s in Chicago this year; if I’m a trustee, seems worth possibly attending.
 
#runningforoffice
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Not (quite) as calm as I look

Just had a nice little freakout at Kevin about what I’ve gotten myself into with this running-for-office thing. Imposter syndrome, we has it in spades right now. I told him how unnerving it was to walk into parties full of strangers and ask them to sign the petition to put me on the ballot. Why me? Yes, I’m reasonably qualified for this particular job, but so are lots of other people, I’m sure, so where do I get off thinking I should pester a lot of strangers into even remembering my name, much less trusting me with this job? How arrogant is that???

And if I do get the job, what if I mess it up? I’m not a lawyer; I’ve never sat down and read through the Village…what? Code? I’m not even sure what it’s called! I was reading the first chapters of _How to Win a Local Election_ this morning, and one point he made was that you need to start familiarizing yourself with the local laws because you need to know them to get elected and you’ll need them even more if you actually get the job. I’ve never read the local laws. I don’t read the New York Times every morning; I don’t even subscribe to it, or the Washington Post, what kind of poser wanna-be maybe-politician am I anyway???

Kev got me to chill out a little; the big panic was probably mostly because he’s been out of town and somewhat inaccessible by phone through all of this last week and so I was saving up all my anxiety to dump on him at once. Kevin doesn’t seem concerned about my ability to handle the job if I get it, and he’s pretty smart and I trust his opinion, so it’s probably all right. I guess.

But still, I think maybe I should start reading the New York Times every morning.

(Note: You don’t need to take this opportunity to tell me I’m great, though I do appreciate that some of you will want to do that. I think I’m calmed down, mostly. Blogging this mostly in service of transparent documenting of the process.)

#runningforoffice

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Mohanraj For the People

I was there bright and early at Village Hall, ready to file my candidacy statement and attached petition.

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The ‘attached’ is important — it’s a requirement that the pages be bound together in some way, which I had missed; luckily, Matt was kind enough to donate an extra binder clip. There are so many little fiddly details to this process! It is pretty essential to have someone walk you through them, I think. Later this week I’ll need to go downtown and file a Statement of Economic Interests, and then bring a receipt for that back to Village Hall. 

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This morning’s part took about an hour, which was mostly waiting and chatting with the other candidates for library board, village trustee, etc., very pleasant and collegial. Everyone who was there by 8:30 was considered a ‘simultaneous’ filer — we’ll be put in a lottery at the end of the week to see whose names go first on the ballot. (There’s also some value to being last on the ballot, so they’ll do the same for anyone who files in the last hour of candidacy. Fascinating.) The village staff was pleasant and efficient; I don’t think they could have done the work any faster. Still, I couldn’t help thinking about the years when I was temping, at jobs with no flexibility, when taking the time out for an hour of political activity on a Monday morning would have been prohibitively difficult. There are so many barriers in the way.

But for now, here I am, definitively on the ballot! I may have persuaded my fellow library board candidates into a photo op, because I am just that excited about the whole thing. Left to right, we have Matt Fruth, Sarah Glavin, Brandon Spurlock, and Mary Anne Mohanraj. (That’s me. 🙂 ) At the moment, there are four open slots, and four of us running, but we won’t know for a week whether anyone else might be joining the race for library board. So I’m planning to file my statement of economic interests, and then relax for a week, see what happens. Once I know whether this is or isn’t an uncontested race, I’ll start actually planning the campaign.

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Thanks again to everyone who’s helped thus far — the advice-givers and petition-signers. It’s a fascinating process, and relatively painless and even fun so far. Onwards!

#runningforoffice

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Notarized

My forms are filled out, my petition signatures are notarized (thanks to library board member Matt Fruth, who kindly stopped by my house to notarize them, in the midst of a snowstorm, what a mensch!), and I’ll be filing tomorrow morning at 8:30.

Local elections are April 4th — Oak Parkers, mark your calendars! (Someone told me recently that only about 6000 people vote, out of 52,000, in the off-year elections. Surely we can do better.)

Baby’s first run for office, whee! 

One thing I’ve been surprised by, in this whole running-for-office thing, is how very supportive and kind so many strangers have been to me as I figure out this whole process. I ask for help, and so many people have offered it. I hadn’t expected that.

#runningforoffice

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It’s time.

“Decisions are made by those who show up.” That line is attributed to both Harry Truman and Woody Allen. Bartlet and his press secretary C.J. Cregg both say it on The West Wing, during Season 4. It’s been running through my head a lot lately, mostly because of two things:

a) I’m seeing so much frustration in my various communities, so much despair and such a sense of impotence. A fear that Trump is going to drag our country right over the edge of the cliff, and take much of the world with us, and there won’t be anything we can do about it.

b) I’ve been frankly a little astonished at how few people come to Democratic events here. And of course, I say this as someone who went to her first such event last Wednesday, so I’m certainly not casting stones. But I expected way more people to be in the room, especially after the last election. I am a little startled that I’m probably going to be running against perhaps 6-8 people total for the 4 available slots on library board — I mean, it’s not quite unopposed, obviously, but it’s certainly not a hotly-contested race. And I know, library board sounds like a sleepy kind of thing, but whomever wins will be given oversight of a several million dollar budget, and will have the opportunity to shape the library, one of our great civic institutions. One would think that more people would be fighting for that, would be paying attention.

No conclusions here — just thinking out loud. I was talking to a friend this morning, and they were worried that I was working too hard, taking on too much. And I said that a) library board was a relatively small time commitment, and b) that I’m in my 40s now — entering my professional peak years, and if I’m going to change the world, now is the time to start doing it. And they laughed and said I wasn’t going to change the world, that the world was falling apart and there was nothing we could do about it. And I know the news makes it seem that way, but I think that’s exactly wrong.

The world is, actually, improving radically overall, and has been for several centuries. We have to be careful not to fall off the climate change cliff, and there are a host of other problems to contend with, obviously. These are hard problems, and will take hard work to solve. Progressives have just suffered a major setback, and the whole country is going to suffer as a result. But the answer isn’t to give up. It’s to show up.

At the Democratic meeting yesterday, I said, a bit despairingly, to one of the organizers there, that I was worried that Trump was going to roll back all of Obama’s progress over the last few years. And she touched my arm and said firmly, “We won’t let him.”

All right then. Time to show up.

#runningforoffice

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OPALGA

Shout-out to Tiffany and Katy, who suggested that I stop by the local LGBT org’s monthly potluck dinner to collect signatures. The food was divine, the company was delightful, and in about fifteen minutes, I had another twenty-odd signatures, putting me at about forty-seven or so total, which I think is plenty. (25 is the minimum.) I was sad that I had to leave after two hours to relieve my sitter — the carol-singing was just getting going.

It was also refreshing / rejuvenating, in a way that’s hard to explain. So much of my life these days looks very straight, with the two kids and the husband. Most of the people I socialize with are straight families. They’re lovely people, but. After Pulse, I went to a rally in Boystown, and it reminded me that there’s a part of me that longs for queer spaces. It’s not easy to find time for that in my current life, but I do miss it. I wish we had a regular queer open mic or something like that in the area; I bet the teens and twenty-somethings would come. Maybe something to organize in the future.

I’m going to be hosting the potluck in March, which is something.

#runningforoffice

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Tired!

Whoa, I’m kind of shakingly exhausted. I fell into a bath at 8:30, climbed out at 9, and promptly fell into bed again, with no plans to leave it. It’s been a really intense couple of days, between the podcast recording all afternoon yesterday and today (surprisingly tiring, I think because we’re ‘on’ and thinking hard for several hours), and the mad rush of deciding to run for office a few days before the filing deadline, going to political meetings and gathering signatures a bit frenetically. (And of course, I still have this stupid cold. It’s mostly just a lingering occasional cough at this point, but I’m sure it’s making me more tired than normal.)
 
With Kevin out of town, this wouldn’t have been possible without my two babysitters (thanks to Franki and Adam!), and even with them, it’s a little intense of a pace for the kids, who have barely seen me yesterday and today. It’s okay for two days, I think, but not something I’d be willing to do long-term, not with them still so young. Definitely part of my exhaustion is just being drained from worrying about the kids yesterday and today, worrying whether they were upset by the changes to their routine, worrying about whether the traffic driving back from the city would make me late enough to stress the babysitters, etc. (It’s also lucky for us that we can afford the extra babysitting costs — a potential barrier to parents running for office.) But Kev will be back Sunday, and he doesn’t have any travel for months, so we should soon reset into normal family patterns.
 
The house is definitely falling apart, a noticeably higher level of mess than usual. It’s driving me a little nuts. I’ll be home most of tomorrow, though, so I should have time to set it in order again, in between grading final papers. I am weeks behind on Christmas decorating, which is a bit unnerving (I usually do it the weekend after Thanksgiving), but not actually important. I haven’t written anything in days, of course, but I’ve actually learned a bunch from the podcasting, so that’s not bothering me as it might otherwise.
 
Just pondering what exactly winning this election would be likely to do to my life and schedule. I think it’d be fine, though. I’ve decided to delete Scandal from my Hulu queue — that’ll get me back some hours / month this spring. 🙂 Of all the activities in my life that could be cut, giving up some tv is likely the least painful. (I watch a lot of tv.)
 
Plus, this frantic pace is mostly an accident of my deciding to run just before the filing deadline. It should slow down to something more reasonable. And one side benefit already is that I’ve met quite a few interesting and civic-minded people in the last few weeks. More friends for my parties, more people to feed. Yay!

#runningforoffice

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