Wednesday, September 26, 2012

About Campaigning in the 33rd

I never realized how much I love campaigning.

I am not running for anything, but I am supporting candidates here in the South Bay, and I never knew that I would have had so much fun.

The Congressional race in my new district took me by surprise. I never thought that a long-time, long-term liberal like Henry Waxman would one day have the opportunity to be my Congressman. To say the least, I was not pleased.

For the first time, I attended some of the local political meetings. In one meeting, a fight nearly broke out when one man asked a local candidate about "Article 21" of the UN Charter. The visiting candidate candidly admitted that he did not know. Refreshing, to say the least.

When you're looking for information on candidates and causes, when you want the straight info on the policies and positions of politicians, when you want to make a point and persuade people to vote for what you stand for, the grim "sausage-making" of the passing legislation can yield some tasty morsels or unsavory finds on "YouTube". I used to think that watching Congressional committee hearings would be as much fun as listening to someone speed through legislation on properly fluoridating the nation's water supply. Now that I was getting involved to influence the Congressional race in my home district, I even started calling representatives around the country, including a South Carolina legislator who had the courage to rebuke Waxman for his ongoing ignorance about the massive auto bailouts from three years ago.

This election has yielded a number of unprecedented surprises. No Republican is running in the general election for my Congressional District, yet the Independent businessman, Bill Bloomfield from Manhattan Beach, is taking on the "Eliot Ness" of the House of Representatives. Helping out in his campaign headquarters, I have met a diverse number of people, left and right, who want to see this country get back on track and are willing to come together to get an Independent into office, a man who refuses to take any special interest money, pledging to be guided by common sense and the constituents' interests.

Engaged and informed, I started spreading the word throughout the South Bay. After spouting some colorful, unrepeatable remarks about Congressman Waxman, many people thanked me for informing them about this momentous election. I even approached one couple whom I had greeted casually for years yet never really talked to. The husband, a former marine, told me, quoting Patton: "A plan executed immediately and violently is better than a perfect plan." I could not agree more. I think our political climate would improve if we accepted the good instead of waiting for the best.

I braved the North of Dockweiler Beach scene, Waxman's home court advantage. Despite the empty stereotypes about "The People's Republic of Santa Monica", I talked with many people who shared their frustration about the direction of this country, including a young mother who had joined the "Occupy Movement", a few felons who unfortunately cannot vote, and some open-minded Democrats who were willing to listen. Then again, there was this one guy who chewed me out for trying to rally voters against Henry Waxman, one of a dwindling faction of "Waxman Fanatics". Armed with an ice cream cone, he looked ready to cream me. Ironically, his little tirade piqued some other passers-by, who after a few minutes with me were inclined to vote for Bill.

People will share their opinions, if you listen. People will respect your opinion, too, if you listen. I never realized how much I love campaigning.

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