I filed my nomination papers on October 12, 2011, and I’m not quite sure how this happened, but five weeks have passed since then. A blink of an eye, a heartbeat, a breath.
It has been an intense five weeks: not so much because of the new challenge of running an election campaign for the first time, but because of the way the demands on my time and attention as a Mom, a candidate, an employee, a graduate student, and a volunteer seemed to escalate at the same time.
As much as I’ve enjoyed the experience, I have to admit I’m looking forward to kicking back tomorrow night, after what’s sure to be a frenetic day, to watch the results roll in once the polls have closed.
And even though tomorrow’s election day, I’ve already begun to file away lessons learned for the future. One of the most significant is that while it’s intimidating to promote yourself as a candidate, in the face of the reluctance of individuals to engage and the malaise that seems to hang over the modern electoral process, the connections you make are invaluable and essential.
I’m not just talking about the encouragement offered by friends and family or the surprising shouts of support from acquaintances, sometimes strangers. My favourite example of the latter was a woman who said to me, “I was talking to my son in Singapore today and he said to vote for Reema Faris.” I didn’t know her, I don’t know her son, but I had been recommended as a candidate in a message sent out by a supporter to acquaintances and colleagues, one of whom was the man in Singapore!
Other connections, connections which may be transitory or incidental, take on additional significance during a campaign because they resonate with meaning. I wrote about one such connection last night: the story of my conversation with a teacher for the visually-impaired who I met during a meet and greet at the Park Royal Shopping Centre last weekend.
I had a number of conversations that day, all of them meaningful in their own way. And one that sticks with me was the interaction I had with a woman who shrugged apologetically in passing, saying that she didn’t have children in the school system.
With all the activity in the days since, my recollection of the details is already hazy, but I think she did pick up a copy of my brochure and we did talk briefly.
What was so significant about this interaction?
Well, I’ve heard that assertion before: “I don’t have children in the school system”. And while that would make the election of Trustees more directly relevant to a voter, the Board serves on behalf of the entire community. So while it’s critical that you get out to vote tomorrow, please take the time to encourage everyone you know who also votes to cast their ballots, not just for Mayor and Council, but for Trustees as well whether or not they have school-age children or grandchildren. The Board of Education is theirs and they have a right to exercise their discretion in choosing candidates who will serve on their behalf effectively, efficiently, diligently, and passionately.
As I hope to do in West Vancouver.