Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Gay Vegans: A Few Tips to Political Folks

By Dan Hanley

So much is being written about this past election, as if one party had never controlled both the US House and US Senate, ever. We know this is not the case. As a progressive, I remember that, in not so distant time, both chambers and the presidency were controlled by Republicans and we got through it. Yes, it might have sucked and yes there were some bad things that happened, but we got through it.

After spending a lot of time helping candidates I support get elected, and hanging out at election parties, I was reminded that I have always wanted to write a note to those in politics in regards to my thoughts on what they could do better. This goes to folks in all political parties.

Here you go:

When in public, be kind. Don't be arrogant. This goes for your staff too. Nothing is worse than running into arrogance-filled staff members at events. Anyone representing you or your campaign should be rocking it for you in public.

If you were part of something good, talk about it. Even if it means talking positive about someone who is not popular. For example, the economy seems much better off than it was two or four years ago. Certainly better than six years, no matter who is talking about it. Sure someone who hates the President will tell you, when talking about better unemployment numbers, that this number doesn't include folks who stopped looking for employment, but they never have. Never. So it is still apples to apples.

If you like something, admit it. Don't bs us. I firmly believe that folks will respect someone who sticks to their beliefs, even if those folks don't agree with those beliefs.

Thank people. Yes, you won. It was close. Thank those who took their personal time and decided to do what they could to help get you elected or re-elected rather than spend time with their family, go for a run, or volunteer for a non-profit.

Show up. Nothing sucks more than to see ads with you being attacked for not being present at work. This doesn't fly for most of us, nor should it for you. If you have missed a bunch of work, in any capacity, tell us why.

If you lost an election, don't stop. If it is a four year term that is a bit tougher, but for two year terms run again. And again. If you firmly believe that you are a better candidate and would support the citizens better than the other person, keep going. Rock it in between elections and run again.

Give a shit. This is crucial, although many folks get elected who don't. Many folks in politics want to be mayor or governor or president. If that is the only reason you are running for state house or some other position, please don't tell me that. I want to believe that you actually care about the people who you are asking to vote for you. I get that folks aspire to a higher office, and I also want someone who represents me on any level to give a shit.

And my regular readers would be shocked if I didn't include this part. If you want to make change but do not want to get into politics, the least you can do is vote.

This post originally appeared on Dan Hanley's website The Gay Vegans. Republished with permission.