The Urge to Run

I don’t need to rehash November 9. You remember how you felt. I remember how I felt. We won’t soon forget those feelings. But one of the biggest things coming out of that early morning was a desire to do something. I’ve always tried to be more than just a social media activist. The Women’s March was a fun memory, but it didn’t feel like enough. I kept asking myself what’s next. How do we fight against this growing movement with more than just a pretty instagram photo and a pithy hashtag?

After one too many drinks at a local East Village watering hole in the hazy post-election days, a friend and I got into a discussion about me, my activism and professional future. She has more campaign experience then I do, working to help elect Bloomberg during his mayoral run. Fueled with red wine, we began discussing a potential run. For me. For some kind of small, local office to start.

“If not you, who?” she said, emphasising my passion and cementing a role for herself to help me better message the issues I feel strongly about.

Recalling a classic episode of The West Wing, I asked if this was our “Bartlet for America” moment. Instead she picked up the cocktail napkin, scribbled a few words and pronounced: 
“No. This is our Qualls for Alls moment.”

It’s been over six months since election night and I still haven’t made any strides to run. I’ve signed up for emails from Emily’s List and She Should Run, but I feel hesitant to make the jump because of where I live. In a very liberal area, with City Councilmen, State Senators and Assemblymen who are actively fighting for the issues I care about, where can I make change? Should I move to a more conservative area where my views can make more of a difference to the area? Should I give up my personal advantages of living in a liberal bubble in order to impact other areas for, what I believe to be, the better?

Add to that an element of fear. Fear of raising money. Fear of youthful transgressions coming out. Fear of failure.

So I sit at a crossroads, waiting to determine what that next step is. If not public office, what other ways can I help better our society? How can I take some of the volunteer work I already do and make more of a difference? Wait and see…