The amount of work required to get this campaign running has exceeded my expectations by a large margin. Just like any startup, there is no way of understanding before one gets down to work just how much work there actually is.
I learned from the manager of a furniture rental business that her business is growing rapidly, and that she knows that’s because people are increasingly unable to buy the bits and pieces they need for their homes. So they get her stuff – “No Credit Checks” – and pay much more on a weekly or monthly rental than they would if they were able to buy. I learned that the thrift shops and consignment stores are getting more high-end clothes every day, as people find that they just don’t really need those extra jackets and purses and scarves, or at least that perhaps they have a better use for the money they represent. I learned that all the people who run these operations all care about their businesses and their customers, that they all vote, and that they all feel forgotten by the powers that be.
I’m learning that discussions about fine points of budgets and tax points and jurisdictions and foreign policy pales in importance when compared to working for the people of the riding. There is work to do here – I’m beginning to understand the real meaning of “representation” – to stand in Parliament as the representative of the people of this riding is a real and solemn duty. And I’m learning that attack ads and the “blood sport” of politics are irrelevant to the needs of the voters. They’re just manipulation of emotions, pure and simple. There is no need to be unkind to anyone, and there is no need to appeal to dislike and division to win “power”. When I’m on the street listening to people, all that crapola just vanishes into the haze. There is real work to do – it has nothing to do with position or power or prestige - just plain old-fashioned work.
And I’m learning that I’m ready for it. It’s not imaginary anymore, not just a fantasy or a dream. This is my work. I’m looking across the room at an empty wall chart, 10 feet wide by 5 feet high, “Kidder Campaign Schedule”. Now it’s blank. Now it’s time to fill it in. Here we go.