This past Sunday we went to see The Campaign at Opry Mills. Being a bit of political nerds, we probably enjoyed It more than your typical critic. The day prior was spent either running a 5K with our congressman or reading the Internet lose its collective mind over the latest stage show, er, news from the campaign trail.
Politics played a pivotal role in where I am today (in a very round-about way). Upon moving to Nashville in 1999, one of my first friends in town wanted to run for senior class president, so I designed the posters and bought a pack of stickers. We used stupid, over the top slogans on them extolling many of the characteristics this young man clearly lacked. Ever seen "Adonis" on a campaign poster?
He finished dead last. Did I mention it was a gag?
I applied for UT Martin's student government's freshmen council mostly out of boredom. That was the closest I ever came to holding an office. Almost immediately there was controversy when some of my cohorts misappropriated a university van for a road trip. I was a bit jealous, but glad I wasn't around when they hatched that plan, particularly when it was later discovered by Student Affairs. I got out of that and went to volunteer with the student newspaper.
I covered student government for a year. Go figure.
The candidacy of a friend of mine for what was supposed to be an uncontested seat later that year found me writing threatening letters to the administration, getting tossed out of meetings and being on the receiving end of what would be the first of many angry confrontations with various students and administrators. None of that was particularly fun.
But I did learn a lot from it. The same cast of characters would be yelling on my side of the ball the next semester about other things. Threats were not taken as seriously (was only vandalized once, was threatened with expulsion no more than twice). Keeping those with the ability and desire to bail your butt out of a tricky scenario on your side was something I never wanted to lose sight of. I still love and trust those folks a great deal. I married one of them.
Like I said, I owe a lot to "politics," or at least the democratic process and lively debate. The word gets used to conjure up images of vanity and deceit around this time of year. Perhaps I'm an optimist for thinking it doesn't have to be that way.