When I left the military in 2004 I made a commitment to myself that I would leverage my medical pension and my privilege to make the world a better place. I had been medically released, diagnosed with recurring Major Depressive Disorder and deemed unfit for military service. The releasing medical officer recommended I find low stress work, that I wasn’t really cut out for the demands most people can handle.
Ya, screw that noise, I’m smart, capable and an overachiever, putting me out to pasture before I was 30 seemed like a bit of a waste. So when we moved to London in 2005 I started volunteering in all kinds of things, trying to decide what my “thing” was.
One piece I had really wanted to explore was myself as a political being so I researched the federal parties and picked the one that was the closest to what I agreed with and started volunteering. I did that for a few years, served as a campaign manager, worked with the riding association, heck, for a brief moment in time I was a federal candidate but then I got seriously burnt out. Campaigns are intense and I had gotten on board during minority governments and had helped out for federal, provincial and municipal campaigns. EVERY YEAR.
It’s the same people who are engaged, the whole 80/20 rule, 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the political organising. I got emotionally wrung out. I took a break. I even renounced my party membership. I just found no joy in politics any more.
So I voted, I paid attention. On message candidates are terribly boring and the media seems to only cover what the leaders do anyway.
This winter I found out someone I knew was running for municipal council and I got really excited. I figured I could help, I knew a bit about running campaigns. I was interested but I didn’t get excited until the campaign launch. DAMN. I just love campaigning!
I love the analysing, the planning, the door to door, heck I even like putting up signs. It’s so much fun.
So ponder this if you have elections this year, what kind of political animal are you? Can you find your pack? Pick someone to support, donate to their campaign, put up a sign and DEFINITELY volunteer somehow. It’s the one way everyone can influence campaigns and determine what kind of government you get at any level, how cool is that?