Local or national, politics is not a spectator sport

Candidate development coordinator Amanda McDougald Scott delivered these remarks at the GCDP September breakfast.

By Amanda McDougald Scott

Given the events this week, and the enormous responsibility we have from now until February 29, 2020, and then until November 2020, I want to briefly talk about courage this morning.

There has been a lot of talk among those of us who are paying attention to the Primary this early in the game—some of it is fun, and some of it worries me. A couple of weeks ago, I likened politics to a friend as our “sport” when she, an avid sports fan, wondered how we keep up with all the details and ins and outs of our candidates.  Like we who are up at 8:30 and at a Democratic Party meeting on a Saturday do–watching young political stars rise–some sports fans have been watching since star athletes were in high school, keeping track of them all the way through college—then through their professional careers. That’s why fantasy leagues are so popular and in some cases, lucrative.

Like sports, there are always plenty of polls, pundits, and statistics to predict who the best players and teams are going to be.  That’s why upsets are so exciting.  When the young basketball player who kept not making the team -due to height mostly- was determined to continue to practice, finally making the team, everyone was surprised.  People talked about the stars that they knew, and continued to doubt the new person even after he made the team.  It wasn’t until the new person showed up and came to play that people started taking notice.  Steadfastly, the new, unknown, unskilled player was the star of the team.  He became the star of the All-American game, then went on to win the NCAA Championship as a freshman at the University of North Carolina, and among other achievements along the way—was also on two Olympic gold-medal winning teams in the Olympics.

I told you an extremely brief story about Michael Jordan to ask this question: in an exciting and crowded field of Presidential candidates, who is our Michael Jordan?  Who will bring us out of this divided time we currently live in to a state of unity?  Who has the courage to make hard decisions, openness to learn in order to make strong and informed policy decisions, and agreeableness to re-enter and repair the international relationships so crucial to our survival in a global world?

Let’s have the courage to consider things like

  • Getting to know a new person
  • A woman President
  • Who can restore our freedom?
  • Who can restore our communities?
  • Who will bring justice to those who have been overlooked, ignored, and trampled upon?
  • Who prioritizes environmental responsibility?
  • Who is clear in their message, open, curious, and genuine in their communication?
  • Who can run our government?
  • Who is nimble enough to handle the irrational and erratic input from the Trump campaign once we get past the primary?

Who are the leaders we can count on to do the hard things, look at long-term strategies, and implement policies that will lead us to a better future?

Today’s program includes a report on local efforts to combat climate change. We have seen Greta Thunburg address the UN this week and demand change. Many children walked out of school this week to protest inaction on environmental responsibility.

We indeed have an environmental responsibility, and it takes a little inconvenience on our parts to make the future for our children and grandchildren possible. I say possible, because at this point, I’m wondering if Brandon, Polk and I need to live at the top of Mount Mitchell in 20 years in order to survive.  Polk has asthma, so will he be able to breathe? 

We are all fascinated by and investing in the presidential campaigns, watching for the best candidate—and hopefully contemplating who our Michael Jordan might be, but we should simultaneously remember that starting locally is the most expedient way to achieve change, and having the courage to be uncomfortable in the process is necessary.  We need to have the courage to show up and elect, support, and embody the change we wish to see. 

Be the change you want to see: Help the party with a much-needed donation or volunteer to help!

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