Being a Female Elected Official and Mother of a Nine Year Old Child on Student Council…
Has made it almost impossible for me to respond to what happened in Arizona yesterday to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and those at the site of the shooting that has left her critically wounded.
I learned about the incident in a most ironic way: I had just finished a more-than-two-hour lunch meeting with a fellow female council member. As I walked to the restroom, I pulled out my Blackberry and began to thumb through my email subject lines and the news alerts were there. I audibly started to say, “Oh My God!” and began to shake and tear up – feeling a tightness in my heart for the enormity of the event and anger in my body for the meanness of it.
I’ve never met Gabby Giffords but have been on a conference call with her within the last three months. I’ve also followed her closely over the years because she too is an alumna of a program that encourages women to run for office, the Yale Women’s Campaign School in 1999, a year before she ran for the very first time for Arizona State Rep.
When I learned that a nine year old who had been on her student council had been shot and killed in the rampage, the depth of my identification with even the scant information we received grew.
My instinct to the impulse to which so many people respond by blaming any one or more of a variety of possible factors for the shooting is not to do that too but to find a way to counter those factors.
One way to do that is to break the relentless cycle of people and the media calling public servants corrupt, evil, targets to be hated and “taken out” by the voters and fellow elected officials or candidates. Instead of providing the reading and listening audiences with reasons to be discouraged about our public servants, let’s here – now – give them reasons to be encouraged not only in how they think about public servants, but enough to want to run and be one too.
This is why I’m asking you to please highlight every single good act the public servants you know have ever done – for you, for someone else, for all of us. Do not dare say they haven’t – it’s not true and you know it. Even if the media and political challengers and leaders refuse to dedicate sound bites to this fact.
So – who will be first to describe something good you know a public servant did? And here’s a warning – be prepared to be ignored (at least by me) if you put snark and sarcasm in here. There are lots of other posts for that, this isn’t going to be made into one of them.
See also here on Facebook and here on Twitter. There’s always space for trashing elected officials and candidates – how about spending some time thanking them, thinking what they’ve done for you, again, especially for those who say they’ll never run for office because [fill in the blank].