I’m Jaded and I Vote…For Myself

November 20, 2008 at 7:36 am (Published)

Published in Pittsburgh CityPaper, May 28, 2003

 

Census data from the year 2000 recorded 2,676 people of voting age in Edgewood.  I want to thank ALL the residents of Edgewood who voted on May 20, not just the 243 who voted for me.  (I ran unopposed on the Democratic ticket, for a 2-year seat on the Edgewood Council.)  With only 243 votes, I had the highest number of votes for any candidate on either side of the ballot, for any of the council seats.  Someone with major political aspirations would find this great news, but as I’m not intent on world domination, instead I am appalled at the lack of interest in this election and in the political process.  Where the hell were the voters?

 

As I sought signatures for my candidacy petition, people were pleasantly surprised that “someone my age (33) cares.”  I was saddened to realize it’s thought of as “unusual” when those of us in our twenties and thirties care enough about our neighborhood and our government to bother getting involved.  No wonder people are leaving the area. When I showed up yesterday to vote for myself, I saw ONE other voter.  The geriatric detail working at the polls was cheerful as ever, but is reaching an age where other volunteers need to become available should these people not be around anymore.

 

How can any of us young professionals in this region complain about the government, or “how crappy it is to live here, maybe we should leave” if we don’t vote, don’t volunteer, don’t run for office?  How can our little kids grow up believing community service is important if we don’t participate ourselves?  We have the power (and the responsibility) to change things…to take care of, and charge of, our neighborhoods!  It’s a right, and a gift, that people have died for.  In Pittsburgh’s School Board election, regular people like us banded together and overthrew the seemingly unstoppable Darlene Harris…it CAN be done.  All you have to do is CARE.

 

I’m nobody special, just someone who cared enough to run for office when asked.  You other folks out there in your twenties and thirties…we have busy lives.  We have stressful jobs and young children and social commitments and a financial situation that looks bleaker every day.  Our only excuse is inconvenience, and that’s a lame-assed excuse.  The time has come for our generation to step up to the plate.  The WWII generation is dying.  The most recent group of “people who care” (our parents, the baby boomers) is retiring.  It’s up to us to start caring now.  I swear I’m just as jaded and disillusioned with the direction of our region and our country as many of you are…but at the end of the day, at least I know I’m doing what I can in my little corner of the world to effect change.  I challenge you:  Show some conscience.  Stop the complacency. And consider the consequences of continued mass non-participation.

 

I’m about the least “candidate-like” person you’ll ever meet.  I have a decent brain in my head, but no degree, no wealth or station in life, and am not related to anyone named Wecht, Bodack or Flaherty.  I’m outspoken, overweight, spend too much time on the internet, buy my clothes at Target and refuse to wear pearl chokers and business suits.  I’m a writer, a musician, a cynic, a Mommy, and also one of a growing group of disenfranchised mid-level professionals with nothing better to do.  But I just won an election, because I cared enough to run, and nobody cared enough to run against me.  Other candidates on both sides of the ticket, more qualified than I am, lost on May 20, and I am very concerned. 

 

In November, vote for me, vote for my opponent Andrea Rockovich, heck, write your own name in, or the name of the Iraqi Information Minister…but VOTE, OK?

 

It’s a start.

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