When I tell people that I intend to run for mayor of Seattle, they either laugh or just look at me like I’m crazy. I don’t suppose I really blame them. If they told me that they intended to do the same, I might laugh or look at them like they were crazy as well.
Here’s the thing about my impending mayoral run, though … I’m fully cognizant of the fact that I will not win. I’ll get my vote, my family’s vote (hopefully), the vote of a few friends, and perhaps 20 or 30 novelty votes (I can see the bumper stickers now … “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Seattle Rex”), but I’m aware that I won’t get anywhere near the 100,000 or so votes needed to win the election, or as they call it in Japan … the erection.
So, why, you may ask, if I know that I cannot win, will I bother running? What will be the point?
While most people equate knowledge with education, I’ve always equated it with experience. Remember the old Simpson’s gag where they bring Grandpa Simpson in to add life experience to the writing team, and one of the young, college-educated writers raises his hand and says “I did my thesis on life experience!”
Well, most jokes are based in reality, and this one was no different. In my opinion, most writers (and I include bloggers in this category) are over-educated and under-experienced. This is why they all tend to sound remarkably similar, and most of them hold identical, UW classroom-inspired political views … democrats good, republicans bad, feminism good, racism bad, yada yada yada. They graduate from high school, spend 4 years in college, intern at the local rag, and move up the ranks. That’s the prescribed path to writerdom, and increasingly … bloggerdom. While blogs are supposed to serve as a check and balance against corporate media, most Seattle bloggers are ex or current writers for traditional news outlets.
Obviously, I took a very different path. This is why I got started so late. Experience takes time. Instead of writing about local bands, I went out and started one … or twenty. Before writing about drug addicts, I got a habit of my own. Before writing about the difficulties of getting clean, I kicked. Before writing about living in Las Vegas, I lived in Las Vegas. Before writing about the corruption of the mainstream media, I got a job as a photojournalist for a major newspaper. In the past three years I’ve been to court three times, and luckily, I’ve won all three times. I’ve flown airplanes, I’ve programmed computers, I’ve played basketball at a high-ish level, I’ve been a bicycle messenger, I learned to surf, and I’ve been bitten by a shark. I’ve been rich, poor, and everything in-between.
I understand the things that I write about, because more likely than not, I’ve been there. I can empathize. This is why, try as I have over the years, I simply could not be a critic. People used to criticize me all the time because every show I reviewed was great, and every restaurant I reviewed was awesome, but I just couldn’t bring myself to say harsh things about people who were making their best effort to entertain or please others. Empathy prevented me from doing it. Empathy derived from years of first-hand experience … of trying to do it myself. I know what it’s like to try, and to fail with everyone pointing at you. It’s painful. It’s why I can’t bring myself to rub people’s noses in their failures.
So their latest record sucked? So the burger was overcooked? Goddammit, at least they tried, which is more than you can say for the average fucking critic. What have they done? I mean, besides point out other people’s shortcomings?
Face it, the last thing the world needs is another writer/blogger who learned everything they know about life from a classroom or newsroom, and this is one of the reasons I am running for mayor. I want to live the process before I write about it.
Oh, sure I could pull up the election committee’s website and read about the process of getting on the ballot, but that only tells me what everyone else already knows.
Surely, it’s not as straightforward as it looks. Surely, someone will throw barriers in my way. Surely, the mainstream media and faux-alt press will ignore me as they do most third-party and eighth-party candidates. Surely, the reality of entering an election has issues and pitfalls that aren’t obvious to the overwhelming majority of people. Surely, once it’s over, I will have a much better understanding of the system itself, and maybe, just maybe, that understanding will help someone else.
Two months ago, nobody was even thinking about suing Apple. The very notion was kind of silly, and I got a good deal of email ridiculing me when I first announced the suit.
Well, here we are now, in May of 2012, and I know several people who are bringing their own small claims suits against Apple, solely because they read my blog post. I’ve inspired people to do it themselves, and I’ve assisted some of them in preparing their defenses. I’ve told them what to expect, what to say in response, and I even helped one of them prepare the initial filing paperwork.
Now, did I bring down Apple? Did I cause them to change their policies? Have I dented their share price by even a fraction of a penny?
I did, however, show people how to do something, and I gave them the confidence to realize that they might succeed if they were to make the effort. I identified a couple of mistakes that I made along the way (my judgement would have been higher had I done a few things differently), and in turn, I increased the possibility of success for those who came after me.
This is why I am running for Mayor. For the experience, and to help enlighten non-rich, average citizens who may someday wish to do the same. Not because of some rabid self-delusion that I might somehow, someway win.
Now, all of that being said, I will concede that it sucks to always be the underdog. The person whom others roll their eyes at as they side with the safety and security of the masses. The lone kook that everyone shits on and pelts with rotten tomatoes (at least until you win at which point everyone suddenly loves you).
That is why, this week, I have reason to be a little less down than usual.
You see, even though I tend to be a little, uh, overambitious … I’ve finally encountered someone who makes me look … dare I say it … sane by comparison. What makes it even better is that this someone actually lives in my neighborhood.
Yesterday, the CHS blog ran a story about a Capitol Hill resident named Dick McCormick who is running for …
Now get this …
Are you ready …
Wait for it …
“So what, Rex, the guy’s running for president of the PTA or something, how does that diminish your nuttiness?”
No, see, you don’t understand, the guy is running for president, as in … The President … President of The United States of America.
I’m not kidding.
Now, the first question that came to my mind when I saw CHS’s story was … ‘why are so many “Dick”s attracted to politics?’
Cheney, Nixon, Morris … mainstream politics are full of Dicks. Guys named Richard too.
The second question I had was “is this man serious?”, and as it turns out … he is. Check it out:
While reading through the article, I couldn’t help but smile. Here, finally, was a man after my own heart.
I surfed over to his page, and the guy is not playing around. He has position statements on many of the big issues, he made a YouTube commercial for himself, and he even raised $6,000 for his campaign. I’m impressed.
I’m also ashamed. Ashamed that, in this day and age, such initiative is so rare.
Ashamed that, in a day and age where congressional approval is in the single digits, and a majority of citizens opine that the country is headed down the wrong path … that, yet again, like lemmings to a cliff, these same citizens will flock to the polls in November to pull the lever for the very same people who got us here, and will continue us along the same path.
Ashamed that these same citizens will cruelly tease one of the few people who turned off American Idol, stopped eating bread, stopped attending circuses, and tried to make a difference.
Ashamed by the knowledge that he’s going to be completely ignored and/or ridiculed by the over-educated simpletons in our local media. People who, if it wasn’t covered in Journalism 401, have no idea how to handle such a candidate, unless it’s with the elitist hipster snark that they carefully honed in the dorm their daddies paid for.
Ashamed that, much like myself, poor Dick here doesn’t have a chance in hell at winning more than a few dozen votes. If Dick could walk on water, cure cancer by touch, and implement world peace by decree, he would still have no shot.
Ashamed that, as I’ve explained before, democracy cannot work in the USA.
I am, however, proud of Dick, and I’m glad to see that Capitol Hill still has a few real free-thinkers roaming around, as opposed to those who did their thesis on free thinking.
When November rolls around, I very well may vote for the guy.
If you’re the independent thinker you no-doubt tell other people you are, please consider doing the same.