What I Realized After The Aftermath and Redux
As I sit in bed after a hectic two-day adventure at the state Republican convention (sometimes my blogging location of choice), I find myself recounting virtually every last minute of this weekend’s event. That is what I will call it because frankly, I really do not know what else to call it!
Let me recap Friday:
- 11:40 AM: We are roughly 9 minutes away from Foxwoods until Josiah called to have us make a run to Staples.
- 1:10 PM: We get to the second floor where our headquarters were to meet our entire team and get started on finalizing the handouts, eating pizza and beginning to “get out the vote” thorough the entire Foxwoods building.
- 5:00 PM: Everything is on schedule, although we are tired. Still working.
- 7:30 PM: Our headquarters closed, so now we needed to get our overnight room situated. The hotel almost had a smooth check in for us … almost.
- 8:15 PM: We dropped our stuff in the room and off to Staples to make 800 copies before 9 PM tonight when they close (Now we were truly screwed!).
- 9:05 PM: We made the copies in time because we were smart: We printed out 3 main copies, put 1 copy on each of the printers at Staples (3), and made 300 copies each (Thanks to the Norwich Staples store).
- 9:40 PM: We get back to the hotel.
- 10:30 PM: We sit down and grab dinner at the Golden Dragon restaurant.
And now I am going to recap Saturday:
- 7:30 AM: We meet at headquarters as the sky opens up. We begin passing out reception flyers.
- 8:00 AM: Reception starts and while that is going, we are passing out the flyers and are beginning to work the delegates. I discuss the probability of us NOT even being able to convince others to vote for our candidate. My thinking is: “Stay away from the Stewart people or else … it will not look good!” And the race is on!
- 4:15 PM: While in the convention hall, the room is darkening and people are debating back and forth on who to vote for since the third round of voting was happening for the Governor nominee – and it was time for switches. I think chairman JR was getting frustrated that more people were voting “nay” to ending the voting since it was close … 50.14% to 49.24%. And afterwards, the Lieutenant Governor’s race was beginning. We did not even need to go to a 2nd or 3rd voting ballot because our candidate had over 50% and delegates were switching. I noticed tons of people line up in formation to switch their vote to our candidate. Some people started to scramble because we (and they) knew anything can happen in a blink of an eye. And we (the campaign team) see what is happening and move quickly as we can to witness what was happening and everyone starts shouting and clapping happily and wild … “Get everyone now! He won! He won!“
- 7:30 PM: Voting is closed .. We won!
And then we stayed … and stayed … and stayed … and stayed … and then we finally gathered together (our whole team) and ate at The Scorpion restaurant before we went home. Not to mention that yes, we took a ton of photos too!
Remembering what happened Saturday afternoon especially, it is really funny how I seem to be able to handle anything that is thrown at me, but I can still allow people to get under my skin a little bit … even people I do not know. The sheer lunacy of some situations or conversations leave me shaking my head, wondering if people actually hear the words erupting from their mouths.
I’ll give you an example without saying any names:
Imagine walking with your candidate to talk to a group of delegates and someone, who clearly was angry about something, goes up to you in front of a big group of strangers you do not know (when you are not even the candidate) and says:
“Go fuck yourself for supporting [insert candidate’s name here] and tell your candidate to go fuck himself because he is a scumbag.”
This was the moment for me where I was able to see the dirty side of politics that we usually tend to laugh at and take “for granted.” It becomes a different situation when you are actually involved in it. And you see things from a different lense.
Of course, people supporting other candidates get competitive. And quite frankly, on the other hand, I do not blame these people for wanting to win. However, for people to get mad at me when I never did anything wrong, makes me shake my head and again, wonder if people actually hear the words erupting from their mouths.
And yes, Hillary fans: This quote from Hillary herself is one I actually agree with especially since I applied it – and the example of me applying her quote was when I smiled and walked away from the situation “the bigger man” by saying absolutely nothing:
When they go low, we go high.
I think our candidate winning was karma for the “naysayers” that have no clue what comes out of their mouth. And if so, it was damn good karma!
Now, there was bad weather heading up the east coast as well as coming in from the west–a double hit. Just prior to the arrival of the bad rain was what I, the average Joe, thought was an unformed funnel cloud filled moving towards the hotel. When I witnessed this happening, I said to a friend of mine: “Well man, it’s been a great ride but this journey is about to come to its final end.”
Not kidding … I thought I was done for.
Or maybe it was just me panicking since being elevated in bad weather can make someone nervous. And I do not even get nervous about anything really!!
The event was, of course, the smartest decision I ever made. Thanks to Dr. Wharton for putting me in touch with the campaign and for everything he has done for me since my time started at Southern Connecticut State University four years ago. He truly is remarkable of a mentor, teacher and best friend and colleague. I am sensitive enough to the time commitment people make for opportunities like this and I thought that there was no way on this earth people could drop their lives and show up on a Friday and Saturday with short notice.
And I thought I would never get involved in politics … Now I finally am!
Being a member of this winning campaign team taught me that when it is done correctly, it is a beautiful “in the making” moment. It is almost similar to the commitment one makes as a music student or as a teacher. You agree to some sort of contract upon the start of something. This then commits you to the established calendar. This means you know when you are required to be in attendance and when you may schedule the rest of your life through (for examples) work and other obligations. I knew when I made it a volunteer situation that it was more than a volunteer situation.
I felt like I joined another family.
And a small family it was. We had about 6 to 7 people not including the campaign manager. Yet, we had a blast! Once we figured out what we could do and what we could not do, we got into a routine. Everything fell into place. Yes, we ran around almost every minute of the day making sure our delegates were all set. Yes, the delegates and us were excited when we kept hearing our candidate’s name announced … with a few switches on the first vote surprisingly. And yes: I broke out my excitement and smiled with my teeth showing!! I shared the moment with great people, chatted, laughed, and waited for the gavel to signal the closing of the convention when our candidate won.
And with this, I learned a few things this weekend about myself and about the experience that I have always had a secret interest in that I want to share:
- When people seem direct your anger at you for no reason, do not take it personal because in the words of our President: “It is just business.”
- Always try to bite your tongue for small things that are really not worth arguing or fighting about. Taking the higher road in petty situations makes you really feel that you are top of the world. At least that is how I felt.
- I actually can “rough it up” and stay up all hours of the night!! I might be on the same level now as those who love to party! I think I can fit in now!!
But for Heaven’s sake people … when hell seems to be breaking loose and it places everyone in harms way, it is simply not safe for anyone to get involved in it unless it is worth it (going back to lesson #2). So, when I hear people saying things like: “Go fuck yourself and tell your candidate to fuck himself too,” I have to wonder if they actually HEAR the words coming out of their mouth.
This weekend, I have had the privilege of working with and meeting what at last count was over thousands of people from across the state. I also had the privilege to work with the campaign team. So, I will say this:
The members of the campaign are who they are because of those who came before and the philosophy upon which their dedication and motivation is built. I have never been more proud to be associated with such incredible people.
The trust and respect for the people I worked with and met this weekend is huge. They listen, they respond, and they act appropriately. A group of people who were worn down to the very fibers of their souls after two 24-hour days at a casino during a “make it or break it” situation all quietly worked together to achieve a “W” without any sort of panic from one location to the other in a matter of minutes!
Not to mention how Pam was so cool, calm and collective in the process! It is truly remarkable. If I was in that position, I would have died (not literally).
And that leads me to say: Politics is a MACHINE!!
So, what does one like me do after being trapped for two days inside a casino for probably an exciting, yet important event so far? The answer is: CATCH UP ON SLEEP SINCE I AM STILL TIRED!!
And today … well, yes, today, I went back to the usually happenings. We have to catch up on other things. However, until election day, we will pull each other together as a whole. Those of us on the campaign journey will have a blast and that is guaranteed.
And the unveiling of primary day? Stay tuned!
I am a lucky man to experience life in the way I do. I am glad I can share what I realized and took away after the positive aftermath and redux.