Someone Else’s Side Character – Part 2

HAPPY MARYLAND PRIMARY ELECTION DAY EVERYONE!

Just to recap, this is the second segment of a two-part series about viewing my life as a side character, and explaining it in writing is actually a lot harder to do than it seems.

Think for a second about your own life, you’re someone’s child, someone’s sibling, someone’s mentor, someone’s mentee, someone’s best friend, someone’s significant other…

Now think about where you live– maybe you got your house specifically built for you, or maybe you’re the first tenant in a new condo complex, but chances are there was someone living before you, and there will be someone living after you. You think of it as your home, but really you’re just a passing resident of a home with a rich history and future. Your house isn’t a part of your life, you’re a part of its. Your life is much more fleeting than you think.

Regardless, as promised, I want to talk about the two weeks that I spent on a political campaign.

After I found out that one of my brother’s teachers was running for Maryland House of Delegates, I had to meet him. For years I heard so much about him: he has been deferring law school for multiple years, he worked on Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, he left a well-respected IBM job to be a Computer Science teacher, and he himself went to the high school he is now teaching at. Intrigued with curiosity over someone who has the same unconventional interests as myself (technology, law and government, policy) I had to meet him. So of course, at a school event when I saw him in the next row, I pulled my brother away from his friends and made him introduce us.

During my time in the U.S. Senate, the communications director, the upstate press secretary, among many other people, all said that at some point in my life I should work on a political campaign. Even during my time at FiscalNote, the CEO had said that his time on the Obama Campaign was unparalleled.

Honestly, I wasn’t planning on heeding their advice – I never saw myself canvassing, or taking the time to move with the campaign, or even spend a few months working towards an election – unsure of what the results may be. But of course, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.

After I met him, I took a look at his policies and where he stands and I couldn’t pass up his offer to help him this summer. So alas, after my time in the Senate, I joined Samir Paul’s election campaign for District 16 Maryland House of Delegates.

Summer 2018

Most of my job was getting out the vote and making sure people knew about Samir and voted for him, mostly by canvassing, but also by stuffing envelopes and doing outreach.

It also helped a great deal that my friend Katie decided to come out and canvass for Samir as well!

So there we were, June 2nd on a lovely cloudy Saturday morning, wearing patriotic gear – I was wearing my March For Our Lives shirt (which finally shipped!), Katie was wearing a comfy outfit ready to run from door to door. With iced coffee in hand and tons of pamphlets to pass out, we were ready!

So for two weeks, I would go out and canvass in the evening hours when people were home from work. Of course, I went in assuming the worst – that canvassing would be similar to the one in Parks and Recreation and New Girl, where people slam the door on you, they throw things at you, they yell obscenities at you, and you’re pretty much in the worst position possible. So needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when people took literature and actually took the time to listen to what I had to say. Of course, my job was also a lot easier, because praising my candidate is an easy job to do – most people had already heard good things about him and those that hadn’t were ready to be swayed and promised their vote.

Then on the last two days of helping Samir out, I worked at an Early Voting center.

Thursday June 14th and Friday June 15th

Thursday and Friday I was at the Jane E. Lawton Community Center helping out with early voting, from 10am-8pm, and 12pm-8pm, respectively. My job was just to remind voters of Samir’s name and pass out literature for people entering the voting center. I was wearing my yellow Samir Paul shirt, and everyone who saw it, had plenty of anecdotes to share: “Oh I’ve met Samir before, and he’s wonderful – absolutely will be voting for him,” or “Oh I know Samir from [insert event here]” or “Oh I have the greatest story about Samir – [insert story about how they’ve known him for years]” and then they would comment on how sharp, intelligent, passionate he is, and I knew I made the right decision in joining his team!

There were a few candidates at the Early Voting center as well: Samir himself, Mr. Marc Korman, Ms. Ana Sol Gutierrez, and about a dozen more, and meeting them was quite exhilarating; they are all such amazing candidates. But the coolest thing about Early Voting is that I was one of the youngest people there. Everyone else who was working at Early Voting was at least 5 years elder to me and have been politically active for years.

Even though it was really hot, I tanned about 6 shades darker, I probably was one degree away from a heat stroke because the dehydration life was real, I think early voting were my two favorite days of the year. Talking to the other volunteers was really easy – they all had such amazing stories: about their kids, their grandkids, their jobs, and they were genuinely interested in getting to know me and hearing what I had to say. All the stereotypes about baby boomers and other generations hating on millennials could not be more false. People who didn’t even know me were proud of me for attending Law School in the fall, and the experience was amazing.

I also ran into a man, Daniel, who I had met with briefly about 6 years ago when I worked in the Maryland State Attorney’s Office. He remembered me from the Domestic Violence unit and he was supporting the election of his wife for the Court Clerk. What a small world! I also met this amazing woman, Lucy, who despite being in her 80s was more active than ever. She spent multiple days actively canvassing for multiple candidates throughout the day. Her stories and life were so fascinating, and it was amazing how she was so politically active and cared so much. Everyone jokes that when they are older and retired from work they want to sit at home and relax, but I want to be as active as her. There were also a lot of people that I talked to that I never actually got the name of but we talked to each other like we were old friends. It was such a crazy feeling, that even though we had nothing in common, we were all bonding together for something we care about – Democracy.

This was another big moment when I thought about being the side character in someone’s life. I’m Samir’s volunteer, a participant in Maryland politics, a friend to all the people who were volunteering, and an unnamed companion on a day where people get to voice their opinions in the most purest form of our Democracy. It’s amazing how much someone can impact your life without them even knowing it. I wonder if they’ve even thought about me since Early Voting and I wonder if I’ll run into them again someday.

Now a super big shout out to Samir Paul for giving me the chance to join his campaign. Words can’t describe how awesome this experience has been for me! And for those of you in District 16 in Maryland, residents of the Potomac, Bethesda, and Rockville Area, I strongly encourage you to cast a vote for Samir Paul. There is no one who cares more about the future of our state than him, and he is the right choice for District 16! He’s a teacher, and believes in young people, which is especially important during a time when kids are creating a movement in gun violence. He is a progressive candidate and is endorsed by a number of organizations. I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for him. If you like my blog even a little bit, visit his website to learn more about him and where he stands, and actively consider voting for him today!

Here’s hoping for some good news in the next 12 hours!

As for Turtles All The Way Down, which is how I started the first part of this blog post, there was another quote towards the end of the book that resonated more clearly with me.

You’re both the fire and the water that extinguishes it. You’re the narrator, the protagonist, and the sidekick. You’re the storyteller and the story told. You are somebody’s something, but you are also your you.

So here’s to me creating fires and also finding the water to extinguish them, to me narrating my life through these blog posts as both the protagonist and the side character in other people’s stories, the storyteller of my past 23 years and a person who has her story told. I am somebody’s something, but I am also my own.

So think of yourself not only as a side character, but as a person capable of change. Go through life expecting to learn something from everyone around you. Go through life assuming you know nothing. Go through life with an open mind, because you never know what might happen.

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions on this page are my own and I was not sponsored by any of the candidates to write this post. My support for these candidates is purely my own.

Until tomorrow 🙂

xo

Sandhya

For more of my posts, thoughts, and opinions, please click the follow or subscribe button below!

If you have any thoughts or comments, I encourage you to write them below, I love talking to all of you! Also feel free to reach out to me via email by tumblah28@gmail.com, or through twitter or tumblr!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mikee says:

    I’m inspired by your dedication to the community! It helps me realize what I can do myself 🙂 Keep it up!!!

    Like

    1. Sandhya says:

      Thanks so much! That means so much to me 🙂

      Like

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