By Gary Kopycinski
Why do you want to run for office?
This may or may not surprise some of you, but I first took seriously the possibility that I might run for office after reading Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men …And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!
What did I learn from Dr. Moore? (Just kidding to my friends on the right. I know he does not have a doctorate.)
Moore was elected to the Davison School Board in 1972 at age 18, and was amongst the first persons in the country to hold elected office at this age. He also ran on a platform of firing the existing High School Principal. (citation) He writes in this book how his principal went from calling him "Moore!" on one day, to "Mr. Moore" the day after he won the election.
And he did, in fact, succeed in firing his High School Principal. And he felt terrible, later in life, for having done so.
At age 18, Michael Moore was driven by his ego to run for office.
That’s not why I ran for office. In the book Stupid White Men, Mr. Moore makes a case for why we should all get involved in the system, if we care.
It’s those passages that first nudged me into considering that, indeed, I might stand a chance if I ran for office.
So why do you want to run for office?
Let me start with the "Don’ts."
- Don’t run for office if you feel you need to run for office, if you need the elected position to make you whole.
- In other words, don’t run for office if you want to win.
- Don’t run for office if you are being driven by your ego.
- Don’t run for office if your ego is calling to you, demanding affirmation, convincing you that you are right beyond all others.
In other words, if you run for office, be concious of your ego.
It’s easy to loose sight of everything else if your ego appears front and center every time you think about winning.
Why should you run for office?
- Run because you want to make a difference.
- Run because you can think for yourself.
- Run because you can think.
- Run because you like to solve problems.
- Run because you admit that you don’t have all the answers.
- Run because you realize that you still need to learn.
- Run because you want to learn more, because you know that there is a world of information out there, and you are hungry to learn everything/anything you can from that world.
- Run to solve society’s problems.
- Run to invest yourself in the complexities of your nation, your state, your community…
- Run to invest yourself in the complexities of life.
- Run because you realize that there are no easy answers.
- Run because you realize that seeking resnolutions to problems requires an ability to appreciate the nuances of life…
- … the nuances of each dilemma …
- … the nuances of each question …
- … the many, many shades of gray.
In other words, run because you want to serve, not be served.
There will be some who desire to play to your ego.
YOU do not matter. Those you serve matter.
In other words…
Lose your self in service to others.
Lose the ego.
Run because you want to serve.
People will see that and they will vote for you.
Just don’t let it go to your head when/if you win.
Remember: you are running to serve, not be served.
Don’t run to win.
Run because you want to serve.
The writer is a village trustee in Park Forest. This reporting and commentary is his own. This publication is privately owned and is not affiliated with the Village of Park Forest in any way.
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