Now here's the deal: We all have opinions, beliefs, ideals. And while I have those perspectives just like anyone else, I also tend to stay away from being too political. Partly because I'm not well-versed in politics. I don't always know how things run. I struggle to recall my senior year government class from high school. I forget what each branch of the government does. And I most likely couldn't tell you important people of congress.
I don't mind sharing my viewpoints or supporting something I believe in. And just because I can't give you the run down of every political party out there doesn't mean I forfeit my right to think, feel, and believe. But, politics are sticky. Elections can be dirty. And I think when opposing sides tear each other apart, it's disgusting.
All that being said, I also believe in change. Although we do not currently live in my husband's school district (where he teaches), we grew up there and intend to be back in time for our kids to start school there. And as a teacher's wife, the mother of future district students and a future taxpayer for this district, I was increasingly unhappy with the attitude and choices being made by the current school board.
Apparently, other people were too. Several months ago, a write-in candidate campaign formed for yesterdays election. The write-in candidates made great points, and seemed to be looking out for everyone's best interests. Coming from a very Republican county, it was a long-shot. Not being on the ballot was a strike against them, and not being affiliated with any party was another (although, the idea of taking the party politics out of school board elections is becoming increasingly popular). But I applauded their efforts to try to make a difference and hoped for the best.
Yesterday, tens of thousands of school district residents went out to vote. Throughout the evening, I checked in on the results, and was surprised to find that the write-in candidates were making a great fight. In a way I could have never imagined. Each precinct's results showed that the race would be close. Our local paper, The Daily Local, has been doing a great job of covering the school board race, even holding their own candidate debates (complete with live tweeting!). They reported in an article from today's paper that the "massive write in campaign against the status quo of the Democratic and Republican parties Tuesday for school board candidates in the West Chester Area School District has made the race for six school board seats too close to call."
I can't help but think this is beautiful.
Yes, beautiful. Not because of politics. And really, not because of one "team" winning or losing. The beautiful thing about this massive write-in campaign is the picture of a community passionately coming together to rally for what they believe. For change. For their community. For their own families. And, above all, for the kids.
In this era of technology, where "personal" interactions are limited to quick tweets or Facebook status updates or an email, we've lost a sense of community. It was not that long ago that we believed in a village raising a child. We lived in neighborhoods that had block parties, where the families that lived steps from one another actually knew one another. And shared life.
Community is about sharing life. About caring not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. That means whether you have kids or don't have kids, like kids or don't like kids, doing what is in their best interest simply because they are part of your community. Because every person matters.
So it may be a few days until we know who won the seats on the school board. There is a lot of counting, tallying and deciding to be done. But in some ways, while I yearn to see change, I already feel somewhat victorious. Because the write-in candidates put up a fight. Our community put up a fight. For what they believed in. Together.
And in my book, that is victory all on it's own.