I have had many great conversations with Ward 3 residents (and beyond), this election but my Sunday afternoon conversation with (I will call them M) will always be one that sticks with me.
I had noticed as I was walking down the street, that this one particular house had Andrea Horwath, Nrinder Nann, and Maria Felix Miller signs on their property. I had no intention to try to sell myself at this residence but I did comment on the porch they were working on as mine is crumbling and the dream is to rebuild one in its place out of wood instead.
As I stepped just past their property line, M pauses cutting to mention that they see that I am running for school board trustee in this election. I feel my heart in my throat for a moment, but I cautiously acknowledge his statement. He obviously knows me by face because I am otherwise wearing no visible indicators of being a candidate. I step on their driveway, and they proceed to ask me what my vision for this role is should I be elected.
We talk for at least 15-20 minutes, measuring their next cut a few times in between, Never did M raise their voice, or talk down to me, but rather calmly asked questions and inserted their thoughts on the matters important to them.
It’s safe to say that we both walked away steadfast in our beliefs, but I will say that I have thought a lot about their insights into these issues that are known to divide. Had they chased me off their porch – as a PPC voter did during the 2019 federal election – we both would have missed out on an opportunity to practice moral courage in seeking to understand the viewpoints of our others.
There is nothing wrong with walking away still sure of your points of view, but the lessons learned from those conversations build up in us and shape our opinions over a lifetime of continued learning and curiosity about people and how our world turns.
Thank you, M. Regardless of the outcomes of this election, that moment represents what I wanted most during this campaign; to have calm discussions in an effort to find a more unified path forward.
I have had many in-depth conversations but as much as I love the easy ‘I have already voted for you’ greetings at the door, the greatest gifts are the discussions we have to work at.
Sometimes these conversations will start off and even end with anger. Sometimes when we are passionate about something this emotion reigns supreme. That’s okay too. These are our kids we are talking about after all, but the response is the same either way: Listen, respect other points of view, and move on without the end goal being ‘winning’ the conversation.
Although sometimes on the campaign trail it feels like an us versus them battle, I fall asleep fast and hard after all those steps each day, knowing that am not running against anyone; I am running for something, and that something is simply a different way forward to achieve common goals.