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The Fish Bowl

After a very interesting day of campaigning door-to-door in my small town yesterday, after being verbally assaulted and threatened with innuendo of scandals of my past being brought to light, I was  still awake at 3am thinking about everything I have ever done, said and even thought – any skeletons that I have left in the closet, any ghosts still haunting me – anything that could be brought back and used to hurt me, my family or my community by undermining my attempt to affect change. This train of thought lasted until this morning when I literally looked myself in the mirror and lughed out loud. How ridiculous is it that a small-town Mayoral race could make someone so paranoid that they even entertain thoughts like this. The experience has left me thinking this morning of life in a fish bowl and how we as observers actually interfere with progress that we want by what we as observers, do. Let me explain.

Most of us can agree that we want the best representation we can get in every level of political office, municipal, provincial, federal and in the US, at the county and state levels as well. We want politicians who will work in our best interest, be fair, color-blind, open minded, approachable, educated, uncorruptable and the list goes on and on. The problem is that while we expect and even deserve these qualities in our leaders – it could be possible that too often we don’t see them for everything else that is visible through the lens of a fishbowl. Do we expect so much from our leaders that the cost of the position is higher than most are willing or able to pay? How many amazing men and women avoid getting involved, avoid the vulnerability and scrutiny of public office to protect their privacy and the privacy of their family’s and ultimately cost society the benefit of what they may have done for us?

How many of us can lay awake at 3am thinking through our entire lives and not find something we regret, a bad decision or an action we can’t take back? How many of us have lived through a lifetime of bad circumstances and even worse decisions only to come out of them stringer, healthier and more compassionate? How many of us have lived lives that can survive the scrutiny of the fishbowl and the brutality of coffee shop gossip? Can you? Is there anything you have ever done, said, have happened to you or been a part of that you would rather not see plastered on the front page of the newspaper? Anything you wouldn’t want your spouse, parents, boss or children to see? Well for many, just the thought of that happening is enough to intimidate them from seeking office, enough to scare them into silence and keep them from getting involved. Many people drown in a fish bowl, it doesn’t make them weak or unworthy, it just makes them human and for those who would use the fish bowl as a weapon, it becomes a very useful tool to silence those they are afraid of, hence the mudslinging campaigns and personal attacks of politics. When you can’t stand on your own platform, knock the others down – unfortunately it is a tried and true method that we see in every form of media during every single election. It is unfortunate, it is sad but it is also a very real part of choosing our leaders – we feel we have the right to know, judge and discuss every detail of their lives – their personal and private ones, their intimate ones, their business dealings, every decision they have made since puberty – is it necessary? I don’t know, some would argue yes, some would argue no but as a person seeking election, whether I think it is right or wrong doesn’t matter, what matters is where we are today and what is happening now.

Like I said, under the open scrutiny of the fish bowl, some people drown but others, people like me who have been through and seen pretty much everything you can imagine and survived have done so because we, I am adaptable. People like me don’t drown in fish bowls – we grow gills.

My gills in the fishbowl of public scrutiny is the belief that people with nothing to hide – hide nothing. My life is an open book and anything anyone wants to know, they can ask. If they find what they think is a skeleton, they can rattle it all they want trying to scare me but chances are that if it is that scary, I have already blogged about it, published a poem about it, spoken about it at a workshop or a conference and if I haven’t it is probably because it isn’t that scary after all, at least not to me. The one benefit of leading the tumultuous life that I have is that very few things scare me anymore, talking about what I have done and survived, mistakes I have made and circumstances I have overcome isn’t a weakness in my eyes – it is a strength. It shows that I am capable of being human – that I can relate to every other fallible human out there, that I can learn, that I can adapt and I can turn those mistakes into experiences to learn, to share and to help others going through the same. If anyone feels that they need to dust off some skeletons from the past to try to discredit my present and future, they are more than welcome – I will be happy to discuss anything, anywhere if they think it will help them make a better decision for a representative. If they think the threat of exposure will scare me or change who I am or what I do though – they are wasting their time. Skeletons don’t scare me. Fish bowls don’t intimidate me. My life is an open book, my past is what has made me the woman that I am today and as much as I wish some of it hadn’t occurred, I would never go back and change it because doing that would change me and I like me just the way I am.

perhaps while we are scrutinizing every other candidiate in every other election, we should stop and think about what we are looking at. Does it really matter or does it just make for interesting gossip? Are these skeletons proof of inadequacy or are they being used as distraction to take our focus off what really matters? Are we being caught in the middle of a mudslinging fight to keep us thinking about everything BUT what is important? I don’t know your answers, only you know what will help you decide on who to vote for on election day, only you know what qualities, histories, skeletons matter in someone you choose as your representative, no one can make that decision for you. Right or wrong, the fishbowl of political office is a current reality and every candidate must decide whether to drown or grow gills. I know what my choice is so if knowing everything about me will make a difference in your choice, by all means – ask away and let’s leave no closet empty!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 at 2:27 pm and is filed under General, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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