There are many reasons why people choose not to vote, or to not even register to vote. Some of the reasons:
“They’re all crooked (politicians).”
“I just live my life. The big government doesn’t affect me.”
“I don’t know who to vote for.”
“It doesn’t matter; they’re not going to listen anyway.”
“I don’t have time.”
“I’m a felon.”
“Because they’re evil and evil.”
I had not been an active voter, and had not been active in politics outside of my classroom. That changed recently. I realized that my background as a classroom teacher — mostly middle school — and experience with alternative education and strategies like restorative practice, and my experience as a survivor of domestic violence, and as a mother who was held hostage by systemic domestic violence — needed to speak up, to be able to write policy and allocate budget, to make things better.
Last year, I ran for City Council — to help Tucson become a place for #EachOfUs and #AllOfUs. I lost the primary, and The Tucson Sentinal recently reported that “reliable sources indicated that a whole flock of Dem heavy-hitters were ready to immediately endorse independent candidate Gary Watson in the general election if Chew had won the three-way primary.” In private conversations, I was told that I was not “The Establishment’s choice.
Apparently, people were afraid of me in a position of leadership. It could be because people are afraid of/don’t want to change. It could be because people don’t want to lose power and control.
I remember when I started as a new teacher, one of the questions was: “How will I handle my recalcitrant colleagues?” My response was something like: “I can’t force them to change, and I don’t want to force them to change. They need to feel safe where they are.
“I will lead by example, and take feedback to make things better.”
My best friend and I ran for Treasurer in Junior High and we lost to two competitors who passed out candy to classmates. I was disgusted by the buyout of votes. I was disgusted by the way my City Council opponent ran ads that misled voters, and spent $90k on a City campaign, outspending my campaign 3x’s, in an area of poverty.
After the City Council race, I decided to follow up on some friends’ suggestions, to help the Party reach disenfranchised voters, and I became an appointed PC (Precinct Committeeperson). I am a Facebooker, and set up a page “Precinct 57 – Heart of Tucson”, and invited my partner in crime to my classroom to work with my students, and help start building voter interest as youth.
After the City Council race, I had decided not to return to the classroom. I had decided to substitute — to support teachers when they have to be absent due to training, sick children at home, etc. — and to have time to find another way to do the work I had planned to do as a Councilwoman.
I don’t want the title. I just want to do the work. I want to bridge the gaps.
I saw gaps in people voting (to be able to have policies that help everyone — not hurt or hinder some), and so I became a PC because I realized that my relationship with non-voters is different than most PCs since I used to be in my bubble — until I realized how the Court systems and policies affect me. That is the story that I can, and do, share.
I bring up the fact that it is not necessary to vote for every item on the ballot.
I am working on an event I am holding on October 7 from 4-7pm for Voter Information and fun for the kids. I am planning to invite candidates who are on the ballot for the general election.
After the City Council election, I focused on the work to end systemic domestic violence. I am hosting a series of Help End Systemic Domestic Violence events at local restaurants and businesses.
I believe shopping locally helps build sustainability and produce economic vitality.
In fact, I am trying to purchase the Golden Pin Lanes, to continue to provide quality, affordable entertainment to the community, and a community space for events, including restorative practices, and cool down space for offenders of domestic violence — offenders who were seeking control in an environment where they felt they had to act out aggressively to get it.
I have learned that for many offenders, what it boils down to is taking away the power from those seeking to control others. It means providing offenders with opportunity to come down out of their need for control — their crisis — and able to empathize with their victims. It means providing offenders with the understanding that mistakes are made, and people will try desperately to ostracize them through shame and blame…
Why do people shame and blame others? Some do it because they are worried that those qualities are in them. And if the lowest person on the totem pole is liked and accepted, they will become the new low man on the totem pole. So, they fight to keep the lowest man in the lowest position. Some do it as retaliation.
Unfortunately, our legal system is on a pendulum, swinging from being super punitive to super loosy goosy and back to punitive. The angry mob of unthinking fearful peoples who are reacting — rather than being proactive — continue the sick cycle. Under the guise of being the protector, they stifle the victims who, like Patty Hearst, sing their captors’ praises. And… they don’t see it.
I just came out of a screening of resiliencemovie.com. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It talks about trauma in the way that I write about crisis responses of fight, flight, and freeze. It is a movement of dealing with root causes, and being mindful, complex thinkers.
I believe we need individuals who work to identify the solutions to root causes, not symptoms. Individuals who are human, who make mistakes, and who are resilient.
For that reason, I run for office, — to ensure policies support the people they serve, and to allocate budgets appropriately — to make things better for #EachOfUs and #AllOfUs. We have been watching the pendulum swinging between permissiveness (lack of responsibility) and punishment (lack of control) — now it needs to get out of its rut.
We can teach personal responsibility and self-control through restorative practices, in schools, and in “the real world”. In fact, there should not be a gap between the school and the real world. We must bridge the gaps.
Elections are coming. #YourVoice #YourChoice #PersonalResponsibility
It is time to overcome apathy and aggression. It is time to take action and vote.
Let’s look at issues and candidates:
Restorative Justice and Ending Systemic Domestic Violence:
- Kirsten Engel. LD 10
- Todd Clodfelter. LD 10
- Yahya Yuksel. CD2
- Felicia Chew. Amphitheather Public Schools Governing Board
We can bring our diverse people together, when we have diverse representation at the table.
“We are each a piece of the puzzle. Without each of us our picture is incomplete. “