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OPINION - VOTE for US by James Gore

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OPINION - VOTE for US by James Gore

By James Gore, Sonoma County Supervisor – 4th District

Election day is upon us.  And it’s time to exercise our most basic right as citizens…to vote. 

The slogans and signs surround us.  The door knocking grows insistent.  Vote by mail ballots have arrived into our mailboxes. 

As a County Supervisor who won election in 2014, I’m often asked what it’s like to have this election “off.”  Well, as someone who eats and breathes this public servant life with everyday purpose, I can tell you that I’m definitely still “on.”  And for this election, while I’m not on a ballot, I am still asking for your vote.

I’m asking you to vote for the future; an optimistic and hopeful future; a future that casts aside the old, boring political frames of the past and pulls us together around the understanding that we all want to have a healthy community, a healthy environment, and a healthy economy.

And the only way to do that is to vote for US – all of us. 

As this campaign season reaches its crescendo, I can’t help but think about my own race for County Supervisor, two years ago.  I think about relentlessly knocking on doors, wearing out shoes, hosting meet and greets, attending twenty events a week, raising money, designing logos, and on and on and on…

I absolutely LOVED campaigning. 

That anxious energy – a mixture of excitement and worry – I felt truly alive and connected with my community.  Not just the loudest voices, but those who don’t count local politics as a priority.  That quiet majority that only talked when you went to them and knocked on their door. 

“Hello, my name is James Gore.  I don’t mean to bother you, but I’m running for County Supervisor and just trying to earn it the old fashioned way.  Do you mind if I ask what’s most important to you? 

Contrary to common belief, the vast majority of responses from those thousands and thousands of people I spoke with did not focus on one or another political priority, but rather common elements of our basic humanity.

“Oh, well, I just want someone I can trust.”

“I want someone whose going to work hard and deliver.”

“My family is what’s important, and I’m making them dinner right now, so I have to go, but thanks for making the effort and coming by…I’ll think about it.”

Unlike the screaming cacophony coming from the political insiders in the county, these people, the silent supermajority, they communicate through whispers.  They don’t write letters to the editor.  They don’t even read the editorial section of the paper.  You only hear their voices if you go to them and ask for it.  They don’t want to talk about the political battles of the yesteryear.  And they want to have confidence in the future.

I oftentimes think about how we get back to an “US” movement.  How we remind the outraged superminority in our community that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  And that, yes, we absolutely have inequities, insecurities, and inequalities to address.

And that we must address them incessantly.

That being said, I’m so tired of the hate.  And I refuse to buy into it.  And I ask you to do the same. 

Us vs them is too old for me.  I was born in 1978. 

Someone told me the other day that I was a Millennial because I was under 40.  If you follow the sociological jargon, I’m actually a young Generation Xer.  But no matter the definition, I speak strongly for my generation and the ones growing in our wake. 

Our generation is tired of hearing about the political battles of the past. 

We refuse to carry that angst into our future.  In much the same way that we are not known to hold onto one job with one company for our entire careers, we don’t accept that tired old political dogmas will define our future.  

Our focus is much simpler that one might think.   If we identify a problem – we fix it. 

And then we move onto what’s next, because there is too much to do to get stuck on one issue. 

(Or put appropriately for my position:  We are too busy paving the road into the future to get stuck on one pothole.  (pun intended))

If we feel insecure about the future, then let’s get together, make a plan, get to work, and adapt as necessary. 

The healthiest means to invoke positive change is to have a short memory and to relentlessly bring people together – despite the forces that try to divide “US,” into “US vs. Them.”

I write all this because I fervently believe in a healthy society, a healthy environment, and a healthy economy.  And I use my position as Sonoma County Supervisor and active citizen to do the best I can in the time that I have. 

I hope you all will keep the future in mind, and all of “US” in mind, when you cast your ballot on or before June 7th

Onward.