Amid the euphoria of Tuesday night's election results, there was one blue note. The woman I had enthusiastically supported for an open seat in our state legislature was defeated. Results of the Washington vote came in around the same time as Ohio's, so in the midst of jumping up and down in frabjous joy, our little table became seriously subdued as the results for District 46, Legislative Position 2 rolled by on the screen.
I won't go into all the reasons that an extremely qualified woman, endorsed by the outgoing legislator and her home district Democrats, lost a race so many of us knew she deserved to win. I don't know them. What I do know is this.
The race was worth the running.
Not because her opponent was undeserving.* I would say that the most serious allegations we could make against her was her inexperience and lack of in-depth knowledge of the issues facing our district. But she is young and shares many of our values and we wish her well, for our sakes if not, at this moment, for hers.
My decision to back Sarajane Siegfriedt in this race came from nearly eight years of involvement with our local district, of watching her get up at every meeting to report on current legislation affecting our district, telling us what a bill meant and how it would affect us. I remember seeing her standing at a rally to support the Affordable Care Act, under an umbrella, in the rain. I remember her raising her fist when asked her opinion of Occupy.
I realized that she had a true passion for the work. That she could and would go to meetings no one could pay me to attend, read position papers and financial reports that would cause my eyes to skitter away like water hitting hot grease. When I got to know her better, we found a mutual passion for Venice and vampire TV, Joseph Campbell and, I think, what I might call the politics of sensibility.
I do not regret a single minute of time, a single penny of contribution, or a single step of walking the precincts. I know, in my heart, that her loss had little or nothing to do with her values or her ability. And it breaks my heart that I could not raise her hand in fellow-victory on Tuesday night.
In two years' time, we will face another election. No, I doubt very much if Sarajane will try again. And the people we did send to Olympia this time will no doubt do us all proud. 2014 will be a "mid-term" election. All across the country, we will be asked once again to send people to state houses and the Big House, the one in Washington. And I'm telling you that even if you live in the reddest precinct in the reddest district in the reddest state in the union, go to a meeting. Look at the people who agree to run. Fall in love with one and go for it.
You won't regret it.
*When I first posted this, I forgot to mention that our state has a "top two" system, in which the top two vote getters in the primary face off in the general. In our very Democratic district, this means that two Democrats faced off against each other.