Depending on who you engage with the reaction to the word can be a hit or miss. Most people can’t stand the idea of it while others begin their day quoting statements from the latest political article. Personally, politics was never a “thing” in my household. Sure, growing up I learned about it in social studies, caught glimpses of news reports in passing and participated in social justice activities in college but who hasn’t? It wasn’t until my wife, Destinee and I decided to run for office seats that I was able to come face to face with this mystical concept of democracy and learned a few things about running a political campaign.
There are no rules
Of course there are the typical restrictions from the Board of Elections regarding things such as proper phone hours to call people, the size of signs (which no one follows) and deadlines on financial disclosures but beyond that, there are no rules. There is no official guideline on how to create, handle or run a campaign. Unless you hire a campaign manager, which we did not, everything is a shot from the hip, a pull on imagination and an exhaustion of connections. If you enter into the arena with no Public Relation skills whatsoever, defeat is certain. The moment your name is registered with the BOE you have to “make your name rain”. There are no meetings, follow ups, reminders or alerts. Everything that happens (or doesn’t) with your campaign falls on your shoulders. It’s like starting a small business where you are the product and votes are your currency.
Campaigning is more about educating
The masses have grown apathetic to the political process, especially the minority population. It was astonishing to witness candidates in unison, claim to have knocked on thousands of doors beforehand but then have voters tell me that they didn’t know an election was coming up when we ventured into the same neighborhoods. So, in conjunction with getting your name out there, you also have to tell people when the election is, where they can vote, why they should vote for you (or at all in some cases) and surprisingly, why they should care. Simply handing people a piece of literature, directing them to your website or mailing them brochures is not enough. However, it is also imperative to be conscious of the time you spend educating and whom. There was a gentleman who had approached me during “pavement work” and asked me a series of questions about my campaign, where I stood and why I deserved to win. After the conversation, he assured me of my delivery but then revealed that he was a non-resident and could not vote even if he wanted. TIME WASTED and that’s a big deal because…
Timing is everything
Had we known what we know now, we would have started our campaign at least a year in advance like others. In fact, one of the candidates that I was running against had ran in the previous election, so he technically had a four year head start. These are the things to take into consideration including the track record of the incumbents (those who are currently in office and in many cases, have been for years).
Many of the incumbents that we faced had served more than one term. One in particular had been in office since 1983. I said 1983! Others had double digit term services that kept them locked in the mindset of people so hard that they barely had to campaign but was still able to secure hordes of votes. The incumbents are already known, teams already established and connections already solidified. Unless you are lucky enough to land on a slate with other familiar politicians, you have to put in some serious work to be seen.
Organizations, Media outlets and PACs send SO MANY e-mails requesting responses to surveys, attendance at forums and interviews. In order to meet every single deadline, time management is crucial! A majority of the forums occur during the workday so you have to account for time off and if you miss anything, journalists find pleasure in virtual finger waging at your name or leaving you out of an article altogether as if you aren’t running. #ImStillSalty
Which brings us to the “fun” part of running a campaign…..
Some people become real life trolls
REAL. LIFE. TROLLS.
I’m no stranger to receiving internet trolling but it is an entirely different experience when some of it comes from people you have physically encountered. It truly takes a certain level of self-control to not lash out. The very first day that Destinee’s filing was solidified, articles came out and her social media was screenshot. At that very moment, I knew that it was going to be an uphill battle that would require many days of meditation. My immediate response was to blast back and enter into groups that were attacking her (one of which would not accept my request to join Lol) but after making one post, I had to force myself to change my mindset. As the blatant slander rolled in, from her being 39 (she’s just turning 30 in August) to her never living in the district, despite having Morgan State University as an Alma Mata, the taunts were endless. While on my side the most I had to deal with was bullying via sign destruction.
Even still, we handled the chaos with grace and look forward to running our next campaign with unwavering courage. #Parker2022
States around the country — 29 of them, plus Washington DC — have legalized medical marijuana.
The American public largely supports the legalization of medical marijuana. At least 84% of the public believes the drug should be legal for medical uses, and recreational pot usage is less controversial than ever, with at least 61% of Americans in support.
Even though some medical benefits of smoking pot may be overstated by advocates of marijuana legalization, recent research has demonstrated that there are legitimate medical uses for marijuana and strong reasons to continue studying the drug's medicinal uses.
Even the NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse lists medical uses for cannabis.
There are at least two active chemicals in marijuana that researchers think have medicinal applications. Those are cannabidiol (CBD) — which seems to impact the brain without a high— and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which has pain relieving properties and is largely responsible for the high.
But scientists say that limitations on marijuana research mean we still have big questions about its medicinal properties. In addition to CBD and THC, there are another 400 or so chemical compounds, more than 60 of which are cannabinoids. Many of these could have medical uses. But without more research, we won't know how to best make use of those compounds.
More research would also shed light on the risks of marijuana. Even if there are legitimate uses for medicinal marijuana, that doesn't mean all use is harmless. Some research indicates that chronic, heavy users may have impaired memory, learning, and processing speed, especially if they started regularly using marijuana before age 16 or 17.
For some of the following medical benefits, there's good evidence. For others, there's reason to continue conducting research.
Black female voters drew national attention for their outsize performance in December’s special Senate election in Alabama. In 2018 several African American women will try to make history as candidates for Congress and statewide offices.
In Georgia, Stacey Abrams, a former state lawmaker, hopes to become the first black woman elected governor in the country, and several candidates are running to become the first black women to go to Congress from their respective states, including Colorado, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
A new report says this year’s midterm elections offer “a ripe opportunity to harness and expand black women’s political power, both as voters and candidates.” The report, issued by Higher Heights Leadership Fund and the Center for American Women and Politics, is titled “The Chisholm Effect: Black Women in American Politics,” in honor of the 50th anniversary of Shirley Chisholm’s election as the first black woman in Congress.
Nineteen black women hold seats in Congress, including one in the Senate. An additional two black women are nonvoting delegates in the House. Three black women hold statewide offices, including lieutenant governors in Kentucky and New Jersey. And in 2017, voters in New Orleans and Charlotte made history by electing black women as mayor.
Still, the report notes that black women remain underrepresented in elected offices at all levels. Although black women are 7.3 percent of the U.S. population, they make up less than 5 percent of officeholders in Congress, statewide executive offices and state legislatures.
Glynda Carr, a co-founder of Higher Heights, which encourages political engagement among black women, said the number of African American women running for higher office has grown steadily over the past several years. She cites a “role modeling effect.”
“When black women see black women in leadership roles, it motivates us to run for office,” she said in an interview. Carr also said that the current political environment, in which President Trump’s rhetoric and policy positions are not viewed favorably by many women and people of color, “black women see themselves as part of the solution, and running for elected office is an important piece of that.”