|The Lion's Den
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream ……
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all ……
With this regard their Currents turn awry, ……
Be all my sins remembered.
Malcolm X used the first few lines of this powerful soliloquy in one of his speeches at Harvard. It’s been taking up some space in my mind today, since I started driving home after a medical appointment. One of my doctors -- a registered republican who often votes for democrats -- asked me if I would be running for a seat in the state assembly in the next election.
To run? Or not to run? That’s the question. I am, by nature, prone to counting numbers in regional election contests. I would not run, if I didn’t think there was a chance of winning. And from my estimates, there is a chance to win.
I think that one of the problems that people who are sincere about wanting social justice is that we hope that someone else will do for us, what we need to do for ourselves. Also, too many potentially good candidates are discouraged, because we inhabit republican areas. It’s far more likely, for example, for a democrat to win an election in NYC or one of the other urban centers, than in the very republican rural regions in upstate New York.
In the past two election cycles, I’ve assisted five candidates in “local” elections, in an area where about 60% of registered voters are republicans, 25% are independents, and 15% are democrats. Each of the five candidates have won. As their campaign manager, I’ve focused on harnessing every possible vote -- including all registered democrats, the majority of independents, and a significant number of dissatisfied republicans.
To run or not? I’ve spoken to five groups: teachers unions; social workers unions; environmentalists/the Democratic Left; carpenters unions; and the Democratic Party. I have friends and associates who would invest time and money, if I were to run. It could be done.