When I was 10 my dad and I took a cross-country road trip to Washington DC. At that age, I started imagining myself in the future. On our way we saw two presidential libraries, three major league baseball games, the football hall of fame, and cities big and small. I loved crossing from one state to another and stopping at the visitor center on the border.
The underground subway trip we took to visit our Senator, Harrison Schmitt was life changing. We emerged in a big, wood paneled room and he shook my hand. Now I wanted to be a Senator. When I got home I dreamt of it as I rode my bike in front of my house.
That summer I watched both conventions from end to end, and tracked the election closely. Watching the speeches, I’d draw pictures of the conventions dais with my name on the posters. It was an obsession. I had others, like the Dallas Cowboys and Star Wars, but I imagined myself in politics.
More than a decade later, while in graduate school, I watched the early campaign season. I liked Jerry Brown’s anti-establishment message and I liked him. I ran to be a delegate and I won and found a way to get to the Democratic National Convention in New York City. It was a dream that had come true.
The next decade I spent running for office. I dreamt of being a professor and of being a politician. I realized while running for office I could not suppress my urges, my imperfections, even my body language, to be a successful politician. I am too weedy to romance an electorate, too weak willed to, as a consultant told me when it was over, sublimate myself. I was now disillusioned with politics and academics.
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