Why I’m Running: The Path

Why I’m Running: The Path

by | Jun 20, 2022 | Why I'm Running

On February 13, 2017, I wrote an opinion column for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Less than a month into Donald Trump’s presidency, the country was so tense I felt like I was trapped in a house with the smoke alarms blaring. In my op-ed, I wrote about the cruel policies and authoritarian language of our new president, and about this new political landscape where every American ideal I’d been raised to cherish was being burned to the ground.

I’d been thinking about my dad—I usually do when I need a shot of courage—and I wrote about how he responded when he found himself in the Vietnam War, a politically fueled nightmare he couldn’t leave: he made it personal and sacrificial.

I closed my op-ed this way:

I fear that there will be many casualties of America’s new mission, including many of the people who signed up for it in good faith. Most of us who are unwilling participants won’t have a big chance to be heroes, but we’ll have countless small ones.

At this late age, I’ve realized that my moral obligation is not met in the voting booth; it demands real, personal, strategic sacrifice to oppose this administration’s dangerous policies and mitigate their harmful effects. I don’t know how yet, but I plan to save as many people as I can.

Then I figured out the things I could do, and I started doing them. Donating to the ACLU. Volunteering for pro-democracy candidates. Joining multiple efforts to protect voting rights in Tennessee. The more I did, the more I felt compelled to do.

That path led me to a lot of places I never thought I’d go. Like Lamar Alexander’s office and Bob Corker’s office and Chuck Fleischmann’s office, to protest the separation of children from their parents at the southern border. Like Miller Park outside Chuck’s office on January 9, 2021, demanding answers for his vote against democracy on January 6.

That path led me here.

I’m running for the TN House because I love the American ideals of liberty and justice for all, and they’re at risk here in Tennessee. I think they’re worth fighting for.