Why I’m Running: The Underdog

Why I’m Running: The Underdog

by | Jun 19, 2022 | Why I'm Running

When I was seven, I inherited a hundred dollars from one of the whiskery great-great aunts my Memphis family had in abundance. (That’s all we had in abundance, and that ended up being my only inheritance.) I used the money to buy a typewriter, and I used the typewriter to write a letter to a neighbor, asking him to remove the squirrel trap from his backyard. I signed the letter in cursive, then walked down the street and put it in his mailbox.

I didn’t know this neighbor. I only knew about the squirrel trap because his backyard was on my spy route, inspired by Harriet the Spy. (Yay for banned books that make weird kids feel seen!) I can’t imagine what the neighbor thought when he read my letter, but the next day when I went to check on the trap, it was gone.

I’d made a difference. I’d never felt so powerful.

Children don’t have much power in the world, and I didn’t have much power even in my own limited sphere. (If you’re familiar with the social hierarchy of little girls, you know that boyish, bookish little girls with freckles and spy routes probably won’t become queen bees.) Somehow, though, it didn’t occur to me not to write that letter and leave it in a stranger’s mailbox. I just did it. I stuck up for the underdog, forgetting that I was the underdog too

Life has a way of putting us in our place until eventually we’re the ones putting ourselves there. The underdogs are scared to stick their necks out. Meanwhile the big dogs are stealing meat off the grill and staining the carpet.

When I was asked to run for TN House, my inner underdog tried to say no. Who, me? I’m not a politician. Somebody else should run. Luckily, I didn’t listen. Since then, I’ve been hearing the growing roar of regular folks ready to step up, speak out, and make a difference.

I’m running for TN House because I’ve relearned what I knew instinctively at age seven: Right makes might.