"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Those who win

Not all political commentary is or has to be acidic. Here’s a piece of writing for those running who wind up, next week, winning public office. It comes from someone who’s been there, Susan Morgan, a Douglas County commissioner (Republican) writing about some of what happens after the election, on a more personal level.

Personal mileage may vary, but there’s plenty of food for thought in this commissioner’s essay (grabbed from an e-mail from one of her constituents).

For folks running for political office, the evening of November 2nd will be life changing.

If you get elected, here are a few things you should know, including that it’s now too late to back out.

First, don’t be surprised if every member of your family stops going to the grocery store with you. Soon to be gone are the days when you could nick into Ray’s for a gallon of milk and be back on your way in a few minutes. I am continually amazed by the great conversations I have had with people in Sherm’s or Fred’s exploring their opinions and sharing experiences. Almost everyone is very pleasant and interesting to talk with. First my kids, and now my grandkids, have spent significant time examining things like soup labels, waiting patiently for me to move to the next aisle. Now, letting my family know that I’m going grocery shopping leads to a flurry of suddenly remembered tasks that urgently need attention.

Second, don’t be surprised if you gain weight. Being elected to public office involves eating out a lot. After your first term of office, approximately half you body weight will be made up of prime rib, salmon fillets and chicken breasts. The other half of your body weigh will be comprised of my personal favorite: pot luck meals. I absolutely love the events where everyone brings a dish and they are all spread out on a long table. No one ever brings anything bad. In fact, every dish at a pot luck meal is fabulous, usually the chefs’ signature dish.

Third, your definition of a great evening will change. With so many events and meetings that are scheduled for after work when everyone is available, you won’t spend much time at home. Some days are long, especially when you start at a 7am breakfast meeting, and don’t punch the button on the garage door opener until around 9 in the evening. Coming home at 5:30, donning that funky sweat suit, and passing time hunched over a family game board, or reading a good novel starts to sound pretty exciting. Even weeding the garden starts looking good.

Finally, if you are part of an election campaign you are running in overdrive right now, focused on November 2nd, around 8:10 pm when the first set of returns come out. My advice to you is to quit reading this and get back to work.

I wish all candidates the very best, and thank you immensely for stepping up to public service. I know some of you will be disappointed on the 2nd, but I don’t think you will regret your experiences on the campaign trail.

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