:: Life Of Dave ::

I ran for Arkansas Senate

I've been quiet this year. It was intentional. In February of 2022 I decided to run for State Senate here in Arkansas. My opponent was a well-funded individual of less than stellar repute, so I didn't want to put anything out there that could lead to bad outcomes. I considered pulling the website down, but decided that was a bridge too far in allowing fear to drive my behavior.

It was a long campaign, and in the end we didn't win. I have the dubious experience of having run and lost a political campaign before, so I was ready for the inevitable sadness that comes, even when you expect it (our internal numbers as early voting started told me things were not looking super).

I've got a ton of stories, met so many amazing people, heard so many incredible stories. It was totally worth it.

I'm ready to pivot to the next thing - there's so much work to do to build out the infrastructure needed to bring real, positive change to Arkansas. It's easy to write this place off. When you see a state elect someone as ridiculous as Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be governor, over someone as amazing as Chris Jones, it's easy to say 'that place is lost forever, a wasteland of uneducated hicks'. But the numbers say something different. Don't get me wrong - 568,304 people voting for a Trump mouthpiece is grim. But the population of the state is over three million. Besides the over 332,000 that voted for someone else, there's 1.4 million silent adults who didn't vote, or weren't allowed to vote.

There's a debate to be made about taking on the Sisyphean task of changing minds, or just leaving. I get it, and individuals have to make decisions that are right for them - we can't expect everyone to give everything to the task. But we have to remember in those debates how many people we're working for who aren't represented, either in elections or in our minds - we see winner-take-all elections and say 'everyone voted for the bad person'. They didn't. And a lot of good people will suffer if we just write them off.

I hadn't expected this post to become a manifesto for action in red states, but here we are.

I'm going to take a break, and then I'm going to get back to it. It's good work. Important work. Sometimes thankless work. But it's work that needs to get done, and many of the people who most need it done aren't able to do it themselves. So those of us with the resources to act need to step up, in whatever way we can. Even if that means pouring our heart and soul into a 9 month effort that doesn't seem to yield much success.