The “learning all about what a County Commissioner does” phase of the campaign is rapidly coming to a close. It is now time to sell myself as the better candidate for the job. In the next two months, there are campaign parties, forums, endless door knocking, and public events. Many, if not all, of these require me to speak to the crowd. I knew this would be part of the campaign, indeed part of the eventual job, when I signed up for this effort. Prior to emceeing Jim’s funeral, I had done very little public speaking. A guest lecture or two at the university, being part of a forum at church. All required at least an hour of preparation for a minute in front of the microphone. I have come to peace with it as part of the job, but I have to admit it is not my favorite part.
I really like people. When I see kindness, compassion, and love pass between my fellow human beings, I know that I am in the presence of the divine. I love to hear people’s stories, their joys and their sorrows. I love nothing more than being an “enzyme” that brings one person together with another that then forms a connection. That said, I am way more comfortable with people one on one, or in a small intimate gathering. I tend to shut up at the dinner table and let the conversation flow around me. Large groups are fun if there is dancing involved or a shared focus such as making it down a class IV rapid alive, or honoring the life of a well loved man. I am, according to every personality quiz I have taken, a solid introvert.
We all know solid extroverts. These are the folks that love to dominate the dinner table conversations. They are energized by a crowd and love to be the life of the party. They have a hard time staying within a time constraint during a lecture or public speaking engagement. Many flock to professions such as teaching, public relations, or politics. It is a natural fit. They can think and speak on the fly and are usually quick with a witty comeback or an argument if the discussion is a debate.
I also know that people are complex, and what may fit as a personality type one day, does not fit the next. Circumstances change us, and a life well lived is one of constant growth. Many of us need solid blocks of alone time to then venture back out to face the world. Being out in the world is required to feed our minds and souls with material to chew upon in our solo time. A musician needs quiet creative time to write, compose, and record. He also needs to tour and perform. Not just for the money, but also to feed his soul with ideas for the next set of songs. Perhaps entering the world of politics is a little like that.
I am a solid introvert entering a phase of the campaign that requires me to be an extrovert. There are simply not enough hours in the day to pour an hour into each minute of required public speaking. I will be banking on the hours of learning I have put in so far, my passion for the position, and the awareness, that though large, Latah County is an intimate gathering of people that all care about similar things. I can’t promise I will always have a witty comeback, nor do I love to engage in debate. But I will listen to you, and if you ask me a question, I will respond. I may disappear for a few days of woods work or to float a river, but I will re-energize, and I will be thinking of you.