Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Beating The Orange - An All-Round Success

Last night I attended an exciting event. I previewed it here.

In the summer of 2006, I watched all 7 seasons of The West Wing, never having watched it when it originally aired. It grabbed me for the behind-the-scenes look at the White House, but also at political life and all it entails. Since then, I have rewatched the series at least 4 times. The writing is excellent, the storylines gripping and the acting bolsters the compelling characters created for the show.

I wasn't even interested in politics when I first watched that show, but when I revisited it, I had already begun my journey into understanding that world, and was further educated as to the inner workings of political life.

It isn't that I hadn't believed I could be personally involved in a political world; it's that I didn't know I would.

I have already discussed my heretofore limited experience with political events. Before last night, I'd had the pleasure of attended Valérie's launch party in November, and an energizing meeting just a few weeks ago. Both events inspired me beyond anything I'd imagined when thinking about politics.

But Tuesday, February 10, was an event of a different sort. And I must say it was a smashing success.

I arrived early, and, already tasked with live-tweeting the event, I set to getting a feel for the area. It took place at a brasserie in the neighborhood, and a section at the back had been dedicated space for our evening.

As attendees began to arrive, I felt very much like a hostess, and had been embraced by the campaign as part of the team. I've learned that when you are devoted to something, that energy becomes contagious. In this case, it has been mutual; I have been energized by the campaign, and have given that back. In turn, I have been welcomed as a team member and continue to cycle that enthusiasm back.

Last night, I met with others who have been inspired to support Valérie's campaign. I also met with people who had heard about her, or had been recruited to come, and who all began to exhibit the same facial expression I know I've worn: deep interest, a growing excitement and that sense of empowerment you feel when you know that something you're doing can - and will - make a difference.

I was able to speak with many different people, and what was even more heartening was that there were guests who didn't even live in the district Valérie represents, but who were there because they believe in the values she stands for, the voice she has, and the quickly snowballing effects she is having on the electorate.

It's at this time I should tell you all a little about Valérie and why I admire her; I'd outlined, in my last entry, the roles she plays in her life and how strong she is. But one thing I failed to mention, something that shows how one voice can make a difference, is how she became the candidate for our riding (for my non-Canadian friends, a "riding" is a district).

The last time there was a Conservative MP in our riding was the popular Gerry Weiner, who left office in 1993. That's 21 years ago. Along came Valérie, who saw a hole in the district and made the decision to become the candidate and run for office. She's taken the district by storm. And to me, someone who sees a need and takes it upon herself to fulfill that need is definitely someone I want speaking for my district in Ottawa.

That's the kind of go-getter Valérie is. When she spoke yesterday evening, it was a quick speech - it wasn't an official campaign event, so she spoke to her game plan instead of to the issues. That's okay, though, because I was looking around the room. I saw people who were with her, on every level. I saw people who were listening and nodding and erupting in applause when she promised to be a strong voice (her campaign slogan) and to listen to us.

Even more heartening was the response to the deserving praise she heaped upon our Prime Minister; Stephen Harper is doing a fantastic job for Canada, and the rousing cheers when she talked about him renewed my pride in my country and our leader.

Tuesday evening was my first foray into political events as an active, committed member of the team. And like I told a couple of conversants tonight: I truly did hit the jackpot for my first time out. The team "behind the scenes" is so dynamic, so goal-oriented and so focused, it's hard not to pick up on that electricity. But from the candidate herself, to her family, and her team, everyone is so likeable and so easy to work with, it inspires me to do more.

Which - as they know - I will. They can count on me to do what I can in order to continue to appeal to supporters and get the message out. I truly understand what it's like to be a member of a campaign now, and I have to say - The West Wing made it look fun. Valérie 2015 is the real thing and it is fun.

What I'd like from my readers is this: consider your life, and consider your view on politics. I welcome a dialogue with any of you who feel it isn't your "thing", or has let you down in the past. This time, it's different. We live in a world filled with complexities. We aren't going to solve every problem all at once, but from what I have seen, and what I know now, Valérie is committed to helping DDO-Pierrefonds on this level, and in the future, contributing to our government's effective running of our country. I believe she's headed for big things in the very near future, and I don't say that lightly. For those of you who know me, I don't trust easily, and I don't support every person who knocks on my door. I do trust Valérie and I trust in her.

I'd love to talk with my friends in the area, because you're the ones who can cast your vote in October and you're the ones who can say you got on board from the beginning. Give me the chance to introduce you to a woman who will stand up and fight for the things we all value. And in the end, isn't that what we're all looking to achieve?

Postscript: Following the event, the Habs beat the Flyers; being the superstitious soul I am, I would say that's a very good sign for the campaign.

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