Choosing Courage over Comfort

In a week, Minnesotans will be gathering at their local caucuses in the first crucial step towards November elections: the selection of precinct delegates to attend the convention in March, voting on resolutions that will build our party’s platform and choosing candidates to endorse. As a candidate it is a critical time.

I need you to come out in the cold and support our common values!

As I spent reflection time on Sunday with a cup of coffee and a book, Rising Strong by Brené Brown, key words and phrases jumped off the pages and connected with ideas that have been on my mind.

I want to be in the arena. My time on the Stillwater School Board when the district faced increasingly difficult decisions reinforced for me that – hard as it was, hard decisions is where we begin to make the world a better place.

We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. The candidate elected to represent 39B in November will have a big job to do. With the current action (or as it may be, inaction) in Washington D.C. means a huge unpredictability of challenges our state leaders will have to face. The courage of my convictions, along with challenges both personal and professional has helped prepare me to take on the fight on the floor of our great state’s legislature to protect Minnesota.

Vulnerability is…having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. I choose courage.  That sums up most of the feelings myself and my fellow candidates experience as we approach Caucus next week and Convention next month. That sense of vulnerability is tempered with the past months of connecting with individuals and groups of people throughout the district, reinforcing for me the shared Minnesota Values that have been muted through divisive rhetoric and party hardliners.

A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. Let these words sink in. Consider and respect the kind of strength and resolve it takes for a single candidate to step up to run. This process has reinforced the respect I hold for all the other candidates that I have met across the Democratic party.   They are the strong ones who have ventured into a campaign season that is more urgent than ever before.

For me, if you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback. As a number of elected officials have shared with me over the past few months, there is no shortage of misuse of the phrase “public servant.” There is an embarrassment of the quantity of armchair pontificators who will dictate their expectations of others without expecting the same of themselves. The hardworking people of this district hold greater weight and wisdom than the often anonymous few who focus narrowly on a thing or two that benefit themselves and not much else. This is nothing new, and not a surprise in politics…but as we open ourselves to welcoming more of our neighbors and friends who are “woke,” it is also a powerful reminder of what’s really at stake in this election: our common sense values.

As I look forward to next week’s Caucus, I invite you to join me to stand up for our Minnesota values; to stand for courage over comfort; to stand for Paula for Minnesota.