I have done a lot of weird things and others probably see me as a rather peculiar person. I never really cared, which always has been the basis of my actions from my work with campaigns or in the circularity (cause and effect) field.
SPEAK YOUR VOICE
Whenever I asked my grandmother what her regrets in life were, she said not speaking up was the one thing. I decided that I would not say the same. And looking back how I felt looking at unused glass colored confetti (a symbol of breaking the glass ceiling) combined with the new election coming up, I decided to act and this time.
I was speaking up.
Some people dance, others play sports. I send emails (with low response rate), trying to follow through on my sometimes, wild ambitions. On the dawn of the new decade, this was to work on a political campaign 6,805 kilometers from my own political sphere. After looking through some hundreds of pages of Elizabeth Warren organizers, I found one for Iowa.
Mail sent, mail received and seeing a volunteer leader position in Des Moines, I embarked on a new path. I took a chance, and some wonderful person a continent away took a chance on me. They often do, which is a mentality we all should hold close.
THE RIGHT ONE
For me It was never about choosing the most popular candidate, but the right one. I wasn’t looking to join the presumptive winning team and the status quo change candidate. I was looking for the candidate that could fix the system that, in 2016, had left so many Americans behind. The candidate who would take on Washington corruption and the climate emergency with plans, not bold words in capital letters. Not with sunsets, horizons and visions. A woman who never backed down from fights with wall street money and one who dared to dream – an Oklahoma native, who was the daughter of a janitor. And had a plan for every single policy issue. Her name was Elizabeth Ann Warren.
Because you don’t get what you don’t fight for was Elizabeth’s mentality and me sitting over in Europe, looking at the possibility Americans had to really change their society moved me. That was why I went to work on a campaign which I could not even vote for. It was because I believed from the bottom of my heart that Americans deserve better, and that change is closer never before.
That change could come in November, if the policy wonk, Warren gets her hands on the problems of the ever-struggling middle class. Change was not only coming as a result of Warren and her supporters, but because of the awakening of youth ready to disrupt the world and flip the tables.
CHANGE IS COMING
Through my work I have done I have met a plethora of youth who want to see change more than ever, a minority taking a hands-on approach, but a majority feeling alienated by the daunting nature of big business, and moreover, the ever growing climate emergency we today face.
On the other hand, I’ve met Fortune 100 businesses, who say they feel too big to change, that their change will alienate the masses. This gridlock and lack of belief in one’s abilities is what’s holding us back. In my opinion, you are never too small and certainly never too big. I have been lucky to move business towards change, but only because of the global Gen Z movements we see around us.
We are creative and ready like never before to create big structural change for the future. Just like Warren, who wants to level the playing field and give Americans a chance to succeed. Not only are these words she is talking about, but she has plans to implement them and, even better, a way to pay, which is why I whole heartedly believe in her journey towards the White House.
When the current system is broken for everyday Americans, it takes a big structural change, both with fighting climate change and rebuilding the middle class. I am a firm believer in embracing change as a force of good and when the core of Warren’s campaign is to change the fabrics of the American society for the better, I was ready to help make that happen. Because when I sent the first email, I knew all the blizzards and bloody knuckles in Iowa would be worth it. Because I believed in it.
Being one of the youngest persons, at one of Warren’s Iowa offices, again showed me the power Gen Z’ers have to disrupt and to not only change the conversation, but to set the conversation. If it was with organizing, phone banking or canvassing, it was always something I felt excited about. Because they listened to me, and us as a generation.
Not that I am some godly person. But exploring ones Ikigai (the Japanese concept of what wakes you up in the morning) can show you what truly drives you and motivates you (it also makes your text sound like millennial trash). For me, it was the idea for a better society for 327 million Americans, who had been left behind by Washington corruption. And that is ending now. In the end, maybe campaigning is my Ikigai. Last year, it was circularity. I changed and we all change. But embrace that and use it as a stepping-stone for the creation of a better you.
Hillary Clinton had a wonderful quote in her concession speech. It goes something like this… “Never stop believing that fighting for what right is worth it”. Even if it requires you to knock on doors in a dark red, republican stronghold, where people with Hillary for prison signs scream at you for no good reason.
Others might say you should read a book and get smart. Yes, that also happened. All before it only resulted in one commit card. However, that is all that matters, because you never know who that one person will talk to and his or her connections. Because as cliché as it sounds, you only need yourself to cultivate change, for it to one day to become a spring.
NOTHING TO LOSE
I put shame away because it was holding me back from sending random emails and talking to people would not talk to me before. I sent that email to Team Warren because I said: if not me, then who? All of this of course happened after a month of procrastination, something I am very bad at doing. Which I also try to fight back daily. Spoiler alert, still working on it.
Anyways, joining Team Warren was never about me, it was about the movement we all formed together. So, when people ask me if knocking doors in – 22°c was worth it when I see a bad poll, I always say yes. Because in the end, I never came for status quo. I came for the right one for me, and that meant change.
About the Article
A European’s firsthand look at the American political process.