This post originally appeared on OTYCD in October 2018.
Believe it, you matter: Be Like Danica Roem.
If the election of November 2016 jolted you into treating democracy more like a part-time job, you’ve since realized how tedious and trying it can be. It certainly can feel like work, and some parts will feel like work no matter how you approach them.
Some aspects of democracy can be flat-out nasty. Consider what Danica Roem faced when she ran for a seat in the Virginia state legislature in 2017. She was a first-timer transgender woman Democrat going up against Bob Marshall, a 13-term Republican incumbent who introduced a state bill to bar transgender students from the bathrooms of their choice, and who styled himself his state’s “chief homophobe.”
And he was a raging jerk to her, too, refusing to debate her and deliberately using the wrong pronouns when discussing her. He produced campaign ads that attacked her transgender identity.
Roem beat that raging jerk. Soundly. By nearly nine points, all told.
Her opponent did not mention her in his post-election Facebook post.
Once it was clear that Roem had won, journalists asked her about Marshall.
She had every right to drop the boom on him, to scorch him, to rain garbage upon him.
Instead, Roem said:
“I don’t attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.”
And with those words, she proved that the best person won.
In her 2016 speech at the Democratic Convention, former First Lady Michelle Obama counseled, ‘When they go low, we go high.’
Roem did exactly that. Roem is the living, breathing embodiment of the power of Obama’s words.
You are human. Life is tough, and politics is doubly so.
But Roem is just as human as you are, and at the moment when she could have unburdened her anger on her opponent, a man who did everything he could to make himself her foe, she showed kindness and grace and held her hand out to him.
Be like Danica Roem.
Read more about Roem’s race and her spectacular win:
Read about Michelle Obama’s 2016 speech at the Democratic convention:
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