I’m a political nerd.
I’ve watched every episode of West Wing (twice, some three times). I love politics, I love the notion of jumping into the mud and wrestling for a better, cleaner society.
And so, at the age of 34, I’m contemplating a run for City Council (one which I briefly contemplated two years ago, and talked over in great deal with Mr. New Era Steve Fenberg and Boulder’s Mayor at the time, Mark Ruzzin).
Rather spontaneously, starting with my attendance five days ago at a goodbye party for our fine mayor, Shaun McGrath, (who just got hired away by President Obama) I’ve talked with three of the Boulder City Council members (and a few of their loved ones) and about 10 of the 50 men and women whose opinion I need before I proceed: Mike Huttner, Will Shafroth, childhood buddy Michael Sage (who loved it, said it wasn’t a surprise, then asked if “I had anything to hide”), my mentor Jeff Waltcher (who laughed, mostly), John Tayer, my brau Ryan Van Duzer. I have yet to talk over with now-Congressman Jared Polis, political guru Elizabeth Patterson, childhood buddy and political powerhouse Sol Halpern, mentor Bob Morehouse or best friend Dave Rogers (who will be against my running). I’m terrified of stepping in with both feet, and plan to be for some time: I’m in no rush to make a wrong decision, and once I’m in or out that’s it.
The response so far (including tonight, when I talked over with Richard Foy and Peggy Markel at the soft opening of Dave Query’s latest restaurant) has been discouragingly heartening. Most have not only given my run a (genuinely surprising, to me) thumbs up, based on their perception of my ‘youth,’ public energy, name recognition and Boulder values—but they’ve given two thumbs up, offering to help fundraise, throw a party or sit on an advisory committee.
Only one has cautioned that such a run would be stupid (and he’s right, of course—who would want to work themselves to death, make no money doing so and put themselves on the chopping block of criticism when you could go for hikes, travel, have fun, go out, whatever it is that normal people do instead). Who declared me crazy? Why, the utterly sane Dave Query (whose new, green Happy Noodle House is the new Upstairs at The Kitchen—elegant + fun = a rare combination).
“So, Dave,” I told him. “I’m thinking of running for City Council.”
“I heard,” he shook his head. He’d seen my seed-planing mention in 5280. “You gotta be crazy, Waylon. Spending years sitting in a flourescent-lit room arguing about zoning?!” [I ad lib, but it was something along those lines]
And so, contemplating such folly, I arrived home in the snow to my pup, Redford, checked my email, and ran across this quote:
PREVENTING TOO MANY ACTIVITIES.
One characteristic of a dharmic person, someone who practices meditation and the teachings of the Buddha, is to prevent too many activities, or you could say, reduce too many activities. According to tradition, that actually boils down to cutting nonfunctional talking, cutting the baby-sitter mentality, the entertainment mentality. You can get yourself into all kinds of projects, all kinds of engagements. You can become chummy with the world so that you don’t have to hold your discipline or your mindfulness properly. ….If you don’t like tea, you can have coffee. If you don’t like coffee, you could switch to Coca-Cola. If you don’t like Coca-Cola, you can drink scotch or vodka. You involve yourself in constant, constant activity. Sometimes you don’t even know what you are doing; you just come up with the idea that you need to be occupied with something, but you can’t put your finger on anything:” Do I need sex or do I need money or do I need clothes? What do I need?”….You could think about anything; the possibilities are infinite. Getting chummy with the situation involves lots of activity. According to the basic principles of Buddhism, you have to cut that down. When you become too chummy with your world, too familiar with your world, it becomes endless.