We learn from our mistakes, we learn from trying new things, but most of all we learn from exceptional teachers. Tierney Cahill could teach us all something about running for office.
My father sent me this post, and I’m just giving you the beginning in the hope that you’ll follow the link and read the rest.
The book is Ms. Cahill for Congress: One Fearless Teacher, Her Sixth-Grade Class, and the Election That Changed Their Lives Forever
written with Linden Gross; Ballantine; 246 pages; $14, and here’s how it starts:
In 1999, a gifted teacher named Tierney Cahill was introducing the concept of democracy to her sixth-grade class in Reno, Nevada, when she pointed out that in America, anybody can run for office.
Nobody believed her. “You can’t run for office in this country unless you’re a millionaire or you know a lot of millionaires,” one girl said.
Cahill tried again. “All citizens in our country have the right to run for office,” she said. “Would having a million dollars make things easier? I’m sure it would. But not having the money isn’t going to prevent someone from being able to run.”
And the class shot back. “Well, then, why don’t you prove it?” they asked. “Why don’t you run for office?”
To make a long and delicious story short, that did it. In this often funny, always instructive and occasionally scalding memoir, Cahill describes how she not only ran for Congress using her sixth-grade class to manage her campaign, she turned the race into a terrific civics lesson for students and general readers included.
Her mention of how the Democratic Party stood in the way of her candidacy shows that the arrogance of major political parties isn’t just a local thing.
People around here don’t understand why I run. I think Ms. Cahill might be able to explain it to them.
The time and place for independent thinking driven by a desire to do the public good, and not to simply do the will of a political machine, is here and now. Our system isn’t working, but I’m working to figure out how to win public office without having to sell my soul to the man.
I can’t wait to read this book.