Why Would Anybody Want To Run for Office?: Redrawing lines for myself around work and social media

In 1831, while gathering information about the American prison system, a minor French aristocrat documented the raucous, messy, energetic young democracy emerging here. With shock and fascination, Alexis de Tocqueville observed New England town hall meetings, noted the conflict between our values and reality, and remarked on our complete disregard for European-style hierarchies. Random people could eat cheese and get drunk in the White House! de Tocqueville predicted that this American form of government and society was the future, and would soon sweep throughout Europe. 

When I was a young graduate student at the University of Chicago, I became enamored by de Toqueville. My master’s thesis compared his ideas with the philosopher, Hannah Arendt, who championed the idea that people are happiest when publicly stating their views and working together as a community. 

Thirty-five years later, I’m considering putting theory into practice. I’m weighing the pros and cons of running for our town’s Board of Education, readjusting various work commitments, and reevaluating my social media footprint. Modernity has made political participation much more complicated.

Read more at Apt. 11D, the newsletter


3 thoughts on “Why Would Anybody Want To Run for Office?: Redrawing lines for myself around work and social media

  1. I’ve more than half a mind to drop social media completely. Nextdoor used to be useful, but now it’s entirely political bitching. Facebook is doing nothing but trying to get me to buy guns or try really obviously horrible recipes. I’ve stopped Twitter and feel less anxious.


  2. My Instagram is full of flowers and fashion and embroidery and is a delight and my FB mostly of posts from friends, so I don’t have to drop those. My twitter was political, but I’ve dropped that except for peeking in on Laura’s tweets for the education info. My nextdoor is awful and I have somehow set it to send me emails that send a couple of lines, and even just those two lines are awful. I need to make the time to make those stop, but I’ve been lazy.


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