Monday, October 15, 2012
I owe you all an apology, or at least we owe each other one. All week I have been reading my tumblr submissions thinking "REALLY? You guys are having petty turf wars? Do you not know there's an election in three weeks?" or "Stop telling me to update my tumblr! Don't you know I have A LIFE?" It's not that I don't empathize with your on the ground frustrations, nor I assume, are you unappreciative of my community building efforts, we're just suffering from October Haze. I've blogged before about Month Out Madness, the giddiness that ensues from the last weeks of an election where staffers start pranking each other and dancing in the office, but October Haze is a semi-distinct phenomenon.
The best way to describe October Haze to those who have not experienced it is like having a really bad cold, but not being able to call out sick from your obligations. All around you people are enjoying themselves, laughing, playing, making plans. Meanwhile you're on auto-pilot just trying to get through the day. You can barely taste your food. You can't think about anything other than the task at hand. When people contact you with extraneous requests or information, even with the best intentions, your immediate reaction is something like "AAAAAH!!! I cannot deal with this right now?!" Sound familiar?
While I am not on a campaign right now, I am going to be starting next week, which means that all my work for the following two weeks (midterms) has been crammed into this one. I understand the gravity of I saying this, but I truly may as well be working on an election.
I'm bringing this up for a number of reasons. First, to explain why I have been off my blogging game of late. When it comes to sacrificing writing about elections for the sake of actually working on elections, that's a no brainer (although tell that to my Elections Professor).
Second, I want to give you some unsolicited advice. As I mentioned in my GOTV article in 2010, now more than ever it is important that you be calm and kind to each other. I have gotten a lot of messages about frustration with coordination between campaigns, feeling like a coworker is not pulling their weight, etc. You have SO LITTLE extra energy to expend right now, do you really want to be spending it on that? I can't tell you how valuable your ability to keep a cool head will be as we go through this final push. I'm not sanctioning bad behavior, I'm just advising you to be aware of your own.
Most of my readers have never lost a campaign and let me tell you, it sucks. It sucks more to lose than it feels good to win, but winning is less satisfying and losing is worse if you look back and think, "I acted like an asshole." So while I'm all about leaving it on the field, I urge you to do so in a respectful and constructive manner.
Thus spake Nancathustra.