That’s not to say that I don’t feel strongly about specific issues or specific politicians or that I don’t take my role as a citizen and my right to vote seriously. I do.
But years ago I realized that too many people consider politics to be a game of Monopoly in which the political party, the politician, the political action committee or the corporation are more concerned about securing as much for themselves as possible than they are about anyone else. They seem to believe that a roll of the dice is a fair way to determine the success and/or comfort of an individual or family.
Sometimes, they spout a few words intended to convince people they care about those who aren’t as fortunate or as wealthy or as beautiful, but their words often aren’t consistent with their behavior, lifestyle or relationships.
As someone who received a great roll of the dice on the day I was born and encounter people everyday who didn’t get such a great roll, I can see right through their facade.
And just when I feel as though I’m becoming completely cynical, I encounter individuals who step into politics because they truly care about others.
My friend Layne Diehl is one of those people.
Layne never thought she could go to college, but through the support of people who cared about her, she not only went to college but also to law school. She is a true role model for young women whose roll of the dice doesn’t afford them the security of knowing they can go to college.
Layne didn’t grow up in a family that was always safe and secure. She learned to survive and thrive because she had a mother who garnered all of her strength, skills and resources to take care of her children when the world around her family was collapsing. Layne’s mom passed those skills onto her daughter, who understands the importance of reaching out to help others who were never given the opportunity to roll the dice.
Layne has a strong sense of purpose and self. When she realized that her personal values no longer fit with her career, she took a chance and decided to roll her own dice instead. In doing so, she found a path that fits with both her values and to give back to the community.
I wouldn’t know any of this information if Layne weren’t my friend. That’s because Layne, who is running for the WV House of Delegates, isn’t making her campaign about her.
When Layne took the risk of running for the House of Delegates, she didn’t do it so she could build her resume or her ego. She did it because she truly cares about others and understands the impact legislative issues can have on the lives of the small business owner, the single parent family, the working poor and the economy of small communities.
During her campaign, Layne never said a negative word about her opponent nor allowed anyone else to do so (even when her opponent was garnering national attention as a teenage candidate). Instead, Layne chose to praise her opponent for inspiring other young people to get involved then focused on real issues affecting real people.
Layne didn’t pander to people who want elections to be about one or two issues. Instead, she adopted a platform that speaks to those who see beyond party lines to the complexity of issues.
I do have one complaint about Layne’s campaign. I can t vote for her because I don’t live in her district.
All I can do is publicly express my support and let others know how much I appreciate that she wants to improve the odds for everyone.