Short campaign made a difference

Daniel “D.J.” Sweet saw a chance to teach his 7th graders and go for something he’d dreamed of, too. Over the weekend, however, he was struck by not-so-small dose of reality and he shelved his plans for another day.

But he says he will be back.

Sweet, a teacher and dean of students at Ridgetop Junior High School, was one of three candidates for state senator in the 23rd Legislative District, filing on Friday after seeing the field limited to one candidate.

“It just didn’t seem right,” said Sweet, who as a teacher of American and Washington history knows a little bit about government and politics. So he gathered inspiration from the movie, “The Rookie,” the one about a baseball coach who decides to give playing Major League Baseball, his dream, one last try himself, only to eventually succeed. “I felt like this would be kind of my last lesson of the year to my 7th-grade class,” Sweet said.

His filing declared no party preference, but in doing so he said he was claiming the same preference as this country’s first president in his “disinterested warnings of a parting friend.”

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.” — George Washington

Sweet says it this way: “We have a great government system that’s been ruined by politics.”

So his decision to run with neither party was as principled as one who picks one party over another.

The reality he discovered came from the paperwork the state handed him, showing him that establishing an effective campaign that follows campaign rules and files financial reports on time takes months, if not years, in advance to do well. Plus he is planning to take the bar exam in July. Life is a little too busy to add a political campaign to it. So on Monday he withdrew his name.

Sweet says he will be back, that his short-lived candidacy was no failure. “This was a great, valuable experience for the next time,” he said.

Every Monday his class of “Junior High and Beyond” 7th Grade students talk about the weekend. Boy did Sweet have a story. The kids were enthused, thinking ahead to the day they will get to vote.

Look at that: Young people excited to vote.

One thought on “Short campaign made a difference

  1. Great job! Willing to take a risk and go out of the comfort zone is what students will learn as well as civics & politics. Students are perceptive. Here, here for good teaching and good role modeling.

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