In this video, why the answer to this question is relevant to anyone who is looking for help in a political campaign and run for office.
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This past week I had a long conversation with someone who wants to run for office, a bright and passionate mother of two children deeply concerned about the direction of our country.
During our call she asked me a question I seldom hear: “Why do you do what you do?”
It is an excellent question. The answer is relevant to you, or for that matter anyone who may be looking for a coach to help them win an election.
I do what I do because of something I saw when I was 13 years old.
It was 1968. Our political discourse had become a sewer, so vile, so venal, so filled with hate and division that certain subjects dare not be mentioned at family gatherings
There was a crime epidemic no one knew how to contain. Civil unrest no one knew how to control. We were a nation wracked by a war that no one knew how to stop.
In the Spring of 1968, I was a 13 year old farm boy growing up in the State of Indiana. I came home from school and was getting ready to do my chores. As I walked through the kitchen, I stopped to scan the newspapers on the kitchen table when I noticed that Senator Robert Kennedy was campaigning in Indiana that day. Figuring that he’d be on the evening news, I decided to finish my chores early so that I could watch him on television.
When the news came on he wasn’t there. Instead, I saw footage of cities all over American on fire. Burning. Looting. Rioting. Then came President Johnson pleading for calm and demanding law and order. Finally, halfway through the newscast there was Robert Kennedy…
Standing on the back of a flatbed truck in what was called the ghetto of Indianapolis, surrounded by a sea of horrified faces, he told the crowd that Martin Luther King had been assassinated.
Kennedy spoke of his own pain of losing his brother to an assassin’s bullet. He asked that they not respond to violence with violence, but to instead go to their homes and churches, to peacefully honor, remember and celebrate the life of Dr. King.
Kennedy spoke for less than five minutes, ending his speech by reciting the words of Aeschylus, “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom, through the awful grace of God.”
When he finished, thousands of people quietly joined hands and went to their homes and churches to pray.
Indianapolis was the only major city in the country where there was no violence that night. To this day, it is a city that has been largely free of racial conflict.
Today, Indianapolis is a thriving city. It has a football stadium, a basketball arena, a baseball stadium, a world class natatorium, beautiful museums, restaurants open around the clock and a small monument commemorating the night that Senator Kennedy sought to heal suffering by summoning the better angels of the human spirit.
Watching Kennedy give that speech changed everything for me. It was the first time in my life that I had ever seen the raw power of words. Words that forever changed the destiny of an entire city. Words that forever altered my personal and professional journey, for I soon came to realize that I would never be content to live the life of a farmer; that my destiny was to be on or near that great stage of discourse and democracy.
Words are the most powerful drug humankind has ever known. The internet is the most powerful weapon ever invented. You do not need to be a Senator, or run for President to make a difference
It has never been easier to right a wrong; correct an injustice; advance a cause or lead a movement. Never has it be easier to be a source of inspiration or a role model for a world starving for leadership
I began my career as a coach for political candidates before the ink was dry on my college diploma, knowing that it was what I was born to do. My greatest rewards have come from helping smart and passionate people advance a worthy cause; by helping them harness the power of their own words. It’s why I do what I do, and why I will continue to do it until my time on this earth has come to an end.
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Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.
How to win an election:
Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.