Monday, April 29, 2013
In the aftermath of the Columbia Elections, nothing has meant so much to me as this post, by Bill Santos at Columbia Compass:
"For those not elected, they need you most of all. In the past few weeks, they have been subjected to accusations that no one would ever think of prior to their declared candidacy. I have been there. The feeling of loss is expected, but what is really jarring is trying to integrate back into the community. There is a pariah effect. Do people in the neighborhood really believe those things that were said?"
That is exactly how I feel. My opponent won, in large part by tapping into a long-nurtured well of fear in a specific group of residents who were willing to believe lies about me. Here is a list of the ones I know about; I'm sure there are more.
I was taking money from Howard County elected officials.
I was a front for big developers.
The vote for the Inner Arbor Trust was only a first step to turning CA into a big 501(c)3 that would then institute secret meetings.
I wanted to get rid of old people.
I was against putting a bubble dome on Merriweather (was this even an issue?)
My personal favorite was the man who checked in with my opponent before going into vote. I heard him say, "That Kevin Ulman is for her, and we're against him, right?"
Lies. Lies. Lies.
After the vote was announced, I went up to shake the winner's hand. To my dismay, he pressed a hug on me and whispered in my ear, "Like I said, just a friendly competition."
It takes a while for the sliminess of this experience to wash off. You don't just snap out of it. When you have given the best of who you are and seen your efforts twisted and misrepresented, it takes something out of you.
Life goes on, the business of Columbia goes on. But for those of us who have been so recently run through the wringer, all we ask is for a little empathy.