COVID interruptus to the mayoral campaign this past week provided some new opportunities for my network of family, friends, and community connections to go into over-drive. There were people of all ages folding letters, bundling up, delivering notices, checking their socials, and talking me up in places I could not get to, and then taking the time to report back what was happening in electioneering land. There were children on school holidays who found themselves in the middle of a campaign. It was so heartening. I am truly humbled.
I am going to share ten highlights from the week, where I experienced an abundance of care and radical generosity. I am only choosing ten, I could have chosen three times as many. I feel like a vein of opal was tapped this week – every contribution, a colourful reflection of relationships across time and space.
First up, my choir calling me and putting me on speaker so I could hear them sing the last song of the night. This song, we sing to close each time we are together, is a beautiful blessing about all being right in the world. It is sung in a language none of us know and it takes on angelic and cosmic qualities when you hear it and sing it. It has magical, healing properties. I was so touched and the spontaneity and kindness this simple act brought me. The choir is one of the things that I think keeps me whole and well. This gesture will remain with me and truly held me this week.
Next one, was my trusty magnetic car sign going on tour on other people’s cars. One such carrier was stopped in a supermarket car park and was advised that the owner of the sign (me) had a very clear voice making it easy for him, a self-described “old bugger” easy to hear and understand.
The third highlight I will mention is a phone call. This phone call was from a woman who was absolutely convinced she knew me from twenty years ago. She was sure it was me, but the surname did not look right, she checked a number of sources including some old photographs she had of us being involved in another campaign. She took a punt and called me. I explained I had returned to my family name on the death of my husband. We had a lovely chat, and I was the same person, and I am looking forward to reconnecting with her.
Fourth highlight was a group of friends I used to work with all arriving to go letterboxing, and waving and chatting to me at a distance, through my bedroom window. One had come from the other side of the earth, another from the other side of the hills to be together and united in their desire to see me get elected. It was such a deep joy to feel this love and support. The chief organiser has been steadfast in her efforts to organise her area for folding and distribution, strategy, and sanity. She has roped in neighbours, who have roped in others, including a morning after slumber party of teen girls.
Number five highlight, and I now realise I am not putting these in any chronological order or rank, was the frozen roasted vegetable soup that arrived at the door wrapped in foil and love. An instant hit of vitamins and compassion with the desired effect to keep me moving towards good physical and mental health. Cooked and delivered by friends who know what is means to be alive and kicking.
The sixth highlight was my daughter organising someone to come and mow my lawns as my usual person was away. I was thrilled with her organising and when the said help arrived, I thought how much he looked like my son-in-law and then as I woke up from my daze, realised it was my son-in-law! I laughed at myself for a good ten minutes and am still giggling as I think about it. The laughter an extra dose of good medicine!
Highlight number seven was a call from an octogenarian who lives in one of the oldest seaside townships. When he first arrived here there were paddocks and summer shacks along the shoreline. He has watched houses come and more houses come, shops, buses, roads, schools and more shops, buses, roads, and schools arrive. He feels like not all the changes and development are good and he wants more community and more communication. He feels alienated from the public discourse as he does not have the internet, social media and there is no local paper, and the local radio is all about city politics. He called me because he got my household letter. He felt like I was approachable and could ring me. We had a very sophisticated conversation, and I am looking forward to morning tea and cake with him and his wife in a week’s time so we can keep the conversation going and I can tap into his wisdom. He was a founding member of the resident’s association that will be 40 years old soon. I know I will learn a lot from the conversation to come.
Number eight highlight came in the form of an addressed but unsigned letter in my post office box. It was to complain about my stance on climate change. I am so happy this is my first hate mail of the campaign. I will continue to speak up for climate justice, this is the decade to turn things around, it is not a dress rehearsal and I want to be in a place where change at scale might be possible.
The ninth highlight was a short email asking if I supported the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Needless to say, my reply was longer than the email. I explained my long-time support and shared some of my policy ideas if I get the chance to be Mayor to support and apply Kaurna lessons to our economic and ecological challenges. Rooted in our deep connection to place and the council taking its name from the women’s river Onkaparinga, I truly hope I can be able to deepen my experience and our community.
The tenth and final highlight was a post on LinkedIn by a business I supported when they were dealing with some very challenging regulatory issue threatening their entire business. I took the time to understand their issue. I wrote a letter to the appropriate authority. While my letter may not have been what helped them get over the line, it was a contribution. I did not realise one of the co-founders of this business lived in the area I am running for Mayor, so to see her post with my letter, and her endorsement was a beautiful surprise.
These are only ten highlights from the week of being confined to quarters … there are more …. And all I can say if I do not get elected it will not be because I do not have support from the people who share the values I have, who care and want for a world that has leadership, integrity and transparency, who want Onkaparinga to be a place of possibilities.
I wanted to make visible these, otherwise invsible, moments in the campaign this week, to remind myself how it takes a village to do anything, and a mayoral campaign is no exception. I feel honoured to receive all this support.
A deep bow (no hugs just yet) to you all.