Today I learned probably one of the most important and heartbreaking lessons that young people face today. I have never been one to care much about political thingss, especially on the local forum. Until our neighbor and friend Kevin Clark decided to run for Georgia State Senate, District 2.
To be quite honest, at first I was skeptical about his chances of making it just because of the stereotypical image of southern senators we have had beaten into our brains over the past hundred years. But once I began to look deeper, to dig beneath all of the scars our society has draped over our ideas and values, I saw it: The core values that our nation was delivered on.
Honesty, Integrity, Hard Work, Kindness, Compassion, and Respect.
I was quickly aware that a “true” representative of our community should not just possess, but really and truly BE all of these things.
Since our family has known Kevin, he has been a pillar of light in our sometimes grim neighborhood. While the rest of us are still reaching for the snooze button on our alarm clocks dreading the light of a new day, Kevin is out on the streets picking up trash in our neighborhood.
While the rest of us are sitting around complaining about the crime and noise in our neighborhood, Kevin is the guy that makes it to the meetings and speaks out against these things.
While the rest of us are cautious about crossing paths with others from different economic and racial backgrounds at social events, Kevin is the one darting across the room to make everyone feel at home.
Once I saw these things, I saw that there was no other man or woman in our neighborhood who was right for the job.
The morning of election day was an exciting one. We all woke up eager to fulfill our civic duties, and vote for our wonderful Kevin.
As we drove to the poll site, for the first time ever I took notice of all the candidate advertising around town. Everytime we passed a bright and cheery Kevin Clark poster I smiled, and wondered if people had noticed our posters too.
I walked away from the polls with pride and confidence knowing that I had chosen someone who I knew would always do the right thing, and was an amazing person. I just knew that everyone else in Savannah had to feel the same way.
We spent the rest of the day waiting to hear the results. I watched my two-year-old bounce around the house screaming “Go Kevin Go!” with her “Georgia Voter” sticker plastered in the middle of her forehead.
I watched her in awe, amazed at what a great judge of character she is. People and things are so simple to children. They don’t see ugly things that society blurs our judgment with.
They only see things in black or white, good or bad. And to her the guy with the puppy who smiles at her each morning is good.
I watched with horror and disbelief as the poll results scrolled along the bottom of our television. My heart sunk in my chest and warm wet tears began rolling down my cheeks.
My mind immediately flashed back to my first cheerleading tryouts, walking away from the posted list, in shock that my name wasn’t there. I know Kevin’s battle is so much more important, but in my own little way I felt his hurt.
All I could think about was how unfair it was, and that if more people could see things in black and white like my precious little girl, then the “good guy” would have won.
Then the life lesson hit me that the good guy doesn’t always win. I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason, especially really hurtful things. I was trying to find reason in all this when I began to think about how Kevin’s campaign has changed me as a young adult, and what it has taught me.
I have learned that our society is corrupt, because people choose corrupt leaders.
I have learned that you cannot judge a person without looking into their heart.
I have learned to pay attention to what people do, and ignore what they says.
I have learned how important local government is to our community.
I have learned that it is unacceptable to be over 20 and not read a newspaper.
I have learned that if we want to make big changes in this world then we have to fight hard.
I have learned that if we stand in truth, no one can use it against us.
I have learned that if you speak out, people will listen and be forever changed.
Thank you, Kevin, for teaching me these truths.
Emily Walters Pitts