As much as some may like to use humor to cope with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has swept the world in just a few weeks, the reality is that we’re in the midst of some uncertain and stressful times. Add in the pressure that comes with a presidential election, and the environment could certainly turn downright volatile given the right amount of stimulus. With shelter in place or stay at home orders being enforced around the globe, many find themselves with more time on their hands than ever before. This can be good or bad, depending on how individuals choose to use this time. The environment is stressful — but how will you react? How will you use this time?
For a veteran running for office, this enforced downtime can be a ripe opportunity for expanding past politics, past the pandemic. How can you take the most advantage of this time? Here are a few ways to use the quarantine or downtime wisely:
Help Someone Else
Yes, there is political gain to be had in helping others. However, this should never be the driving force behind any good deed. Use this time to find ways to help someone else. The reality is that many frontline and essential workers have been drastically affected by the shifts in the economy. Healthcare workers are dead tired, short on supplies, and wearing thin. Delivery drivers and gig workers are still working with little precautions taken by the companies who pay them. Service industry employees have been furloughed or had their hours and tip potential drastically reduced, forcing them to file for unemployment benefits just to make ends meet.
This presents many opportunities to help. Whether it’s in the form of donating money or time (safely), there is a way to help someone who is more disadvantaged due to current circumstances.
Republican Congressional candidate, retired Army Captain Sean Parnell, found himself wanting to help out during the pandemic. A father of three, he wanted to support other families with children who now were facing homeschooling and missed hours at work. He worked with the Salvation Army to help gather supplies needed for families with kids at home and helped with food delivery to volunteers. It was something he could control, to help someone else who was at a disadvantage.
Add to Your Own Skill Set
This downtime also provides ample opportunity to continue one’s own education. Running a campaign is a long road, and it requires a lot of staying power. Now is a great time to load up on resources to sustain your campaign. Take a deeper dive into your policy platforms and find new ways to bolster them. What is your district or city planning to do in the upcoming year? How can you best be involved in that process, should you get elected?
What about your skills such as public speaking or speech writing? Chances are, there is plenty to improve in that aspect, too. Practice your speeches. Practice your conversational and listening skills. Watch videos from past debates or speeches, making note of the politicians you admire and want to emulate.
Using the time you have wisely is important; after all, when else have any of us ever had this much time on our hands? Consider it a gift, and remember that others are not so fortunate. So use this as your golden opportunity to really improve your skills, both for candidacy as well as for leading the group of voters who may elect you to office. Through this practice, you’ll emerge on the other side of this pandemic in better shape than ever and ready to tackle the next challenge.
While the 2018 election results may not be the rosy picture we’d all like to see, there are important takeaways (and positives) to be further studied and learned from. As the 2020 election looms, these takeaways will be important for veterans hoping to secure their own spot with the confidence of their voters. Read more here.