Sat with Nat · walking

Fitness & Politics

I’m finishing up my very last course in my BA. FINALLY!

It’s a 3rd year course on women & politics that looks at many aspects of women’s participation. I’ve dabbled in politics over the past 15 years, as a campaign volunteer and even once tried to be a federal candidate.

It’s municipal election time in Ontario, Canada and I was helping a friend on his campaign with door to door canvassing. Yes, folks still walk around knocking on doors and dropping off information about candidates.

Four smiling humans wearing bright green t shirts standing on a sidewalk
Nat takes a moment with John, Nancy and her son Olivier to document the fun we are having.

I have to admit getting a chance to hang out regularly with my oldest son Olivier as well as John & Nancy has been pretty fantastic.

It’s been 4 years since the last campaign and this time around I was struck by how physically demanding campaigning can be.

If you stick to a schedule of canvassing 6 days a week the walking, stairs, holding clipboards and even knocking doors start to wear on your body.

Of course you are squeezing that all in around the other things you do in your day.

I sat reading my course and popping ibuprofen and realized that we don’t talk much about the ableist approach to politics. Most traditional ways of contacting potential voters rely on being physically present, at the door, debates and community events. But those doors are spread out and have many stairs.

Locally there is a Women in Politics group that seeks to support women to enter into politics at all levels of government but I’m not aware of much in the realm of analyzing where ableist assumptions and approaches are barriers to more folks running for office.

I’m glad I can occasionally participate in political organizing & activities and am thinking more about accessibility.

If I come up with any great ideas I’ll let you know 🙂

7 thoughts on “Fitness & Politics

  1. This post raises such a challenging issue, the persavive ableism in the vast majority of physical and social structures in everyday life. It’s amazing when we start to become aware. I too have encountered a number of physical obstacles lately (that for nondisabled me were a mere inconvenience) and thought how does someone with less mobility navigate this particular hurdle? Thank you for talking about it re. Women and politics.

    And good luck with the home stretch of your degree. Congrats!

    And thank you for doing the hard work of campaigning in municipal elections.

  2. Congratulations on the BA?

    In terms of ableism and campaigns, what do you think of the more new age-y forms of communication with voters (social media and email, to name two)?

    1. I think digital means of contacting people is very helpful. Live debates, attending community events are also important ways for people to get a sense of who a candidate is and how they conduct themselves.
      In the end I think door to door is how people connect on a personal level with issues and candidates. I think it is favored over other means because of that but that hierarchy may also discount the value of other types of communication.

      1. Door to door I think is definitely preferred my many. Hand-made postcards also seem to help (some candidates in NY used those and it seemed to leave a positive impression). Debates and community events are good, but there are also limits if those events are not accessible to many.

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