Esther Ngotho American citizen of African descent reflects on lessons learnt running as a councilor-at-large in Beverly,Massachusetts
Campaign: A PostmortemThe following is in regard to the just concluded municipal election in Beverly, MAThe election results for our city remain unofficial as they are contested. There will be a recounton November 22, 2017. I would have wished to write this article after the officials results areout. However, due to unavoidable circumstances, I can only issue this response today. Theunofficial results are as follows:Paul Guanci, 4273 votes – Council President (elected)Julie Flowers, 3451 votes (elected)Timothy Flaherty, 3170 votes (elected)Matthew St. Hilaire, 3160 votesEsther Ngotho, 1479 votesBrian D’Apice, 653 votesThere is always a reason for failure just as there is always a reason for success. If you know thereasons of the failure before, you would not make them, and so you would not fail. It is thereforeok to start winning by failing.Although I knew that the chances of winning in the just concludedmunicipal elections in Beverly, MA were remote, I was not sure why this had to be so.Let me do a brief postmortem: all the individuals I contested against are very well known in mycity and I guess very few people knew the hell who I was; all of them have been councilors-at-large in the city for many years and two of them are current and former president of the council;one is a secretary of personnel in Governor Baker’s office,one is a First Baptist minister of alarge church, was born and grew up in Beverly and finally; one person is a realtor in the city.All of them started their campaign many months or even years ago but I campaigned actively for 2months only. All of them had campaign infrastructure but I had none. I was also operating on ashoe string budget. Given all these issues, our campaign did exceedingly amazingly well.I wasvery humbled to be the first American citizen of African descent to hold the honor of running asa councilor-at-large in Beverly, MA. I am proud to say that I attained this candidacy as animmigrant.Although the reasons I have enumerated above look like “blames,” they have offered the lessonsthat I wish to share with you today. One major lesson is that “A man learns to skate by staggeringabout, and making a fool of himself. Indeed, he progresses in all things by resolutely making afool of himself” – George Bernard Shaw. Many of us are however, terrified by the possibility offailure or ridicule. In doing this, we deny ourselves the pleasures and adventures of life. Wemistakenly belief things that are not true.In my campaign, I was overwhelmingly supported by awhite community.In every campaign event, candidates’ night and debates I went to, I was eitherthe only black person there or just about.Apparently, although that originally bothered me, it didnot bother my community and although I cannot say that there are people who did not vote forme because I was black, I can unequivocally say that my community voted for me regardless ofbeing black in a predominantly white city.My platform was “Diversity.”
The lessons are many, but the other important one is that although we are lions, sometimes weact as goats all our lives (if you know what I mean).Going in, the prospect was daunting and Ihad an overwhelming feeling of being vulnerable. At the back of my mind, there was an evilvoice reminding me that those who insist that they are lions and not goats risk being consideredfools. Let us get rid of the goat so that the lion inside of us can awaken.For me, running in thatrace took courage and audacity!After the campaign experience, my mind has become stronger and better trained. I have learnedto see things clearly and I understand that I worried and got worked up over nothing.So, the next time, probably 2019 campaign, when things appear insurmountable, I will remember thateven the supreme issue that a person is terrified of is a completely harmless, insignificantphenomenon. All things are a reflection of our minds and so our minds have to remain calmeven in the most critical circumstances.For us to be free, we need to understand this.“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – my journey has begun and I amexamining the fact that Thomas Edison did not try to invent ten thousand things. Rather, it tookhim ten thousand tries to get the first light bulb to work!I take this opportunity to thank friends and foes alike.To all those who aligned themselves withour campaign and dreams, I will remain forever indebted. All those pastors and theircongregations who prayed for me and with me, may God bless you.The well wishes from Kwitusisters and their administration, both through Kwitu forum and through email, messages andphone was very encouraging and I owe you a train load of thanks! A million thanks go out to allthose who have not been covered through the churches and/or Kwitu. Special delivery goes out toSamrack! Thank you for all you do!I mentioned foes – there were a few people that visited this title upon themselves. I would like toassure them that I did not see them as “foes” but as “opportunities” to help me horn my patienceand perseverance. They played a very important role in my success because success is failureturned inside out. They too were important in my platform of “Diversity.” they reminded me that“True courage and courtesy always go hand in hand, that the bravest men are the most forgivingand the most anxious to avoid quarrels” – William Thackeray.
I wish all of you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Esther Ngotho American citizen of African descent reflects on lessons learnt running as a councilor-at-large in Beverly,Massachusetts Campaign: A Postmortem The following is in regard to the just concluded municipal election in Beverly, MA The election results for our city remain unofficial as they are contested. There will be a recount on November 22, 2017.