Part One: Standing for Election

Part Two: In the States

Part Three: Everything Else

What Can I Do If Someone Takes Against Me?

Well, that depends. Sometimes people have very legitimate, or at least understandable, reasons for being unhappy with their Deputies. Maybe they feel you handled their concern flippantly, or failed to resolve a situation that was very important to them. Maybe you voted the ‘wrong ‘ way on an issue that’s too close to their heart for them to be able to see the other side. That kind of unhappiness goes with the territory. You may not be able to make it go away, but sometimes you can do something to make it a little better – you can apologise, if you’re in the wrong (they may not accept your apology, and you have to learn to live with that – you can’t force it). You can explain why you did what you did – they may not understand or agree, but if you’re lucky, they might at least recognise that you behaved as honourably as you could.

On the other hand, some people will dislike you for reasons you can’t understand or justify. People may take against you because of who you are (who they think you are), or something you said that was taken out of context, or their assumptions about your politics, or something they think you’ve done which was nothing to do with you, or … just because. In a different way, that also goes with the territory. You can’t stop people disliking you. You can’t track down everyone who disagrees with you and explain your principles to them until they come around to your point of view. It’s so tempting to want to do that – nobody enjoys being the butt of someone else’s disapproval. But most of the time, you just have to find ways to live with it, and not let it take up too much space in your heart or your mind. As public figures, I think we have to have a bit more tolerance of people disliking us and grumbling about us in public, than we did when we were just regular people.

But it becomes a real issue if someone is actively working against you – spreading false information about you, perhaps, or sending you cruel or threatening messages on social media. When it crosses that line, think about how you want to respond – maybe discuss it with others, and explore what options you have. Sometimes dignified silence is still the best option (though if somebody is making you feel unsafe, make sure you get the protection you need); at other times, you might want to actively go out there and combat rumours or slurs. You don’t have to do it alone – sometimes it’s much stronger if someone else speaks up in your defence, and it’s OK to ask a colleague or a supporter to do that for you if you think that will help.