For a long time I was a very active blogger with DailyKos. I had a few personal blogs of my own, too. I was active in the chat and I was frequently posted. Even front paged a time or two. Well, at that time, from about 2005 to 2009, I was mostly a stay home mother, worked a little on the side. Four young kids...DK was my lifeline. I was living out in the middle of nowhere New Mexico, and it snowed all the damn time, and I needed grown ups. I needed politics. Well, I wanted to give you a bit of an update, and ease my way back into the fray. The truth is, I have missed you all so much.
My last blog here was entitled "40 Year Old Junior" or something like that. I had moved into Albuquerque, worked for the Richardson for President campaign, and then for Tom Udall for Senate. I decided that the time was perfect, and would never be better probably, for me to go back and finally get my BA. I had long held the dream of formally studying political science, and hoped one day to go to law school. So in January of 2009 I began studying at the University of New Mexico.
School just came naturally to me. I made a point, every semester, to take at least one class just for fun. I loved film courses, so I took tons of them. My love for film classes helped me fulfill the requirements for a Spanish Minor. I could probably do a degree audit and see what it takes to pick up a second degree in cinema, or film as literature, or something...but I digress.
I really loved studying PoliSci. I read theory, connected with history, reading the classics, the neoclassics, the modern...the ancient. I loved it all. I studied about American politics and International Politics. I fell in love with the Constitution.
My second semester back, in the fall of 2009, I received an email from a woman who ran the scholarships department. She said she wanted me to compete for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship. She said I had aged out of the Rhodes, the Marshall, and the Mitchell, but that she thought I should apply for the Truman. So I did. I applied to the University of New Mexico first. It was a rigorous application, involving several essays, recommendations, and then a pretty intense interview process. I was selected as a finalist and had to present my case to the Truman Foundation. Their process is even more exacting. I spent my entire winter break drafting policy proposals, writing more essays, and was selected as a finalist.
I had to do a make or break interview in Arizona on March 17th, 2010. A week before that one of my kids was up throwing up all night long, and had left a trail. I went to get the mop and bucket out of the laundry room. It was dark, and I didn't notice that my husband had done a load of wash and left the liquid detergent on the washer, lid askew. The spin cycle had tossed it onto the floor and I slipped on it, went down, and broke my hand. Well, I couldn't dress myself, couldn't brush my hair, and then on top of it all I lost my voice due to allergies. I had to buy a second ticket to Phoenix and have my husband come with me so I could go to the interview wearing clothes and without a brush stuck in my snarled hair. On the flight out I was doing the crossword puzzle from the in-flight magazine, and I kid you not, the very center answer of the puzzle was my name, Cara. Not a common name, at that. So I told Charles, "I have a really good feeling about this!"
The next morning Charles helped me dress and dry and brush my hair. I removed the hand brace, because I didn't want to go for sympathy votes and I didn't want them to know what a klutz I am. I really am. I did the interview, and I knew at that moment that I had kicked it's ass. I was so excited, because I knew I was the perfect candidate for the Truman, and if I won I would be able to achieve my dream of going to law school, and could manage it financially. The scholarship pays up to $30,000 for the graduate program of your choice, for students who show academic excellence, leadership skills, and a commitment to public service. This was my shot.
Well, I won. I really did! I am still amazed, nearly four years later. In May I will graduate with my law degree. Law school has been an amazing experience. I have found a true passion...JUSTICE. I have worked for nearly two years in the University of New Mexico Innocence and Justice Project as a research assistant. I am enjoying the first moments of my last spring break. I want to work to eliminate the war on drugs, legalize marijuana, overturn convictions, break the private prison system, and leave the world a better place for all our kids.
In the five years since I left you I have found my long-lost son, lost my precious mother, and grown into a strong, knowledgeable, and passionate woman. I will be a grandmother before I am actually a lawyer, and that happens THIS YEAR.
I am back, and I am better than ever.