By Rich Polt
Published October 11, 2012
How many people can boast being interviewed by Katie Couric in a devil costume? Toby Crittenden can.
Toby is the Executive Director of the Washington Bus, an organization that strives to engage youth in politics through “education, civic and cultural engagement, and hands-on democracy.”
The Seattle native and Oberlin College graduate is in charge of many of “The Bus” events and leadership development programs, tasks that his quirky and captivating personality seem perfectly suited for. His vision, tenacity, and good sense of humor are a source of inspiration to anyone trying to change both the way we engage with government and how citizens can use government to change laws and social norms. Check out Toby’s hysterical tour of Olympia, WA (note the priceless eyebrow raise) as he introduces Washington residents to their center of state government.
To read more about the Bus and Toby’s geeky side check out this article. Thanks for answering our questions here at Talking GOOD Toby!
The 10 questions
IN JUST ONE SENTENCE, WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE?
Do the right thing, get it done, have some fun, and don’t be a jerk.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE YOU “EXPIRE?”
I think it’s much easier to start with what you’re trying to accomplish in the shorter term. In the next five years, I’d like to see Washington State become the national leader on bringing young people not just to the political table, but into the decision-making process. Once that’s taken care of (easy, of course), then on to the next thing, and so on. Once you get to the expiration date, then you can look back and see the full collage of your work, and draw from that what it was you were trying to accomplish all along.
IF YOU COULD MEET WITH ANYONE (ALIVE), WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD YOU ASK THEM?
I think it would be stellar to spend an afternoon with one of the journalists who covers the Supreme Court, ideally either Nina Totenberg from NPR or Jeffrey Toobin from the New Yorker. It would be fascinating to get into some of the behind the scenes details on how the high court does its work.
WHAT WOULD THE TITLE OF YOUR BOOK BE?
“Just the pundamentals”
WHAT IS A BELIEF THAT IS CORE TO YOUR BEING?
Fairness. A healthy society should always be asking itself how to ensure that every voice is heard, and every person valued. I’m not in favor of process for process sake, but structural impediments to participation are inherently unfair and unjust.
WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
Without a doubt my family. My parents and my two big sisters have set a bar that I try to reach every day.
IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THIS, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
When someone tries to tell you that politics isn’t connected to every aspect of life, feel free to look them in the eye and tell them they’re wrong. It doesn’t matter what specific job I might have – no matter what we all do, when we push the boundaries of art, culture, society and community, we’re having a political impact. It’s all different of the same awesome work.
WHAT QUESTION DO YOU WISH I HAD ASKED?
Q: How does the Washington Bus propose to take over the world (starting with Washington)? A: By engaging with our peers all across this awesome state, and providing a platform for young people to not only make their voices heard, but to effect real political change, from Spokane (the Lilac City) to Tacoma (the City of Destiny) to the Emerald/Jet/Queen City herself, Seattle. Most importantly: we will never, EVER, try to make politics cool. That would be impossible. Rather, we will always find your favorite thing, and make sure politics is inherently bound up in it. It will be awesome, it will be a blast, and we’re glad to have you on the team.