Friday, June 26, 2015

New Found Respect

In the short period of time that I have been interning with the NC Department of Agriculture, I have learned more about state government than most would care to know. I have also had the privilege of meeting some of the most kindhearted, genuine, and all around great individuals in the form of our great states legislators.

Coming from a humble blue collar family, living in a small rural community, I had little knowledge of the workings of our state government. With this internship, I now realize how fortunate the people of North Carolina are. The fifty senators and 120 representatives that combine to form our states General Assembly are some of the best people I have met. Each and every one of them comes from hugely diverse backgrounds and they chose this path in government with the knowledge that no matter what, someone, somewhere is not going to like the decision they have made.

I have many friends on various social media accounts that have no problem publically ridiculing their legislators for what occurs in Raleigh and often are blamed for things they had no control over. The citizens across this great state are often quick to assume and pass judgment on issues they do not fully understand. Many people across the state have not the slightest clue about the inner workings of state government and receive their information/news from unreliable, mostly biased, media outlets that put their own spin on a story and pass it off as truth.

I know very few people who are thoroughly informed on the issues surrounding our state, but yet many times these same uninformed individuals are the first to cast the first stone and degrade their elected officials and formulate their political ideology on the basis of warped and misconstrued half truths.

We as a society are quick to forget just how much our elected officials sacrifice for the betterment of their communities. Putting politics and individual opinions aside, each and everyone of our legislators have a passion for North Carolina and want to see her thrive, not for their own benefit but for their children, grandchildren and communities. Yes, it is true that our officials are paid, roughly 13,000 dollars a year for the time they spend in the Capitol City.

I can honestly say that none of them do it for the money. Yes, many of them are successful business owners or independently well to do and can afford to be in Raleigh three-four days a week, for months on end but pause for a moment and realize what they do sacrifice.

Many Senators and Representatives travel 3-5 hours, some even more, to come to Raleigh away from their families and lives, to represent the people of their communities and to attempt to pass legislation to better their constituents lives. Throughout my time here I have observed a few things, these officials are normal everyday people with spouses, young children, grandchildren and careers of their own. Each week during session, they come to Raleigh to work on Monday afternoon and work tirelessly until Thursday evening and on occasion into the wee hours of Friday mornings, depending on the bill before the body.

In my opinion; the constant barrage of negativity from constituents, media, and various organizations, partnered with the daily conflicts contributed to differences in opinions/politics among legislators, and lastly the time spent absent from their loved ones, missing all of those little moments in life that the general public is fortunate enough to experience and often takes for granted, it has become clear to me that our elected officials are underappreciated and get a bad wrap overall when it is not necessarily deserved.

Speaking to the people of North Carolina, yes per the U.S. Constitution we as citizens have a right to voice our opinions and we should but it is my experience that instead of constant complaints and slanderous remarks, try toning it down a little. I am not suggesting that protests should cease or implying that citizens rights should be infringed upon, I am simply stating that your elected officials are people too, and they draw the short straw more times than they should.

I would dare to say that the average citizens of NC could not handle having an equal amount of negativity in their daily lives in comparison to their legislators. Too often we as citizens get caught up in the politics and media, believing every bit of information on the all-knowing internet that we read. If we really wanted to be informed, we would take the daunting task of reading bills, some of which are hundreds of pages long. It is impossible to know every detail of every bill, use a little common sense and understanding in the formulation of your opinions is all I am conveying with this post.

Count your blessings that you live in a place where your voice can be heard, without the fear of punishment.

I close by saying that respect, kindness and understanding go much further in voicing an opinion rather than excessive, incoherent ramblings about an issue you're not fully informed on.

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