When I was in High School, the most we learned about government was a brief overview of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Three Branches of Government, and a brief introduction into how our local government is organized. I could tell you the President and Vice President, but I honestly couldn’t tell you about who represented my district (or even what my district number was) or who were the two Senators of my state. The Speaker of the House? Who cares? Press Secretary? Boring and unnecessary.
It was abysmal. My interest was lacking, to say the least. I hated “politics.”
For the next decade and a half, I marched on, uninterested in politics. Don’t get me wrong, I ALWAYS voted, and I did my hour of research before pulling the levers or pushing the buttons, but that was as far as I was interested. Then, I had children.
Suddenly, it seemed much more important how the world was progressing. What legacy would I leave for my children if I let the world become something in which they would suffer?
When I decided to educate my children, I knew I had to fix the mistakes of my own education. I had come to know politics as a dirty word, but what I needed to learn was that there are governments and agencies that affect and direct my life, and if I don’t participate and keep them accountable, I could very well find myself—and later my adult children–at the bottom end of tyranny.
How do you remedy apathy toward government? You remove the boundary of unfamiliarity, the fear of the unknown, and you make it routine to participate.
I wish I could tell you I have made leaps and bounds in my own participation, but I have not. To date, I have been at our state Capitol twice to testify against bad bills (though I’ve never been given the opportunity to testify in person, they always seem to run out of time). I do keep track of bills through the online database, write letters to my representatives about legislation (which are always replied with “I know better than you, so I will vote differently”) and try to help others stay up-to-date with new proposed legislation.
To graduate, my children must: Attend one Committee Meeting at the Capitol and witness people testifying, observe a floor vote in the House or Senate, observe one trial at the court house, and participate in another local agency meeting.
Today we listened to four hours of our State Health Department’s Monthly Meeting. Since they refuse to meet in person because of Covid (although schools, businesses, even large sporting venues are open) we are lucky to sit in our sweat pants and listen to the meeting. Today’s agenda was confirming two Health Department rules (one to allow changes to sex on birth certificates without surgical or hormone treatment per the new Jude’s Law, and the second was rules governing mental health group homes). We then watched a presentation on the Health Department’s very detailed media marketing about the Coh-vid vaccine and how successful it has been. Finally, open general comment occured, and the citizens are not happy about our governor’s new proclamation about venues of 500+ capacity and vaccine passports for those venues.
I’ll go into my summary of the meeting in the next post. It was rather interesting…and infuriating. But for now, I will leave you with this thought: if we don’t normalize with our children that keeping an eye on governing bodies like Health Department is a necessity of life, how will we ever turn this ship back to calmer seas?