This I Believe

Tara - Deerfield, Wisconsin
Entered on September 6, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in government.

Now, before you discount me as being young and idealistic or delusional – hear me out.

I believe in the steadfastness of government. While administrations – and their priorities – change with regularity, the vast majority of people who work for the government remain dedicated and loyal to the greater good. They are the steady wind that allows our government to continue moving on an even keel. They are the reason that government is inherently good.

In my job as a staff person for a state legislator, I have heard heartbreaking stories of the shortcomings of government. I have been yelled at by constituents, called offensive names and have been told that I am part of the problem. These people have lost faith in their government and feel like they have been abandoned. But government itself does not lose the faith of its people. It is the actions of those who are elected to run government that make us cynical, angry, disgusted, and frustrated.

As an employee of government, I can tell you honestly that I often feel those same things about my government. I get frustrated by the red tape that people face every day when all they want is a straight answer or a real person to talk to. I certainly can appreciate why they think that government isn’t interested in helping them.

I get disgusted by the highly partisan nature of my job in recent years. I am angry that we have allowed special interests to have such incredible influence over government. Those special interests do not consider the long term wellbeing of the whole – they only see a few feet ahead with dim tunnel vision focused on their one issue to satisfy the few.

I am saddened when people think that their voice – their participation in the process – doesn’t matter. It does matter. Citizens and their opinions, their voices, and their votes – are the single most influential part of our government system. Your input – OUR input – moves government forward.

It is also extremely satisfying for me to be able to help constituents deal with the maze of government. People appreciate it when you put them directly in touch with someone who can answer their questions, or schedule their daughter’s driving test on her birthday on short notice, or send a note to wish them a happy anniversary with a clipping that appeared in the local paper. It is then that they realize that government works for them and government notices them. They DO matter!

Government does not always do the right thing – but neither do we. Government does not always make the best decisions – but neither do we. Government is not always quick to take action or to correct an error – but then again, neither are we.

Ultimately, government is a reflection of the people that it works for. And that is why I believe in government – because I believe in us.