Let Yourself Be Heard

Kelsey - Newport News, Virginia
Entered on December 8, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

As American citizens, we have inalienable rights that are given to us through the Constitution created by our forefathers. I strongly believe that voting and voicing opinions is a direct way for people to express their ideas and subsequently make a difference in their own lives. As citizens of the United States, we are responsible to be informed about current political stances, which could effect us. We are also responsible for establishing our own ideas and beliefs so that we can express them in a proficient way, which would help others shape their own political philosophies. I believe that change can be made when opinions are voiced!

Everyone has beliefs and opinions and it is extremely important that our government is aware of them. I used to live in a house on the campus of Christopher Newport University. The rapid expansion of CNU was a concern to the residents. The President of CNU made it very clear that he planned to continue aggressively expanding by mailing newsletters to local residents explaining his ideas for expansion. One of those newsletters stated that CNU was planning to widen Shoe Lane, the street I lived on, by twenty five feet and fifteen of the feet would cut into my front yard! At the end of the newsletter it gave a date and time of a meeting that would be held for those concerned to voice their opinions.

When the day came to meet with the CNU administration, my dad, myself, and my neighbors were all prepared and anxious to express our dislike of the idea of expanding Shoe Lane. We stated our concerns about the additional traffic flow and that it would endanger our children, pets, and inevitably our homes. After we all stated our opinions on the matter, the spokesman put up a strong rebuttal by stating that the “improvement” to our road would raise our property value and create less traffic congestion by permitting more efficient traffic flow. After both sides expressed their concerns, we came to a compromise. The resolution was to allow the expansion of the road but only by eighteen feet and the other seven feet would be used as a side walk and shrubberies. The side walk and shrubberies not only create a more pleasant atmosphere to the neighborhood, but it would also serve as a buffer, protecting our homes, children, and pets.

Compromising is a great method for solving conflicting ideas and issues. By my Dad, me, and my neighbors collectively voicing our opinions, we made the CNU administration aware of our concerns. The result was a compromise that not only appeased the CNU administration but also satisfied the local residents. I believe that voting and voicing our opinions is a direct way for us, as citizens of this great country, to express our ideas and in turn make a difference in our own lives and communities.