Saturday, July 5, 2008

I Guess I'm a Grown Up Now

Some people say they don't feel fully grown up until they lose their parents. Some people feel it when they have kids. For me, it happened while I was standing in Hubby's clients' living room listening to one of the Georgia Democratic contenders for US Senate speak.

We were there primarily to score points with Hubby's clients, but we were both a tad curious. Neither of us had ever been to a political event, much less a local one. Until now, I'd never been interested in local politics.

Truth be told, as a native New Yorker, I've always felt like a foreigner down here in Atlanta. But I recently realized that I've lived here as long as I lived in New York and we have no plans to leave, well, ever. Suddenly I feel a newfound right to care about what happens here. Plus, I'm sick of writing emails to our current Senator, Saxby Shameless, about issues I care about and getting the same response every time:

Dear Mrs. S:

Thank you for contacting me regarding [insert name of bill here]. It's good to hear from you [aka, why are you wasting my staff's time?].

Here's some long-winded background on the bill you just wrote me about so I can show you that I know WAY more about this bill than you ever could. [insert two paragraphs of long-winded background].

Now let me tell you why your view is STUPID, mostly having to do with it being completely against the Republican party line [insert paragraph about Republican party line, usually having to do with not wanting to overburden Americans with taxes].

Usually this response is unsigned, unless you count the lovely offer to sign up for his newsletter.

He is evil and must be destroyed.

So anyway, we were standing in the clients' living room listening to this candidate speak and I mostly liked what he had to say. He talked about his background which includes extensive local government service including 18 years in the Georgia House of Representatives and a stint as head of the GA Department of Human Resources, where he had to overhaul the budget to control spending (nothing wrong with a fiscally conservative Democrat). He talked about traditional Democratic issues like ending the war in Iraq, improving the economy and arresting global warming. He talked about how people are looking for politicians to vote their conscience instead of their party line.

All of a sudden, I realized, "Hey, I understand what this guy is talking about. And I even have opinions about what he's saying."

Then someone asked a question -- a much older gentleman -- and I got what he asked too. And I even understood the answer.

Remember when you were a kid standing in a room full of grown ups and had no idea what they were talking about to the point that it sounded like that "WAH WAH WAH WAH" language that Charlie Brown's teacher spoke? It hit me that I now speak fluent grown-up talk.

I guess there's no turning back now.


Anonymous said...

I used to live in Iowa (I now live in Canada and understand nothing about the political process though I am working on it).

I emailed my senators there. Two really old men who really enjoy being senators. So much so that I think they may be the only senators I have had for the vast majority of my life.

The Republican had a staffer help me through the process for applying for social security disability for my husband when he was diagnosed with his illness. She prodded and poked and got it through.

The Democrat had a staffer who helped my daughter and I get our passports during the whole fiasco a year plus ago. She was great as well.

Can't say much about either aside from the fact that I asked for help and got it.

Cool that you feel a part of the process. I am not sure that this makes any of us "grown ups" as the process can be somewhat middle school in its tactics sometimes.

Daisy said...

What's next? Hosting your own political house party? :) From your other post, it doesn't seem like writing letters does the trick.