My heart was beating so fast I was almost out of breath. My mind was racing at one hundred miles an hour which was driving me crazy because at the same time, I was blanking. “What is this? What did I get myself into?” was all I was thinking. It is funny because I was really excited up until the night before when the enormity of what I was about to do finally sank in. I’m sure you are wondering what task the Columban Center of Advocacy and Outreach could have possibly assigned me that was so daunting that it would have to go through such an emotional stress—that daunting task was Congressional visits.
Anticlimactic? Yes. Realistic? I honestly believe it is. I mean, who am I? I’m just a college sophomore who just happens to be working in an office. What business do I have in the office of a congressional representative? They don’t want to hear from me—like I said, I’m just a college student and I can’t evoke change anyway, right?
Wrong! There was no reason for me to believe I didn’t belong in the office of this congressional representative. This is supposed to be a democracy right? Run by the people. Well, I am part of the “the people” who had a concern and wanted to address that concern to my political leader. Why did I even need to second guess myself? Yet, I believe it is very realistic that most people believe they cannot have a voice, or cannot address a concern to Congress. I’m sure most people have not even considered the possibility of meeting with Congressional representatives to address their problems and instead they choose to “bite the bullet.” That is just not right.
I think we should use our privileges to have a say in policy more often than we do now. I always hear people are generally not happy with the outcomes of government and I wonder what they have done to change that. The people who get what they want from government are those who make demands to government, and lately, that has been mostly corporations. Maybe if I understood that I had every right to influence government, I wouldn’t have been so anxious to go to what turned out to be a brief, positive conversation with one of the nicest Congressional staffers I think may exist.
I would like to make a call to action, advice that I must heed as well: don’t underestimate your power and your voice—anyone can influence government and the hardest part is taking that initial step.