Saturday, May 28, 2016

When a Congressmen Assured Me Things Were Not As Bad As I Thought

By: Joel T. Mosman
May 5th, 2016

     Had a nice visit at the Oklahoma State Capitol yesterday. Played my music up, down and all over that place. Met a lot of great folks, saw some old friends and great art of all varieties, even sat in a Representative’s office and had a chat.  I was there to talk about the importance of art in education but that opened up a big can of worms over state budget, energy revenue and economic downturn. I was surprised to learn his opinion on those things. 
     Our political process is a complex beast. It doesn't always work the way it was intended. Our leaders spend a lot of time navigating the system and (in the best scenarios) serving their constituents. But that's not always the case.

     Sometimes our leaders can get so caught up in the government ‘grind’ and lose focus on how their constituents are being affected. Your representative might not realize how teacher shortages, high living expenses, a less than effective judicial system or a failing economy is affecting you or your family.

     This is what I learned when a certain congressman told me from behind his desk that essentially ‘things aren't as bad as people think, the media can sometimes blow things out of proportion’.

     This is when I reminded him that the problems I was expressing to him weren't just something I had seen on TV while I was scarfing down a big fat chicken leg. I said that, in fact, “struggling teachers, layoffs, furloughs, low pay and poor education funding are all issues that affect me, my family and my friends at a high degree.” I also informed him that we were too busy working overtime to pay our bills to be able to do fiscal research and conceive reform strategies. I told him “that's YOUR job and it's what we trust you to do.”

     Before I stood up to leave his office I asked him for suggestions on what small part I could play to help reverse our crumbling economy. He said to focus on my family, pursue something that pays better than teaching and don't let the decisions they make at the State Capital affect my attitude.

     This is my answer to him: I believe my family should benefit from a healthy economy in order to contribute to our communities. I believe that teaching our school kids to become contributing members of society is more important than individual financial success. Lastly, I believe that the inherent purpose of our government is to ensure the security and welfare of the people; I'm sure you agree that when the lawmakers instill poor security and welfare policies an adverse effect on individual attitudes is not only justified but involuntary.

     This is why I encourage everyone to write a short message to your representative or senator to let them know how this economic downturn is affecting you or your family. They have a lot going on and can't always get a clear picture of what is happening in their respective districts. So, if we want change we have to let them know why we need it because some of them don't even think there's a problem.

     If you live in Oklahoma visit this website, enter your information and it will tell you who your legislators are and how to contact them.

Joel T. Mosman

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