Monday, August 06, 2007

Public Policy for All Ages

I was in Rockville, MD last week with my family. My husband was down on business and I took the opportunity to take the kids to DC.

As we toured the usual tourist stops around the city we happened to see two young men, congressional aides probably, standing out on the terrace of the Russell house office building, one of the three used by U.S. Representatives. My 6 year old son really wanted to go into the building and stand where those men were standing.

Wanting to get my kids excited about democracy and teach my kids about how our government works I, of course, agreed. So in we went. We went up the stairs and wandered about a bit. I pointed out the posters outside many of the offices, highlighting the legislation that Representative was involved in.

Outside one office there was a poster referencing the national debt. My son became very excited and wanted to go in immediately to ask about it. While I was quite impressed with his enthusiasm, I was puzzled at the same time. When I asked him what he wanted to know, he said he wanted to see if we could go out onto the "National Deck."

Activism is often like that. We assume others know what we are talking about and what our issues are, but sometimes we need a reality check.

And sometimes we just need to walk into our legislators offices, or send them an email or make a phone call and let them know what's on our mind.

That is why these building remain open to the public. So we have access to our legislators who, after all, work for us.

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