Remember the song about Bills? From Schoolhouse rock? That’s exactly what I was thinking while walking through the Georgia Capitol on Crossover day. Since taking my Global Issues course this Spring semester, so many subjects and issues have been opened my eyes. I took the course because it was a requirement for my degree, but I never thought the course would be such an eye-opener for and going to a political event opened my eyes even more. For my political event, I attended a very important day at the capitol. On this important day, I witnessed multiple bills that have been considered to pass being tossed left and right. While I was there, I was surrounded by other college students as well. I spoke to a girl who was a law student who wanted to work with individuals involved with human trafficking. We both attended for the same reasons, but she knew what was going on most of the day. I also got to work with an organization, Georgia Shift, whose purpose is to inform young people about what happens in the government and how even we as young people can help
Georgia Shift’s 2019 Young People’s Day of Change was an amazing event to attend. I spent most of my day seeing how chaotic Crossover day in the Georgia Capitol gets. The whole time I was in the Capitol, I watched and saw how everything work and how everything was built. As I walked in, I saw politicians everywhere and even ran into my district representative.
I first heard about this event through an email from my professor. I needed to attend a political event, and this sounded interesting. When I first arrived at the Capitol, I met a group of people who were sort of doing the same thing I was doing, attending a political event for class credit. I had little knowledge of what was really going on during the day, but as it went on, I got a clearer understanding. The agenda consisted of watching bills get either passed or tossed and sent to the Senate. The one thing that I took from this experience was that I have the power to attempt to get a bill passed or tossed as well. Simply by speaking to my House of Representative. That was something cool and thought that I would never do. The organization that I was there with were fighting for two specific bills. B-92 and Hb-440. One bill fighting that anyone in Georgia won’t get their teaching certificate taking away due to owed student loans, and the other bill to raise the age for a child to be trialed as an adult instead of having a 17 labeled as an adult in prison. Georgia Shift also gave us a list of multiple bills that were being considered that day. We could see our district representative vote on it if they would like to. I think that was one of the most interesting things I saw because their one vote might could’ve got something very important to someone passed.
As the day went on, I got the opportunity to sit and watch people come to the podium and talk to the representatives about why they should either pass or toss the bill. Most of the representatives were not listening to people convincing them on the podium. They were on their phones, talking to one another, eating, getting up and leaving, and just not paying attention. That says a lot on what bills eventually do get passed or not and a lot of people don’t know that this goes on. A woman was on the podium trying to convince the board to stop closing the rural area hospitals because it takes almost an hour to get help. Nobody cared to hear her out and the bill was not passed. I felt really bad because she was giving her all to them and nobody cared to look at her or listen. I can sense the confusion with the people around me while looking at this situation. I think that was the most intense part of my day to see how people really try to get things passed and are ignored.
Overall, the whole experience showcased a little meaning of Democratic Erosion. The way things are handled right up under our noses is a bit alarming, and show be showing a little more in the public eye. I got my first glimpse of how bills are passed and tossed like they either existed or never existed and met an interesting group of individuals who are trying to educate young people on what happens in the government. After attending the event, I started to look at things from a different perspective. Ranging from to carefully consider who you put in office, who you vote for to represent your district, and to actually start to speak up on things like this so change can start to happen.
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