Seeing People as People: My Biggest Discovery This Summer

 

Even though I have always been interested in politics, I had almost zero real contact with people who actually worked in politics before I went to D.C. for my internship.  A lot of my knowledge of what they do and who they are came exclusively from television and social media. Not until I actually arrived in D.C. and began interning in a Congressional office did I realize that all of us want to make this country, and this world, a better place. We differ greatly on how we think we should to achieve that goal, but ultimately we are all here trying to help those in need and make a difference big or small. At the end of the day, we are united in our love for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (and hotdogs, non-crowded metro trains, and free lunch at Congressional briefings).

Before I started my internship, I found out that a Congressman who had had some very anti-Muslim posts on his Facebook page worked two doors down from my office. I was petrified and even considered taking a different route to the elevators. A week later, I realized that there was nothing to fear. His fun-loving, smart staffers and interns are just like the fun-loving, smart staffers and interns in my office. We might have different opinions on many issues and don’t interact much socially, but we are all here for the same reason and should all be able to respect each other. The only way to start solving issues is to talk about them, and we need to be able to talk to each other.

By far the best lesson I’ve learned on Capitol Hill is to always look for the common love and emotions that we share.  Don’t simply look for reasons to dislike anyone and give everything a chance. With an open mind, I found that I could still have a very nice conversation with interns from the office of a senator who I detested during the election!