Nov. 9 was not a good day to be a Democrat.
I woke up that morning having voted for three Democratic women, at all levels of government, and all of them having lost. I’ve spent the weeks since then oscillating between anger and frustration. The Trump administration’s stance on immigration and subsequent articles in this paper about the fear in our community convinced me that inaction was no longer an option. I called all levels of elected officials, but I had the least faith in Rep. Eric Roe’s office.
I’m not going to discuss the issues of the campaign, but after his win I was left feeling like a self-titled Regan conservative would not be interested in or represent my views. I was surprised when my phone call with a member of his staff led to call from the representative himself and an invitation to his office.
Even still, I expected a somewhat painful hour-long appointment full of polite smiling but internal frustration. The hour and half that I spent with him and his staff was actually enjoyable. The main issue we covered was immigration and our community (keep an eye on his office for upcoming action), but we also talked more broadly about other issues and our district in general. I left feeling heard by someone who I expected to leave me feeling discouraged.
Do I say all this because I have suddenly been converted to a Regan Republican? Certainly not. Do I say all this because I believe that Rep. Roe and I agree on all the issues now? Absolutely not. I say this because, regardless of party affiliation, I continue to talk to disempowered and disheartened people.
I say this because politicians can seem inaccessible and distant. I say this because now, more than ever, is the time to get involved and get invested. Volunteer. Go to a school board meeting. Maybe even call up your representative. You may find support, or at least commonalities, in unexpected places.
(Due to a production error, a previous version of this online letter was inaccurate and stated that Rep. Eric Roe appeared inaccessible. The article has been corrected stating that Eric Roe appears to be very accessible).