Written by Phoebe . . .
Dear Mr./Ms. Lawmaker,
Thank you for your service to our state. Thank you for the time and energy you put forth. You ask to hear from your citizens, so I accept. I want to support you. I want to trust you to be fair and represent all citizens in the great state of NC. It is with sadness that I express my disappointment at most of our lawmakers. Not all, mind you, but most. I work. I pay taxes. I help my fellow citizens in times of hardships. My heart belongs to this state. However, if I am being honest, I am frustrated at the lack of representation for ALL citizens. As elected officials by voters, it is not your decision who you represent. You represent each and every one of us. And, each and every one of us has a voice.
I have been to many of your offices, only to have my voice fall upon deaf ears, but I keep going. There is a distinct population of this state who are voters, but do not feel represented by you. It is election year and the way I have seen things transpire, there are so few who move through this process with sincerity. I ask you…be that person. Represent everyone. Do not forget the thousands which your laws have placed on the sex offender registry. Understand the real statistics on the registry, not the hearsay. You’d be shocked, I promise you. People deserve second chances. These people have voices. These people vote.
I often sit and wonder if each of our NC lawmakers could abide by the very laws to which they make. You make ‘em, but could you follow ‘em? Take, for example, registry restrictions. Could you, Mr./Ms. Lawmaker, walk through your day-to-day life for a month and abide by every stipulation?
1. Do you know the restrictions? ALL of them?
2. Could you find someone in this state who clearly knows and can answer your questions regarding the restrictions?
3. Would you miss attending your kids’ school, church, sporting events, dance and music recitals, teacher conferences?
4. Could you handle parenting simply through pictures or stories of your kids’ events?
5. Could you handle not participating in your kids’ birthday parties?
6. Could you explain to your kids WHY you can’t go to their events…and could you deal with the emotional trauma to which it subjects them?
7. Could you find fun, family entertainment week after week, given that there are few places you could actually go?
8. Could you still work? Would your employer allow you to? Do the premise restrictions impact your ability to work?
9. Could you pass up the best French fries at your favorite fast food restaurant because they have a playground and you are restricted from going there?
10. Could you find new places to work out? Not at a gym. Not at a YMCA. Not at a park.
11. Could you miss church…or worse, continue sending your family there alone, without you?
12. Could you do this for 30 years? Yes, that’s the length of the registry here in NC, regardless of the severity of the charge.
13. Could you emotionally survive this? Would you empathize with the thousands of people living this out every day? Would you rethink the laws you create and vote on and their implications?
Proof is in the pudding. Elections are coming up. Take a stand and live this out for a month. Let NCRSOL know that you did. Let’s start conversations so we learn to work together rather than continuing to pick apart a ridiculous set of laws that are nearly impossible by which to live.
Mr./Ms. Lawmaker, I remind my readers that you must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Be a change agent…