One of my greatest takeaways from my internship was seeing the real political climate of Lansing.
Over the past few years, I have seen politics divide our country. I’ve seen friendships ruined and physical fights break out over candidates, and anger and hatred spew from both sides of the aisle. Even I will admit, dealing with people who disagree completely with my views infuriated me.
And then I got to the House.
Within my first 2 days of interning, I was introduced to staffers of the opposing party. We ate lunch together, joked around, had great discussions. There was no smack-talking of the other party behind closed doors, no straw-man arguments, no anger.
I was confused.
Politics is draining. I’ve had periods in my life where I force myself to break from the crazy world of politics for the sake of my mental wellbeing and relationships. So why wasn’t Lansing draining me?
The answer to my question was something I thought was just sold as a facade to the public. But it grows to be more and more true everyday I spend interning: there is a lot of reaching across the aisle that does happen, and we are less divided than the public thinks.
This internship has made me a better person for that. Facebook fights ruin friendships, but the elected officials people are fighting over are actually friends. You will see them arguing on the floor, then completely switching an off button and walk out together like they are best friends.
So why is the general public so angry, so divided?