Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Met the Governor

One part of my job I just love is making the government real and meaningful to people. In particular I get a thrill watching people who have been treated unfairly, because they are homeless, or were teen moms or are immigrants - or maybe all three - walk into the State House and have that wonder in their eyes.

"I've never been in here" they say. "It's so beautiful."

It's yours, I reply. Your tax dollars pay for this building. That gold dome over us? You paid for that. The people rushing by you? Your tax dollars pay their salaries. This is your building.

After two hours of my silly stories, tales of legislative success and failures, a couple of them start to believe it.

But this time, nearly 15 women, mostly black (African-American, and African and Caribbean immigrants) got to meet our governor. He was walking the hallway with no body guard and nearly 15 women pounced.

I have met several sitting and former governors. They are all white. And you don't go hugging them. You awkwardly shake their hands if offered, tell them what is important to you and they rush off as if you took them away from some very important. More important than you.

These women pounced on the man, because as one of them said he is "one of them". They hugged him, told him they were praying for him and his wife, told him what his governorship meant to them. He graciously lingered and shook every woman's hand as they told him things I would never, ever encourage. I, being very, very white, stood back, talked to the Chief of Staff and took photos. This was a moment I wasn't going to interrupt.


Jodi said...

What a great story and picture!

Flower Child said...

He's hot! I want to hug him!

Alex Elliot said...

That is a great post! What do you do?

Jenn said...

They look so happy!

(The Government must have decided today was okay for viewing blogspot, just not last week...)

scribbit said...

That's quite a fun picture, sounds like a decent sort of guy.

chelle said...

hehe being Canada, I am not used to the governor thing ... well here it is Arnold! Does he walk through the offices? Would he take to being pounced? Strangeness in my head!

How cool that your governor was so cool and wonderful to your group!