Perspective: Families divided by politics like never before

I always appreciate the advice and ideas I get from my constituents. They are usually better than my own. This week someone advised me that as legislators we should get along, be less political, and even be more bipartisan to get matters through that should not be political. Ideally, this would be the case, but unfortunately, times have changed, and the entire country has become politicized. Take our families for instance. When I first started practicing law, most family disputes were over inheritance and occasionally religion. During the last few years, they have become so political, either you are for Trump or you hate Trump and, in the eyes of each other, you are totally immoral if you did not agree or side with them. I saw this divide families as I have never seen families divided. Some found it easier to avoid family gatherings than have family disputes.

I thought that the Trump divide was about as bad as it could get, but now COVID has divided families even further. I am not talking about as a health issue, but a political issue. So many families are torn apart about whether to get a vaccine or not, or whether to wear a mask or not wear a mask. Many even refuse to show up if other people don't wear a mask or refuse to let their kids participate in sports if they require a mask. When we in our own families and with coworkers cannot agree to resolve these differences in a peaceful manner but continue to make them a political matter, why would we realistically expect our legislature to be any different? If people act this way, they will vote for people who best align with their views. In many ways, the politicization of everything at the legislature reflects the same issues within society as a whole.

When we make all of these issues political, it is hard to resolve problems. When you try to find common ground or work with the other side on any important issue, you are accused of not being a "true" Republican or a "true" Democrat. However, despite the challenges, there are a large number of legislators who are trying to work together for the common good of the state.

On a brighter note, I, along with Rep. Dave Griffith, spent an hour at Pioneer Trail Elementary School with approximately 100 third-grade students. I was happy to see that they had great questions for us, giving Dave and I both encouragement for our future. Most importantly, they all stayed awake. Before I started speaking with the children, I told them that I had been through long presentations before and they may put you to sleep. I told them that they were welcome to fall asleep, but if they snored it would be on the PA system.

I visited St. Margaret's Fall Gun Shoot in Osage Bend. For those of you who have not been to one, you should go to one. There are not many of those left. Years ago, there was a shoot every Sunday in one community or another, but now they are few and far between. While the winner still gets a turkey, they now give you a frozen turkey as opposed to a live one. It is another local activity that brings our community and surrounding communities together.

The power of volunteers was again highlighted this week by those who contributed their time, talent and treasure to allow Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri to acquire and refurbish the old La Sallette Seminary, which has changed hands several times in the over years, but is now owned by the Catholic Church again. This was made possible by many hours of volunteer work and contributions from many caring people. No one knows when their life might turn and they may need assistance from others, and it is places like the Catholic Charities and other organizations in this town that provide those services. These are services that we need in society and government cannot provide even though sometimes we try to.

Another great organization, the Pregnancy Help Center, is having its annual dinner this week. This organization is opposed to abortion but does more than just speak against abortion. It educates people and more importantly, enlightens them as to the process they are going through and alternatives. A lot of people who have unplanned pregnancy really need a helping hand and the Pregnancy Help Center helps to fill that role. As a pro-life individual, I believe that it is important to do more than simply oppose abortion. We need organizations like the Pregnancy Help Center who help pregnant women in tough situations to find alternatives to abortion, saving lives in the process.

As always, your input is vital to my ability to represent you effectively. Please call and email with your questions, thoughts and concerns.

State Rep. Rudy Veit, R-Jefferson City, represents Missouri's 59th District and shares his perspective on statehouse issues twice a month.