This summer Common Cause Georgia has a brand new crop of interns. Their experience with politics ranges from never having voted to having their TV permanently set to C-SPAN. Each of our interns will be blogging throughout the summer about their experiences with CCGA and how the realities of state and local politics differ from what the learned from civics class and School House Rock.
CCGA intern Wade thought he’d signed up for a summer of Woodward and Bernstein-like intrigue when he joined up, and while receiving an envelope of dirt on a politician seems to confirm this his hopes are soon dashed. But just because keeping governments honest is a lot more database entry than Deepthroat espionage doesn’t mean it’s not important.
On my first day at Common Cause, I was typing up a spreadsheet when a woman who I was unfamiliar with walked into the office. She approached me and stuck out a dirty manila envelope.
“Here’s some dirt on a politician.”
I took the envelope. “Thanks.”
She left. I sat for the next few minutes trying to focus on data entry, but all I could think about was this envelope.
What could be inside? Is this what my job is going to be like every day? If this job is like All The President’s Men, am I Robert Redford or Dustin Hoffman?
Was the dirt on the outside of the envelope originally on a Really Important Politician’s person?
When I showed it to an established Common Cause employee, my hopes of intrigue and excitement were dashed. Evidently, people walking in and handing “dirt” to interns is pretty rare. I shouldn’t expect it to happen again. On top of that, the contents of this dirty manila envelope weren’t particularly notable (or at least not particularly relevant to any of our issues).
Instead of intrigue, most of my job has been repetitive, menial tasks like stuffing envelopes or copying websites and information to spreadsheets, which, while important, isn’t particularly engaging. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll experience some more intrigue in the office. If I’m unlucky, then I’ll still get to learn a lot about government ethics in Georgia and even help improve them. Either way, it seems like a good deal to me.
Written by: CCGA Intern, Wade Phenicie