Learning politics by experience

“There are big ships and little ships, but the best ships are friendships.”

This quote was recited to us many times throughout the week of Girls State.

More than 320 girls came to Troy University to learn about state government. We were told we could learn about government by reading a civics book, but this week we were to experience it.

When we arrived Sunday, we were told we could start campaigning Monday morning for offices. By lunch there was a sign on every door, campaign stickers on books and a piece of candy in every voter’s mouth. During the week, I ran for governor, but did not win my party’s nomination. However, my political involvement did not stop there.

I was in the Senate, where we discussed a variety of bills. We passed four bills and killed two. Also, because I ran for governor, I was on the Nationalist party platform committee. After trying to make our platform as broad as possible, we decided to focus on education, promoting the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic; a well informed voters circuit; better health care for baby boomers; and unemployment.

The two party nominees were in place and the race was on between the Nationalist and the Federalist candidates for governor. Everyone was tense as they called out the new 2009 Girls State Governor from the Federalist party. By the time the week was over, every girl was tired of voting, listening to speeches and campaigning, even though the process taught us a lot.

As I watched the new governor on stage, I thought about how beautiful our government really is because anyone can run for public office, everyone is allowed to vote and all of us can make a difference in the political arena.

Our founding fathers knew what they were doing when they set up our government run by the people for the people.

I am blessed to be from the great state of Alabama and honored to have had the privilege to attend Alabama Girls State.

Dalta Garrett is a rising senior at Hope Christian School. She was one of several Shelby County females to participate in Girls State this year.