OWEN: Pay Attention, Decide, Listen, Talk, Act

The pandemonium in our world has been troubling for anyone who is paying attention. I’ve been paying attention, and I have been grieved as I have watched our country’s extremity wounds be exposed and turned into gangrenous appendages. As someone who believes in the American experiment and liberty, I am hurting for our nation and people.  As an elected official, I know my words mean something different than they did before taking my oath in the Capitol in January. I have wrestled with and prayed over these words, and I think it is time to share them. For those who don’t want to hear from an elected official, I’m sure they’ll mean next to nothing. For those looking for the thoughts of someone who is on the hook to be both responsible and honest, I hope you’ll listen.

I think our country is at a critical point. I firmly believe our country can be peaceful, just, prosperous, strong and become what we have strived to be since our inception, but I also fully understand we have to be willing to do four things. First, we, as a people have to decide:  Do we want to keep a representative republic? Do we want America’s experiment in liberty to remain where people are free and where the government is subservient to the people? If you don’t want “the rule of law” and, specifically, a representative republic where THE PEOPLE can decide and effect change for the future of our country, then you and I have probably can’t have a civil discussion. I’ll listen to you, but I’m fairly sure you might not listen to me.

Speaking of listening:  We ALL must be willing to listen. The segments of our society who feel they have no voice have to be heard. Those who have had the voice also have to be heard. That means we MUST listen to and try to understand what our fellow citizens believe, feel, understand and desire.   We don’t have to agree, but we all have to listen. The extremes in our current debates are so loud that no one can hear each other. I will tell anyone who is reading this that I am willing to listen and attempt to understand if you’ll afford me the same courtesy.  I’m not going to listen if you won’t.

But I’ll let you talk first, without question.

Conversely, we all need to be able to talk. After I’ve listened to your perceptions, grievances and petitions, I will get my say, respectively, as I attentively continue to listen to you.

As this conversation is happening, we need to come up with a way-ahead for our republic and even our states. As I have said many times, America is an imperfect place, but our purposes are noble. Our founding documents spoke of all being created equal. There were errors in our founding pathway, but we corrected them. We’ve adjusted our path many times as a nation, and we must be willing to continue to correct within the framework of the republic.

As a Born Again Christian, as a conservative, as a white male, and as a Republican, please know I am willing to listen, to talk and to decide with my fellow citizens what we have to do to keep this republic together. The tragedy of George Floyd’s death exposed festering wounds and frustrations by many people in our country. Frustrations are founded and must be addressed.  Count me in as someone who will listen and work for an improved world, nation and state.

But count me out if your agenda aims to change our nation from a representative republic to some model or version of Marxism, socialism, totalitarianism or authoritarianism that will erase our past and take any of our freedoms. My family’s roots go back to the Revolutionary War, and I am in for our country, without question. Our noble purpose remains noble, and it can be improved.

Where these discussions occur and how we implement positive change is our task as rational and free people. The conversations can take place in homes, in city squares, in churches, in legislative bodies and maybe even online. But we must all be willing to have the discussions and to work together for a future that can be bright. “We the people” must mean more now than it ever has.

America is worth saving. I am all in to keep us free, make things right that are wrong and build a future for ourselves and our posterities.

I have decided: I am ready to listen, I am also ready to talk, and I am ready to take action. Please join me.

Charles A. Owen
State Representative, District 30



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