“Don’t you get discouraged?”

The title of this article is one of the most frequent questions I receive when people find out what I do for a living. It is the same question I received in my previous job. In both cases, it’s easy to think that discouragement will set in.

No doubt, it’s difficult to spend ten years in television news, as I did, and not have some heartbreaking stories to tell. Negative news seems to spread faster and be remembered longer than positive stories, and I’ve told plenty of them. I cried with victims’ families as they experienced the worst day of their lives while the cameras were rolling. Those are the days you go home after work, hug those close to you and tell them you love them.

I think of folks that work in the health care industry who see people that are ill every day. That would be difficult. I think of teachers who work hard to educate their students and see some of their students who do not apply themselves. That would also be trying.

Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle said, “All work, even cotton-spinning, is noble; work alone is noble. …” And while some work is more public, it is not any more valuable for being more readily seen. Even the most favorable job position has some negativity to it and some bad days.

Today, I help tell the stories of those helped by good public policy and those hurt by bad public policy. The latter seems to draw more public attention than the former. As in journalism, bad news sells. No wonder people look at public policy and get discouraged. Governments are spending more, borrowing more, and becoming less accountable.

Seeing a trend away from freedom and more toward coercion is unsettling. Seeing elected officials serving the system rather than “we the people” is also worrisome.

If there were no way to change our circumstances, then we should be discouraged. But there is hope — hope derived not merely from the fact that we have tools at our disposal, but hope from the fact that our work is achieving results. We have seen our state go from one of the least-friendly states on school choice to one of the most friendly.

We have seen the elimination of dues taken by force from at-home caregivers and day care providers. We have seen our people empowered to say “no” to unions, should they wish, and still keep their jobs. We have seen public entities become more transparent with the people’s resources.

We celebrate the victories of liberty in our state and in our nation. And while there are plenty of negative things around us, it’s difficult to get discouraged when we see the positive advances freedom has been making — thanks to people who won’t give up.