—The Last Samurai
The advice given to American Army Captain Nathan Algren (played by Tom Cruise) by one of his young Japanese captors in The Last Samurai may be useful wisdom in the waning hours of our own 120-day “captivity” in Carson City.
By this late date in the session, we all — but freshmen, especially — have way too much to deal with as the prospect of drop-dead deadlines and big-vote decisions weigh heavily.
It makes sense to clear from the mind the clutter that has accumulated as a result of reading your constituents’ many-colored emails and listening to advocates and lobbyists. As Captain Algren came to realize, true freedom and power comes when gut and conscience quiet the constant inner chatter of “too many mind.”
Having been a freshman “citizen legislator” two times in two different decades, I’ll tell you what helped me each time.
Trust in the process. It’s all been done before. Many Nevada lawmakers have been where you are now. They, too, had to make tough choices when it came to deadline day. Life didn’t begin when you came to Carson City, and it won’t end when you leave–regardless of how you end up voting. Find your peace of mind through faith in the lawful processes of our Republic, which are reflected in this elected body.
Trust in the people you’re serving with. I know that can be a hard thing to do in this fractured atmosphere of factions and egos that is politics in the 21st century. Both times I was a freshman, I learned to trust leadership and the senior members who were there long before my arrival. Sure, there may be some people you feel you can trust more than others. Find those few and ask them for end-game advice. You will have too many ongoing battles in your mind if you can’t find someone who you can look up to and trust, even a little.
Trust in yourself. Personal destiny deposited you in this place we call the Nevada Legislature. Whether you are here for one term or return for many, you will remember your service fondly and consider it an honor as time passes. Trust your own sense of “right,” as you see it. Then vote as if you are not coming back, or as if you don’t “need” to be reelected—even if you hope or expect to be. After weighing all the facts and talking with those you trust, cast your final vote(s) as if you are never returning to Carson City. That way, no matter what, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you were true to yourself. And if you do try to gain reelection, you’ll be able to explain your choices to voters in a way that will ring true with conscience and conviction.
Trust the process. Trust a few you find trustworthy. Trust yourself.
Doing all three will get you through the final four days of the 78th Session and avoid having the late-session dilemma of “too many mind.”