Notaries for 2 Big USA Problems
Not wanting to keep you in suspense, first let me state the two big problems. The first is a lack of understanding and appreciation for folks who are, for whatever reason; different. The second problem is, as perceived by many; a distrust of our government, at virtually all levels. The classic joke is “We are from the Govt. and we are here to help you”. That statement alone will make many clam up and, if possible; avoid any further interaction.
Over the years I have notarized the spectrum of human existence. They come in all shapes and sizes. They come in many different colors and varied backgrounds. They have a variety of religions and various personal preferences as to how they lead their lives. Perhaps I have missed some characterizations, if so; consider them included in those who I provide notary services. My state laws (New York) require only two things: they have proper ID, and can communicate with me in the only language I am fluent: English; to understand and accept the notary oath.
With that said, my proposal is quite simple. We, as representatives of the “Government” seek out and provide free services, on an occasional but regular basis; targeting those who are as different as possible from how we perceive ourselves. If your skin is green, and you have two sets of genitalia, (both male and female); seek out a facility that caters to blue skinned eunuchs. Yes, that did “stretch the point”, but that was to illustrate the concept.
Identify yourself as being, (in my case) a commissioned officer representing the State Dept. of the State of New York. Sounds pompous? Perhaps, but the affiliation to local government must be clearly understood by those you will serve. This is not “rush time”. There is a good reason most of us have two ears and one mouth. We are supposed to use them in that ratio. Take the time to listen and learn a bit about the people, their beliefs and values. Though they may look, speak, and differ with you on many things; you will discover that you share basically the same values and aspirations.
Perhaps you will receive a chilly reception, fraught with suspicion and doubt. That’s great; it is the essence of why you are there; to turn those feelings around. Chances are you too will have some trepidation about being in such a “strange” environment. Strange perhaps, but I doubt that it will be hostile. You are offering both your personal time and a service, both at no charge. It’s an old axiom that it is the teacher who learns more from the students than teaches to the students. In a similar manner you will grow, intellectually and emotionally.
As notaries we have much to offer. We know “the system”, and are able to assist those who do not. Not “playing lawyer” of course, but nobody will be angry with you for explaining that driver licenses are obtained from the motor vehicle department, and birth certificates from, in my case; the department of vital records.
Did you ever play with a “bar magnet” when you were a kid? It has a North and a South end. If you have two of them you quickly learn that the two poles that are similar repel each other. And the reverse is also true. The North end attracts the South end. It’s the same with people if you just give “them” and “yourself” a chance.