September 8, 2017

Midwest Nice AKA USA Nice

By Jacob Froehlich, PhD

Growing up in the Midwest, I was often warned about “the Coasts.” I was told by many a Midwesterner that people in these two mysterious lands were not as nice as those living back at home, that they were often rude and harsh. In fact, I remember when my brother and I traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in preparation for President Barack Obama’s first Inauguration, we had prepared ourselves to face what could be potentially be as warm a welcoming as one seen on “Game of Thrones” from House Lannister.

Those back home couldn’t have been more wrong. From Philadelphia to the District of Columbia, we encountered countless kind, fun, and engaging people.

That continues to this day. As I have spent the last three days in my office here at the AVMA Governmental Relations Division, I cannot adequately describe the enthusiasm and excitement that greets me every day via my email inbox. From legislative staff on Capitol Hill to veterinarians working in the ExecutExtern Name Plaqueive Branch to administrators working with non-governmental organizations, every email I have sent, requesting a meeting or a tour, has been met with a degree of “my door’s always open” that anyone from back home would call “Midwest Nice” – and then some. It’s not like I’m POTUS calling upon these individuals. I am a veterinary student of whom they’ve never heard, whom they’ve never met. I am humbled by this kindness to the nth degree.

I propose that we dispense with the term “Midwest Nice” and replace it with “USA Nice.” In the ever hyperpartisan atmosphere of DC – indeed, the nation – it is often easy to forget that we are all people, humans, Americans working to take care of ourselves, our families, and our futures. It’s easy to forget that “those government bureaucrats” of whom you hear on CNN and Fox News are people just like you and me. Most are passionate about their careers and serve their country and its citizens with distinction every single day.

I cannot wait to meet with the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation’s staff on Capitol Hill, veterinarians in the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS-USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS-USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS-USDA), and Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM-FDA), the President and Director of Federal Legislation for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), among many other people who have dedicated their professional lives to science, medicine, animals, and America.

Stay tuned! This adventure has just started.

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