This election has really forced me to think through what I believe and I can see why people sometimes just make up their minds on an issue and never change them! (I am not suggesting this but can identify).
I was a born and raised Republican (I know that some of you are judging me right now :) but as I age and experience life and dialogue with friends, I have developed a bit of a problem. I don't fit into my family's party anymore (although I feel a fondness for John McCain). I don't really feel at home with the democratic party either (although I really like Barack). I don't come close to agreeing with either party on a majority of topics.
As a teenager, I developed the belief that the world is made up of black and white issues. My beliefs were of course the right ones and the Christian ones - but the further I get through this life, the more I see that issues tend to be anything but clear cut. I am going to name off a few things that I am dealing with. Please keep in mind that I am not trying to change anyone's mind, I am not an accomplished writer (or an English major), I am in no way a brilliant theologian and was an A and B student with occasional C's... I am just on a personal journey that I wanted to share with my few readers. Feel free to comment after this - just promise me that you won't be mean, rude or condescending. I don't think that I will take it well. :)
1) I am anti-abortion. I believe that a life is made when the sperm makes it through the outer wall of the egg. I miscarried a baby that was 7 weeks old and felt the loss of my child very deeply. BUT, I often get the sense that people that are pro-life are so focused on being against the abortion that they can't see beyond the issue to why a woman would have an abortion in the first place. It was easy for me to be Pro-Life living in middle class America with great parents and support in my life.
Jesse and I qualified as low income for a good part of our marriage. But after traveling to Thailand and Cambodia a couple years ago and experiencing real, extreme poverty - I caught a glimpse of the desperation that women feel. I couldn't imagine being that mom with mouths she can't feed and feeling the burden of being pregnant with another child that she can't feed. I can't imagine not being able to feed Liam and Finn (whom I would do ANYTHING for) and knowing that I would have another child that I can't provide for. It would torment me. Seeing what these kids deal with (starvation and malnutrition, rape, abuse, incest, enslaved, sold, sick, orphaned) made me question my stance on many issues. While there are some "success stories", very few of these kids make it out. Millions die a horrific death.
This happens here in the US too. How can I tell a woman that she must have her baby when I am not willing to adopt the child that she can't care for or take in a foster child? I just can't reconcile it.
2) My dad owns a logging company and I believe it is important to recycle. People have many strong opinions about my dad. (He was actually on the unibomber's list of people to kill - not joking). People believe that logging destroys the environment and kills animals. Many people that call themselves "environmentalists" haven't spent an 8th the amount of time my grandfather, dad and brother have spent in the woods. Most haven't actually been on a logging site and have no idea how or why they do what they do out there. Loggers are easy to demonize and thanks to shows like "Ax Men", often portrayed as idiots (ok - some of them are idiots). My grandfather, father and brother all have their college degrees and are smart, well educated men. I know how respectful my father is of the trees that he harvests and then replants. I know that he follows laws and government regulations. My brother was a forest management major and knows WAY more about sustainable forestry than most. Logging helps prevent forest fires by weeding out the dead and dry trees. It helps keep forests disease free. They obviously want to be respectful of the land and trees so that they have jobs in the future.
But, I also believe in Reducing, Reusing and Recycling and think going green is for the most part a great thing. I think it's important to reduce waste. I have reusable shopping bags and while I rarely remember to bring them, I do occasionally use them. I believe in respecting the earth given to us. I think global warming is real (I didn't always :) and I think that we need to reduce our dependency on oil. So how do I vote on this one?
3) I am against the death penalty. Not very republican of me but I don't understand how you can be Pro-Life and Pro-Death Penalty. It doesn't seem very consistent. If someone murdered someone I loved, I would like to think that I would still be against the death penalty. I haven't been there and pray that I won't be. I don't think having the murderer killed would make me feel any better. I think that they should be justice but Moses was a murderer, David was a murderer...
4) I think that we need to have some sort of health care available to everyone. Jesse and I were VERY poor and insurance was an impossible payment for us. He had an accident and was hospitalized at a disgusting (don't get me started) hospital in LA because he didn't have insurance. They wouldn't change his sheets, they didn't clean him, there was no pillow and he had to beg for pain relief. We ended up with $35,000 in bills. We both had jobs and worked hard but didn't make enough money or have benefits. There is something wrong with that picture. It was easy for me to say that the country shouldn't have to provide medical benefits to everyone when we were insured but I never thought that we would be on that list.
5) I think that we need a better system for immigrants to be able to come and live in our country. We have something great here and I don't think that we should force people to crawl through tunnels or be packed into containers for weeks to enjoy what we have here. I can't say that I wouldn't do the same thing to get here. I know that there are many valid reasons why people want to keep the benefits of our country all "in house" but I don't think it's right.
So... I am sorry if I have pissed you off. It is not my intention. I am just sharing where I am in my journey. I have more opinions but feel like this is already way too long! I would love to hear feedback but I will not take it well if you are a meany. :) Thanks for reading!