My Political Awakening
Updated: Jun 7, 2018
I haven’t always been a political person. It all happened after I had kids, particularly a special needs child. It started when I first became a stay-at-home mom. I was surprised with how disconnected I felt from society. My husband and I drifted apart due to the fact that our lives were so different. I felt like I didn’t have much to talk about other than how many diapers I had changed or what my kids had done that day. I began to feel irrelevant to him and others. ‘I’m just a stay-at-home mom’ I would say. One day I decided it had to be different. I wanted my relationship back. I wanted to keep my brain sharp. I didn't want to lose myself in the all consuming problems that happen in motherhood or special needs parenting. I decided I would start following the news. I would read books about relevant issues with the sole motivation of bringing something more to the table. What I found was that it was very fulfilling to learn about new things all the time. I ached for more. I gained confidence in myself and started to recover the woman I once was pre-kids. I also found myself forming opinions about issues that I never predicted I would. Healthcare being the biggest one. I found myself debating internally about what party I identified with. I started by figuring out what my guiding principles in my life were. What guides my moral compass? How do I decide what’s wrong and right? I wrote a lot, thought about my kids a lot, I talked to my husband about what we want our kids to walk away with when their grown. I came to realize that the guiding principle that I want to lead my life with are empathy. Taking a walk in someone else’s shoes is the key to having a cohesive family and society. I broke down the top 5 values that I want my kids to embody in order to attain that guiding principle. Integrity, be honest and trustworthy. Inclusiveness, work hard to find common ground with others and understand we are all on different paths. Compassion, understand that people cannot pick the hand they are dealt and can use support. Team oriented, other people’s successes matter. Justice, everyone deserves equal and fair treatment, be willing to stand for what’s right. After solidifying my personal moral compass I began running issues through the model. For example, what would I want if I had a child with autism or cancer or some other health problem that is extraordinarily expensive? I would want a program to make it possible for my child to get the healthcare they need, i.e. expanded Medicaid coverage, insurance for all. DACA is another example. What would I want if my children were noncitizens because I brought them here? I wouldn’t want them to suffer for my sins so I would want them to have a path to citizenship. I work hard learning about all kinds of divisive issues. I find that if I take an empathetic approach I find the answer that is right for me. At this point I realized that my principles align with that of the Democratic party. I quickly figured out that I’m in a minority where I live so looking for ways to find common ground has become part of my daily thought process. I am figuring out how important it is to listen and ask questions rather than fact drop and debate. I’m hopeful that over time I will figure out solid ways for me to bridge the gap between me and people I love when it comes to issues that are important to me. I’m hopeful that starting this blog will help others do the same.