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/Empathy, 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.