Monday, October 5, 2015

Moms & Politics

My heart has been so heavy lately. Whether it’s a new story about Planned Parenthood,  a story about yet another school shooting, or a family on my social media feed that just lost their child to something—an accident, a disease, something cruel and unfair and I just ache. It's not just the news that makes me feel heavy-hearted, though. It's other people and their response to the news. I don't participate in a lot of social media and I refuse to "fight" with anyone about these issues through a computer screen--I can't think of anything less productive, or less sensible. I won't even fire a shot in your direction if you take the opposing side. 
Since becoming my mom, my relationship with politics is so interesting. On one hand I have never been more firm in my beliefs. I know where I stand and I know why and my heart is in that all the way. On the other hand, my heart has never been softer. I see the other side in a different way. I see the moms out there. And I know they are just like me. Every child that they hear about is another break in their heart. Another, "that could have been mine."  Our hearts are always breaking for those hurting moms—no matter where we stand.

moms in politics

When I heard about the  Umpqua shooting, JaiseAnn was napping in my arms. I silently prayed for those families and those scared students and then I prayed for our world. I prayed for my daughter as I wiped tears away from my eyes and held her a bit tighter. I felt scared, sad, sick, a bit hopeless, and a little lost.

I think it’s pretty safe to assume that when a mom hears about a tragedy like this, she might react similarly. She might not do the exact same things or feel the exact same emotions, but I would bet money that the feelings are pretty close. And I bet if you polled those women, they would all have differing political views that run the political gamut--not all belonging to extreme sides on either end. 

Abortion, gun control, socialized medicine, welfare programs, education, and more—I have very strong opinions on all of these things. Those opinions are based on a number of factors-including my moral beliefs, the concern for the safety and welfare of my family, and the value of every human being. My beliefs are anchored in the things that I value most. I stand on a side because that’s the side I feel best protects those things.

 I know other people that have completely different views about these things. I would not for one second dare assume that the people that have those differing views don’t have moral beliefs or don’t value human life. I wouldn’t dare think for a second that a mom with a differing viewpoint than mine is thinking differently because she cares less about her kids. In fact, I am pretty sure her thoughts and beliefs are also there because that’s what she feels will best protect the people and things most important to her. 

Just like me.

I cry for those moms and their lost children. I pray for them. I think about them often. Many times I go on walks with JaiseAnn and I just think about all of these things while holding back tears and wonder, “What can I do? How can I help this?” I won’t assume that just because you have different beliefs you don’t do the very same thing. I won't assume that just because we might arrive at different kinds of solutions that you love your child any less or are any less worried than I am. 

I think that instead of arguing with each about who cares more or shaming each other about our differences, we should start with our common ground--and we do have common ground. While we’re so busy fighting—people are still dying and we’re treading water while we argue. The divide between us just becomes greater and we become that much further from a real solution. A solution to the fact that we even need to address these issues in the first place.

It's clear that there is plenty of hatred, too many assumptions, and a lot of violence in our world. How are we ever going to make this world better by adding more? No matter who's side "wins," we still have not addressed the bigger issues--the hatred, the cruelty, the blantant disregard for others--we don't value them or their thoughts or opinions. We assume that we understand their values and priorities based on a political viewpoint? How small and silly. That's a world I would prefer not to pass down to my daughter. 

We women can change the world. Whether you’re a mom or whether you’ve got a mom’s heart—we care about our children---and they are ALL OF OUR CHILDREN! Let’s start there. Let’s start the conversation there. Yes the issues need to be discussed and yes something needs to be done, but shouldn’t we start with what we all care most about-our babies? If we did that, I imagine we could really be vulnerable, open our hearts  and talk and relay our fears and our feelings. Mostly I feel like we could finally  listen to each other and, maybe more importantly, hear each other. And maybe, we could see some solutions to these issues and maybe—just maybe- we could change the world.

I invite all comments, but ask that they be kind and respectful. I promise to respect all opinions shared kindly here, but reserve the right to delete and block hateful comments. 

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