Finally this day has come. You all know what I mean (regardless of political preference).
At times like this, it’s good to ponder on the evolution of one’s political views. Why do you believe the things you do? Why do you think the things you think or support the candidates or positions you support? Are you just doing what you’ve always done, following your parents, friends, or spouse, or really trying to do what matters to you? Or do you just not care one way or the other?
How do we chose?
I think a lot of times we fall into habit. We align with a political party and vote straight down the ticket (although in Washington that can be a challenge since sometimes the choices are two of the same party, ha!). But is this right? Is this what we should be doing? It can also be hard to trust candidates, their histories, and their promises. We have to use our best judgement and hope for the best.
Historically, I have been pretty a-political. I would rather keep out of the fray than be passionate on one side or the other. I remember someone in high school telling me that if you didn’t vote democrat when you were young, you had no heart—and if you didn’t vote Republican when you were old, you had no brain. I don’t know. Times change. People change. Parties change.
Having a mental health problem, though, as well as being in leadership roles in the Church, has influenced my political stance. Now I am more aware of problems within our current system in dealing with mental health issues. There are so many gaps, so many holes, so many people being put in jail rather than getting help. Rehabilitation is possible in many cases, but the time, resources, and access to help are hard to come by. Mental health can feed into so many other societal problems, and as they mix together, the solution becomes muddier.
Female and Mormon
Being a woman in the Church also has affected my views. I see the problems with “old boys’ clubs.” I have been in ward councils where my voice was heard but not really listened to or understood—where I was acknowledged but not properly taken seriously because I was a woman or young. I have seen how the Relief Society tries to hold up the load when the priesthood quorums falter in their responsibilities or stewardship for whatever reason.
And being a woman, period, who has had mental health as well as reproductive issues has led me to certain viewpoints. Miscarriage and endometriosis as well as knowing others who have gone through life threatening pregnancies or had a child as a result of abuse or rape…. these are things that politicians (especially male) talk about so flippantly and without having sustained the emotional and physical pain and trauma that they involve.
There really can’t be easy, cut and dry solutions to these most intricate and delicate societal and cultural problems. They require love, patience, and a case by case analysis in so many instances. People and their challenges are not things, not figures to be moved around on a spreadsheets and made to balance out on a budget. We were talking to our friend who has worked in the government/public sector, and he made the point that the government simply shouldn’t or couldn’t be run as a business. There are so many factors and elements and responsibilities—so many people and problems to deal with. It’s not so simple as a business that has a product to sell and a goal to be profitable.
I hope whoever becomes president realizes that. There is so much at stake.