Election 2012: What Matters to Me {Sarah}

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Do you talk about politics with your girlfriends? I don’t. Maybe it’s because the chaos of actually raising our country’s future citizens – distributing snacks, regulating bedtimes and debating between the splash pad or the playground – makes it hard to finish an adult conversation. Maybe it’s because I’d rather not rock the boat of friendship with a potential disagreement. Or maybe I feel self-conscious that I’m not better informed on the issues and I’d rather say nothing than ask questions and start a dialogue.

Whatever my reasons, when Joy approached me with the idea of doing an election series on the blog this month, I got squirmy. Can’t we just discuss Halloween costumes and the weather and all just get along? 🙂

But then I read her post. She’s right, of course. Women don’t all care about the same issues. There may only be two Presidential candidates on the ballot, but there are way more than two sides to every issue, and if we don’t open the conversation we’re missing an opportunity to hear what is important in the hearts and families of our fellow moms.

If you haven’t already, please read Joy’s post. I’ll repeat the ground rules she set yesterday and then I’ll share some of the issues influencing my decision next month.

  1. We will not endorse–or even mention–a political party or candidate.
  2. We will discuss our personal point of view and how that affects our decisions.
  3. This is not an opportunity for us to bash, belittle or argue why another side doesn’t have it right. We are simply opening up a discussion to present the different perspectives of moms who live in the Valley of the Sun.

Joy’s post answered the questions (1) What do I see as the role of government? and (2) what will be the main issues that I will take into consideration when voting this November?, and I’m going to stick to the same format.

What do I see as the role of government?

Like most of you, I spend my days trying to impart tough, intangible values onto very short and relatively new human beings. There are the basics, like kindness, respect, non-violence and The Golden Rule. And then we get into headier stuff, like self-respect, humility, empathy, inclusiveness, and forgiveness. The lessons begin at home but they don’t end here; I rely on my village – friends, relatives, teachers and the other adults in my childrens’ lives – to model the same or similar values that we establish at home.

Ultimately I dream of a leadership for our country in which my children will see those same characteristics. As their world view broadens beyond the politics of the sandbox, I hope they see examples of men and women in government who display kindness and empathy, problem-solving skills and true diplomacy, humility, grace, and inclusiveness. I hope beyond hope that the world I’m creating for them in the little bubble of our home today will bear some resemblance to the world into which they will walk on their own all too soon. And when it doesn’t, I hope they’ll be part of the solution to change that.

The reality of government is messy, I know. There are problems so big that one election cycle may not make much of a difference. But the people who lead – at every level and on both sides of government – are human beings, and I believe they are capable of great leadership. I believe it’s possible to make legislative decisions using the same principles that we try to instill in our children when they are young: be kind, use your words, help others, cooperate, and treat those around you the way you want to be treated.

What do I see as the role of government? To lead by example, the way we try to do with our children.

What will be the main issues that I will take into consideration when voting this November?

1. Equal rights – We have come a long way, but I don’t believe we’re there yet. I’m looking for progressive reform when it comes to marriage equality and a continued emphasis on equal rights for women and minorities.

2. Separation of church and state – Faith and spirituality are such important parts of our families’ and our children’s human experience. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by people of all different religious backgrounds and belief systems. I believe with all my heart that no one religion is superior to any other, nor any path to God any more true than another. I also believe that our nation was founded on, and is strengthened by, a policy of separation between politics and religion, as well as a mindful inclusiveness of all faiths in public discourse.

3. Global diplomacy{Joy mentioned her work with the military and I was raised by an anti-war pacifist…isn’t it fun to see where our experience comes to play in our politics? 🙂 } I look for leadership in our country that seeks diplomacy first, that prizes peace and over global domination, and that exercises extreme cautiousness in the deployment of our troops.

Phew! I guess that wasn’t so bad. 🙂 Thanks again to Joy for initiating this important series, and we hope you’ll continue to comment with the issues that matter to YOU.  

A note to our amazing readers and commenters: Please help us keep this discussion kind and productive by sticking to the same ground rules we laid out in the beginning of this post. Please avoid endorsing a party or candidate specifically, and please share your personal point of view (rather than generalizing or using “us vs. them”). Thank you!

Photo credit: Flickr creative commons user lwvc

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