It all started with a simple little quiz. A quiz that I took seriously and answered truthfully. And no, it was not which Disney character my personality was the most like! The quiz I took was from the site, istandwith.com. It is a well-designed survey with questions on a variety of topics, such as gun control, equal pay, global warming and immigration. I encourage everyone to take this quiz, as already over 20,500,000+ people have. Check the site by clicking here, istandwith.com. In past elections, I never gave much thought to the all the issues and was very apathetic in prior elections. I generally voted based on party and followed whatever candidate the Christian right-wing leaders recommended. This little survey opened my eyes. I encourage you to do the same, no matter what political affiliation you may have. It brought me to the awareness that my views and ideals are much more progressive and liberal leaning than I ever believed. I feel if you take the time to take the quiz, you too, will find a passion for politics. Once you finally identify what is truly important to you and learn which candidate aligns with your convictions, that will be your first step to becoming politically active and it will drive your motivation to stay involved.
My results showed that I stood with Bernie Sanders on most topics. Since taking the quiz, I felt it was time to learn more about Bernie and his platform. I started researching him on the internet; reading his viewpoints, scrutinizing his voting record, watching his videos and perusing his website. I have joined the discussion in many numerous Facebook groups such as Bernie Believers and Bernie’s official Facebook page. After thoughtful consideration, I now count myself as a Bernie Believer. But I will be honest, the hardest part of my conversion has been reconciling my Christian beliefs with Bernie’s beliefs on abortion.
I will openly admit, I am a pro-life believer. When I add all things up and look at the character of Bernie Sanders, can I accept our differences? Yes. I can. Many of my Christian friends are probably scratching their heads. I always used the abortion stance as my litmus test in the past for a particular candidate. But this time, I have decided to look at the whole candidate. Bernie is a man of integrity, a man of his word and a man who has consistently put the poor and middle class first. His voting record proves it. You can watch and listen to his speeches in his early career and those spoken more recently and hear a consistent message. For over 40 years! I believe his heart is in the right place and so is his pocketbook. There are many reasons to like Bernie and I won’t get into all of them in this blog article. But, I want to dive into my reconciliation of his pro-choice views and my pro-life stance.
I won’t argue about whether you should be pro-life or pro-choice. I will believe what I believe and you can believe what you want to believe. I respect your decision and I respect Bernie’s decision. I think it ultimately comes down to free will. Sin has been around since the beginning of time. God has given us free will. We have a free will that can chose to sin or not. We live with consequences of our sins. God does not control us, He allows us to make our own choices. I believe a political leader and the government should not control us either. They should allow us to have free will as well, with consequences for our choices. I will always believe we should protect life in the womb but we also need to value that life outside the womb and continue to support it. Society needs to have rules and a sense of order but access to basic rights of housing, healthcare, education, meaningful employment and transportation are very important to support the choice of life over abortion.
I do believe life starts at conception. I have taught my daughter’s that life is precious. I believe every child should be born and there are plenty to adopt the ones that are born. I believe abortion comes at a very high cost. I still hope for the day when abortion is not the choice. But I think we have spent a generation fighting the life vs. choice battle when we could have fought the battle for life after birth. The war for life after birth has been unfairly land-mined by corporate greed, racism, lack of opportunity and poverty. Poverty, at its core, has perpetuated the cycle. Hearts need to be changed to see that life is good. Minds needs to know there is hope for the future. It’s hard to have hope when living paycheck to paycheck and enduring the stresses of poverty.
I get very frustrated by Republicans who have promised to make political changes and then do nothing. Or they cut funding, decry supporting aid to families and put corporations above people. I am tired of being used by Republican candidates with a platform that panders to the Christians but then they act completely unchristian-like while in office. In the past, I held great hope for many Republican candidates but once elected, they abandoned the Christian issues for profits and greed. I honestly don’t know if Roe vs. Wade will ever get overturned in my lifetime. But I tire of political candidates promising that they are for family values and yet they don’t value the lives that are born.
I believe the poverty cycle has to be broken. How does a country do that? It takes investments into people, not corporations. It’s giving families and children good healthy food for brain development and health. It’s providing people access to free healthcare, treating disease and educating about good health choices. It’s treasuring new life and affording parents the opportunity for maternity/paternity leave that they need to give that child a great start. It’s offering free birth control to prevent the second and third pregnancy. It’s securing a job that pays a living wage and enacting new labor laws that benefit workers and make corporations pay their fair share. It’s providing access to free public education all the way through college, giving them a hope and a future. It’s by believing all lives matter and ensuring immigrants are welcomed. It’s by demanding pay equality, race equality and sexual preference equality. It’s a soft place to land, a support net for those that need a helping hand. It’s a young girl knowing that having a baby is not the end of the world. That she will still have a hopeful future for herself and her baby will have a better life. Then, she can feel a great love for her child untainted by resentment, fear and disappointment. Then, maybe, we will see the abortion numbers fall.
I am looking for consistency and authenticity. I can’t do lies anymore! Bernie’s voting record is consistent. Bernie’s message has remained unchanged. I know what I get. I want a visionary. I want a leader. I want someone to speak for the poor, the downcast, the hungry. For social justice. I want someone who continually brings attention to those in poverty and those struggling in the middle class. I want someone who says it is wrong to have such a high incarceration rate in our country. I want someone to champion for immigrants and minorities. I want someone who believes healthcare is a basic human right. I want someone who believes in free higher education. And I want someone who cares about the future of our planet. And ultimately, even if none of his agendas come to fruition due to political deadlock, I pray his passionate message will ignite change in the hearts of Americans. And perhaps those that come after Bernie will be inspired to carry on the fight and continue to do more.
Personally, what I want from a leader is a loud, consistent message inspiring me to get involved. I want to be challenged to put others first. I am prone to selfishness, I am human. I need to hear my leaders say that my involvement is important and my vote counts. I want a political system for We The People. Hearing a message of equality and hope from my pastor in church is not enough. It needs to be shouted in the marketplace. Bernie will be the ultimate marketplace minister for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in America. For social justice. Our next generation will need to fix many problems in our country and they won’t do it with apathetic minds and hearts. I am still looking for hope and change. Obama went only so far as his election and didn’t seize the opportunity he had before him to change America. Bernie knows that this is so much more than getting elected. It is starting a movement, an era. Bernie spoke at Liberty university today and this clip shows his passion for social justice, a common platform we all can agree on. I follow Jesus in my life of faith but Bernie is a flesh and blood man I can respect to follow as the next president of our great country. I challenge you to do the same.