The older my daughter gets, the more Republican I become. Goodness that’s a scary thought. Five years ago I was about as liberal as they come and swore that had I been around in the sixties Gloria Steinem would have been my best friend. Then I had a baby and that all changed. The thought of burning my bra in protest and marching on Washington didn’t seem as appealing compared to snuggling with my newborn in the quiet comfort of my home with Fox News on in the background. Just typing that sentence I realize how drastically I’ve changed and I wonder what the college aged hippie version of myself would think of me now. Pardon the phrase but I used to be full of piss and vinegar and would fight for a cause without a moment’s hesitation. From Women’s Rights to Feed the Children to the Save the Spotted Owl fund, I did it all. Now some days the only cause worth fighting for is getting my five year old to put on pants before she leaves the house. Times they are a changin’.
I have been around politics for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a family of local politicians and one of my earliest memories is of my uncle carrying me around at a campaign fish fry literally shaking hands and kissing babies. Back in those days you had to run as a Democrat to win county wide but everyone knew you that once you got in that voting booth you were voting straight Republican on a state and national level. I used to sit around my grandmother’s kitchen table listening to my family members talk for hours on end about local politics and it always seemed to be election year even when you had another three years in office. The women got just as involved, if not more so, than the men did and I remember sitting there soaking it all in, watching their faces light up as they talked alliances and nitpicked the ins and outs of the good ole boy network. I loved every second of it and couldn’t wait until the day I would be sitting around that table talking about my own campaign.
As the daughter of a judge, I grew up in the courthouse and used to spend my summers sitting in the jury box listening to my dad decide cases. I knew every local politician by name, how long he had been in office and what the scandal was surrounding his campaign because in small town politics, there is always a scandal. I went to our state capitol numerous times as a child and to this day walking up those big white stone steps gives me a thrill that I can’t explain. During my junior year of high school I went to Jackson for a week as a page for one of our Representatives and I swore to myself that no matter what it took, I would be back. I was going to go to law school, run for office and be a Senator by the time I was 35. All on the Democratic ticket of course. Now I don’t know what party I align with. I can’t believe I just wrote those words but there are times when I agree with both parties and times when I’m disgusted with both. The liberal inside of me is chanting to occupy Wall Street but the Republican in me that pays taxes and sends my daughter to private school demands otherwise. I just don’t know anymore.
In Tuesday’s election, the State of Mississippi was asked to vote on whether “personhood” begins at conception. As controversy began to swirl around Amendment 26, I made a point to educate myself on what it would mean for women and how it would affect our lives and our choices if it passed. What scared me the most was not the amendment itself but how much confusion surrounded it. People were relying on secondhand information at best and passing it along on their Facebook pages as fact. As women, as mothers, as voters, it is our job to educate ourselves and then make an informed decision based on the truth instead of Facebook gospel. I was beginning to wonder if the little firecracker of a politico inside of me had burnt out and to be honest, it almost had. Almost but not quite. It took a poorly worded initiative to spur me to get back involved politics and educate myself about the world around me. It’s not about party lines for me, it’s about how the vote I make today affects my daughter tomorrow.
Being raised in the “Bible-Belt” most of us are instilled with a set of conservative values and beliefs at a very young age. I was raised by two loving, Christian parents who are about as right-wing conservative as they come. Being a Christian myself, I took their morals and values as my morals and values. Then I went to college and was exposed to a world where it was okay to be gay and people quoted Ghandi and The Dalhi Lama like they had been sitting in their living room five minutes before. I believe in God and I believe in His word but I also believe that God gave me common sense. I began to question Republican views and align myself with the Democratic party but the older Prinny gets, the more the Republican line of thinking appeals to me again. But then as I stood in a crowded room of politicians on election night, some winners, some losers, I realized it’s not the party that matters but the character of the man or woman running behind it. Maybe it’s idealistic but in a perfect world I would hope that we would vote for the person and not the party. That’s a cause worth believing in. That’s a cause worth fighting for.0