In my younger and more vulnerable days, I was most certainly a republican. I was a republican because I grew up in a household where Fox News was always on, and over time, I learned how my family, especially distant family, had strong ties to local republican politics. One of my great uncles once served in Indiana government, and a great aunt was a republican county chairperson for years.
When I got to college, I started to wake up, so to speak, and I realized that I was more liberal than I thought. I saw the party I grew up in ostracizing friends, whether it be for race, sexuality or religious beliefs. I didn’t like that. I supported Obama in both of his races for the White House, and I closely identified with his goals as the President. I especially felt an admiration for Vice President Joe Biden. Biden spoke his mind but stood for everyone in our country.
In the current race, the candidate I most identified with was Bernie Sanders. I say was because over time, I have seen where we disagree on some things. In the beginning, I was all in for Bernie. I bought stickers, a shirt and contemplated going to see him in-person if a rally was close enough. My dad, traditionally very conservative, even supports Bernie. Then, as we really got into this race, I started to realize how independent I am.
How am I so independent? Well, for starters, I’m a strong Christian. I am pro-life, but I’m not just pro-life because I am told to be so by my church. Nor am I just pro-life in the sense most people think. I believe pro-life means we protect lives at all ages — not promoting further violence or advocating for the death penalty. Pro-life isn’t just about a womb, but advocating for better care for all to make the world a place everyone wants to be in.
Regarding abortion, I don’t think it’s right to end a life just because it’s not convenient to have a baby. At the same time, I don’t think it’s my place to tell someone else what they can or cannot do with their body. I choose to hate the sin, not the sinner in this case. I strongly hate the act of aborting an unborn child, but I don’t think God wants to me to not respect or not love someone for having done that.
Granted, I think there needs to be some responsibility on the parents to practice safe sex rather than just abort if they want to. I also think it’s crucial to note that I do support Planned Parenthood. When women – and men – need STD testing or cancer screenings, as well as other medical advice, Planned Parenthood stands strong to serve individuals in need. Many articles will tell you that abortions are less than three percent of their services, and in many locations, they will counsel women into considering other options first. Furthermore, I don’t believe we need to outlaw such a procedure. The first thing that will happen if we say doctors cannot perform the procedure will be a rise in risky, “back-alley” procedures where it’s unsafe for everyone involved.
How else am I independent? I don’t mesh with republicans, or my church for the most part, because I support same-sex marriage. I believe every person should have the right to love the person they love, no matter what. No matter what some people say, we aren’t going to have men marrying dogs or brothers and sisters eloping in Vegas. It won’t be that way. Nor, as I’ve seen too many times on a local television station Facebook forum, will gay people make others gay. I believe each person is a creation from God, and that God makes no mistakes. There is overwhelming evidence that a person is born gay, straight, or transgendered. No, there are no conversions. The largest Christian conversion therapy organizations have shut down and apologized for the damage they did.
Next, and this is a point I have hard time explaining, I am for new reforms to limit the gun violence that cripples our country. I’m not saying we need to get rid of all guns and weapons, but we need to limit the ability for criminals to get weapons. We need to promote good mental health. If someone has a problem related to their mental health, it’s not a good idea just to give someone a weapon. More so, we ought to be open about mental health struggles among all people. I admit that I am not perfect and that, as I saw on Instagram – and I like this phrase a lot – I, yes – me, am mighty and medicated. I have anxiety and some small depression issues. I take daily meds to make me able to function around others and be in control of my life. I am a better person for this. I am a stronger person for this.
Healthcare is a right. I would not currently have insurance if it wasn’t for Obamacare. I have the ability to be covered because at this time, I do not have a full-time job. I left my job to return to college and get a new degree. I’m at the age, and I have the funds, and I’m going back to school to do what I truly know I want to do. I think candidates on both sides of the aisle have good ideas. Perhaps if, as republicans advocate for, we open the markets across state lines, I would have more options. As democrats argue, I am helped by our current healthcare system, but what if I didn’t have to pay anything for this care. That would be nice, but think about how taxes would change. Would we have enough doctors? There is a lot to be read about in Europe and countries where this is the case.
When it comes to the minimum wage, I’m traditionally in favor of not raising the wage. We should do more to promote the ability for those making minimum wage to get an education on their schedule and at an affordable rate without making them take loans. We can help those who want a higher wage to get qualified to get a job that pays better. If we just raise the wage, that will drive all costs up. I remember at my first job. I sold a lot of miniature golf games. When the first Indiana wage increase occurred about six or seven years ago, people were stunned that golf round prices increased. We explained that our company raised prices across the board because if the amount of money paid to employees increased, so did the ways we made the money. It took the ability of managers to make more than regularly, hourly staff away. There was no incentive to advance in that part-time role after a while. There was little change in pay to reward you for more responsibility and more work. This is not a simple issue. Higher wages will make your $1 McDonald’s burger cost a lot more for no more food.
Finally, I think it’s time we take a look at our criminal justice system in our country. I see a positive movement in my hometown where police and law enforcement officials are working hand-in-hand with our community to promote positive behaviors and interactions between all persons, races, religions, etc. This should be the model around the country. We can prevent the violence that results in race and gender wars versus law enforcement. A new freedom can come to all persons when we learn to live together. Unlike some people that follow the current front-runner in the GOP nomination process, yes, we can all come together and improve. It doesn’t work to divide and separate. We have made progress as a country and no one in their right mind will advocate reversing the hard work.
All of this said, I’m an ever-evolving millennial voter. I support common sense spending and not spending what we do not have. I support equal rights. I refuse to support a candidate that spreads hate. I believe in our Constitution. I believe it’s time to enforce our immigration laws (Canada certainly enforces their laws). The only thing I can say with certainty at this point: I will never vote for Donald Trump. A self-centered, tactless businessman with a passion for preying on fear will never earn my support. I know that there are better qualified people on both sides of the political spectrum than him.
*The opinions expressed in this piece solely those of the author and do not reflect the views or beliefs of any employers or institutions.