The Democrat, Part II: Loved in Spite of it.

I’m answering a question many people have asked me: how can you be a feminist, a Democrat, AND a Mormon?

I do not assume my experiences are universal, nor do I speak for all feminists, Democrats, or Mormons. As my editor-in-chief taught me, “Ima do me; you do you.”

Simplistic explanations of the difference between Democrat and Republican focus on the level of government involvement in everyday life. And while I see bills like the PATRIOT Act as a near-nullification of the Bill of Rights, I also think that mandating better food in public schools is a great idea. (Pizza is a vegetable? Really, Congress?) 

And I know it’s problematic for me to say one kind of involvement is acceptable but another is not.

A government that really tried to help its citizens survive was important to me. I needed student loans and Pell grants to go to college, for example. Friends who, while still in school, married young and had children needed milk and bread and cereal. FDR’s programs and his holistic approach to fixing the economic depression strived to help not only the tradesmen and farmers, but also the artists and writers. 

As I emerged from the fog of adolescent ignorance, I saw sexism and racism, and the only people who I saw fighting it were more politically liberal. That’s not to say that only liberals were fighting sexism and racism, but in my rather limited sphere, my conservative friends clung to traditional gender roles and generational ideas about immigrants.

Leaving an abusive boyfriend empowered me to understand that I didn’t have to be exactly like everyone else I grew up with. Seeing my parents welcome me back after a year of completely self-destructive choices (a little liberal, doncha think?) made me feel a little more secure that if we didn’t agree politically, they would still love me.

And when I finally decided on my career, the more conservative politicians screamed that public schools were a blight and public schoolteachers the problem. I couldn’t align myself with a political party that demonized my passion. 

So here I am. A Democrat daughter of a staunch Republican father and a mother who often leaves the room when dad and I start talking politics. (Though I have a sneaking suspicion that my mom and at least one of my sisters are more moderate Indepedents, which fills me with glee.)

My experiences and choices in life led me here. I’m not always happy with how the Democratic party behaves, and I definitely don’t always vote along party lines. But my desire for an equal society as opposed to a “1%” society tends to direct my conscience. 

Which is why, in 2004 as I faced the presidential ballot of Bush, whose policies I abhorred, and Kerry, who I did not trust, I checked the box labeled “Other” and wrote in my dad.

I think most LDS people, if they were to truly examine the tenets and the history (Republicans HATED Mormons in the 1800s. So glad they got over that! Oh wait…) they would see that only a couple of issues really annoy them about Democrats. 

But that’s for tomorrow’s post…

2 thoughts on “The Democrat, Part II: Loved in Spite of it.

  1. I am LOVING this series! And, not just for brownie, points, but the only reason it says Republican on my voter card is because I failed to change it to Independent before fleeing the country.


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