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.
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…