I don’t really like to get involved in politics. I know I should. I know I need to stand up for what I believe in. My biggest problem is that I can see it from both sides. I, for the most part, can understand where people are coming from and why they would vote one way or another. Honestly, when it comes to politics I have been on both sides of the fence—not to mention a big long stay on top of the fence. I don’t like picking sides in an argument; I just want everyone to get along!
I grew up in a very conservative home. My mother didn’t openly talk a lot about politics but my dad did. He was an avid CNN watcher and Daily Courier reader. He often talked about current events and didn’t hold back on the personal commentary. My dad served on the school board, even serving as president while I was attending public school. I naturally agreed with his opinions and views. The instant I turned 18 I registered to vote, and didn’t even hesitate as I declared that I was a republican.
Yet as an 18 year-old I went off to college. I met people from various walks of life. I lived with a Vampire, Lesbian, a foster kid, Californians, a Mexican, Korean, and a CANADIAN! I had rich roommates, poor roommates, and pretty much everything in between. I served a mission to Montana where everyone was a gun toting member of the NRA. I saw different walks of life and for the most part LOVED THEM ALL! I love the richness of culture in general.
After my mission I decided for sure on a degree in Social Work for I felt that helping others was the Lord’s work. The school I went to had a Behavioral Science degree with an emphasis in Social Work. I loved the hybrid mix of Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology as it pertained to Social Work. It was here though that my conservative mindset started to change. I truly wanted to help everyone! I looked at the republican and the democrat views and decided that I was not a republican because they didn’t want to help anyone. They focused on an ideal world and not reality—in my eyes. I felt like the real work was out there helping PEOPLE—not business. I knew that if Jesus was alive then he would be a democrat.
The very next time I moved, I changed my party affiliation. The shock and scandal for some family members was entertaining to me. They thought that I had gone off of the deep end. My sweet Grandma Anderson told me that her dad had been a democrat, and so it was okay with her. If it was okay with her then I felt like that was good enough! When I met my husband, he teased me about it and said that our votes just cancelled each other out. I explained that I didn’t vote straight ticket but would vote for whomever I thought was the best person for the job.
Then I had kids. It wasn’t the actual fact that I had kids that changed my mind but the fact that I stayed home all day and watched WAY too much day time TV. It happened to be that one day as I was watching the View, John Stossel was on the show that day. He was reporting on a new study that he had done. I don’t really even remember what it was completely about, but I remember that they were looking at who gave more to charity—democrats or republican. Democrats I blurted out to the TV! Of course democrats would give more—we believed in HELPING people. John changed my life that day when he reported that it was republicans that gave more.
It turns out that it is republicans because democrats desire for the government to do the helping. I thought that this was a little extreme but it got me thinking. When I pay my taxes, do I get the feeling that I am helping people? Do I get the same warm feeling that I get when I help my neighbor? Do I think of all the good this money is going to do in the world? Maybe some of you do. I just know that when I am in the moment with a person in need, I feel compassion, understanding, and love. The same as what the Savior felt as he helped people.
Maybe Jesus didn’t give money to big business so they could hire more people, but he surely didn’t give it to the government in hopes that they would go out and feed the 5,000. I think that is where good-honest God loving people can be on opposite ends of the debates. Both want to help people they just have different views of how it should be done. I believe that I think it should be done person to person, heart to heart.
I have been that agent of the government that you all paid for with your taxes. I have helped families that needed help. I have protected children. I have (hopefully) stopped kids from doing drugs or alcohol. I spent my days helping those in the community that didn’t know where to turn. I honestly think those programs are wonderful, and needed. Yet I don’t think I saw the same miracles as when I served at my (okay mostly my parents) cost as a missionary. The difference was in the recipient. When you are acting as an agent of the government, a lot of times people take you for granted. They feel entitled to your help. They also see you as the government that is MAKING them do something.
My parents served an LDS mission in Austria. Austria is a socialized country. They loved the people and the beautiful country that they lived in. The one thing that they had a hard time with was that there wasn’t as many opportunities to serve others. The government takes care of everything. Their neighbor fell and broke her hip. The government fixed it, put her in a care facility, when she returned home they sent someone to clean for her and bring her meals. This sounds wonderful, except that the human feeling of helping someone in need is gone. Also, they can’t afford to take care of everyone. So the Austrian government is selling all of their mountains and roads to foreigners to pay for all of the socialization.
So for this reason I have changed my party affiliation back to republican. Although I don’t love everything about Mitt Romney, I do love that he believes in the founding father’s vision. I love that he is a man of faith. I believe that he can help this country get back on its feet. And by his life, I know that he is a man that believes in helping others.
There you have it folks, my one political post. Now I will go back to the pretend world I live in where everyone gets along!
Your post made me smile because we have followed a similar political path. I'm currently Independent (leaning Republican) but I was registered Democrat when Barry and I got married, causing a few major raised eyebrows on his side of the family. I find plenty to be dissatisfied with on both sides of the fence, but I actually enjoy the view I get from hanging out up there.ReplyDelete
Thanks for a political post that isn't just about "our side" or "their side."
This is such a great perspective. I don't do politics because I get kind of riled up, mainly because I don't understand how people can see certain situations as harmless/helpful. (Not together. It just seems in politics it's one or the other.)ReplyDelete
I love your experience because it has helped me see a little where other people are coming from. I'm conservative--I consider myself independent as I vote for whomever I feel will represent my values the best.
I lived in 3 post-Communist countries for about 6 months each as a missionary. It was a wonderful opportunity to see what certain ways of life will do for a population. It's amazing how allowing the government to provide everything takes away an individual's ability to make a choice. As you said, it also removes our opportunity to bless others. I always think people who expect the government to take care of everyone should go live for at least a year in a country that works like that. (And they should live like the people--not just vacation there.) They will then be better able to make an informed decision.
Tiff, you hit the nail on the head. We are like thinkers, I see. :) Thanks for posting such a well-thought opinion. I loved hearing it from your social worker side, because, like you, I am a fence sitter. I listen always, think always, form my own opinions always. But I'm still not registered as a Republican. Republican leaning? Yes. Thoroughly. Democrat relating? Yes, that too. I've observed the same that you have, but without the tv. ;) Republicans don't seem to want to vote for social care, because it seems to them a no-brainer that it isn't needed, because they themselves tend to give social care on their own. I appreciate and respect that. I live that, too. Still an Independent, but definitely voting Republican for president in November.ReplyDelete
That was wonderful Tiffany, I have never agreed with the democrat side. I had an uncle growing up who was/is a staunch democrat and you know my Dad, that was a major sin. I remember asking my Dad one time if this uncle could still go to heaven even though he was a democrat. Good times.ReplyDelete
Insightful thoughts Tiffany. It reminded me of a BYU devotional address by President Benson in April of 1977, where he explained that taxing a people to then provide government care for the poor is not the same thing as charity:ReplyDelete
"Americans have always been committed to taking care of the poor, aged, and unemployed. We have done this on the basis of Judaic-Christian beliefs and humanitarian principles. It has been fundamental to our way of life that charity must be voluntary if it is to be charity. Compulsory benevolence is not charity. "
I think you hit the nail on the head in describing your parents experience in Australia, they didn't have many opportunities to serve because the government was doing it (and interesting that it really couldn't afford to!) How many blessings does our society miss out on because we expect some program to step in and help instead of loving our neighbor as ourselves?
I'll say one last thing. The main difference between Democrats and Republicans that I see is that the Dems believe in empowering the government to do everything for us, where the Republicans believe in small government and putting more responsibility on the people. Which is why Romney has my vote this year!
Tiffany! I like how you put Californians on there...we are a different breed and culture. Hehehe.ReplyDelete
I enjoy your posts.
I was reminded of our Korean roommate not too long ago and I immediately thought of you!
Hope you are well.
LOVED this... you nailed it on the head. ShannonReplyDelete
Jackie-- you know I was talking about you! I loved getting to know your family and your culture when I lived with you and photographed your wedding. I LOVE the Latin culture!ReplyDelete
I loved this post so much. I even showed Jared. So very true. Thank you for your view!ReplyDelete