I am not liberal, conservative, moderate nor independent. I might be a political mutt, but it’s not really my fault. I grew up with two parents, each having opposite political views, one Republican and one Democrat. This unusual circumstance confused me as a child, but has had a tremendous impact on my personal political views.
I attended a private Baptist school until I was 13, which posed many interesting and sometimes embarrassing situations. When Bill Clinton was elected president, I went to the inauguration where my dad, a loyal liberal, forced me to bring souvenirs to my 4th grade class. One souvenir was an autographed picture of Clinton addressed to “The 4th grade class of Second Baptist School.” My entire class was conservative for no other reason than simply mimicking their parents’ political ideologies.
What 8-year-old can sufficiently understand the complexity of American politics to designate themselves one party or another? Many of my classmates threw the pictures away, reminding me that the president was “a bad man” and a liberal (a word these conservative Christian children considered to be straight from the devil himself.) Needless to say, I cried that day.
Despite my traumatic private school experience, I do not hate conservatives. In fact, I agree with some of their views. For example, I support equal tax breaks despite income and I don’t support big government completely taking on the responsibility of vital issues such as food, shelter or healthcare. Individuals have the tools and freedoms necessary to take care of themselves, whether they do that is not the government’s problem.
I also agree with many liberal ideals such as pro-choice, gay rights, veteran’s rights and equal opportunity; but I am still faced with the question of whether I am a Republican or a Democrat. I have decided I am neither. I believe in voting for the candidate, not the party and that’s okay.
It’s hard to choose a party when there are only two and when you’re stuck in the middle, people don’t take you seriously. I have come to appreciate my upbringing because I was blessed with both sides of the story on every issue. I am no longer torn between parties. I am no longer unidentifiable. I know what I believe and that’s enough for me.