I’ve only voted in five presidential elections in my life, and often I felt like I was simply trying to choose the lesser of two evils. If I ever threatened to vote independent, my grandpa would try to convince me that I was throwing away my vote. He admitted it wasn’t a fair system, but it was the one we got, so we needed to play the game.
Gradually, I became a single issue voter. If I had to play a game I was sure to lose, then I was going to pick the one thing that I believed to be most important, and vote on that. My one thing was life; I would vote for the candidate that appeared to value life, and I based this off their position on abortion.
For the 5 last elections, I have voted for the “pro-life” candidate. For those keeping score, yes, this means I voted for Trump in 2016, a fact I have avoided sharing publicly since it happened.
Over the last three and a half years though, I’ve been forced to reevaluate my viewpoint on what it means to be “pro-life.” I believe wholeheartedly that unborn humans should be protected, but LIFE is more than babies. Our current administration has time and again shown a complete and utter lack of respect for life. This has looked like dehumanizing people and groups of people through border detention centers with deplorable conditions, supporting capital punishment and pushing to resume federal executions, refusal to listen to medical experts regarding a global pandemic, disgusting treatment of women, lack of basic respect for differently abled individuals, attacking teachers, deploying federal troops and increasing violence in an already fraught community, calling white supremacists “good people” and those protesting about racism “thugs,” responding to the fact that Black people are twice as likely to be killed by law enforcement by saying that white people get killed too, and making racist statements over and over. These are just the things I could think of off the top of my head.
I voted for him because he claimed to be pro-life, but it’s become abundantly clear that he only values some lives, some of the time.
I’m not sharing all this just to rile people up and invite attacks on my ideas, although that might happen. The reason I share this today is because this is a really difficult place I find myself in, and I know I’m not alone. As people who mostly align conservative and can’t find a place where we belong anymore, we have a lot to think about and an important decision to make come November.
I don’t know for sure who I’ll vote for in November. I’m still a single issue voter, but being pro-life means something different to me than it used to. I’ll be praying hard between now and then about the decision.
Thanks to Element5 Digital for sharing their work on Unsplash.