I haven't blogged in a bit, mainly because this post (which I obviously really needed to write, for myself) is kind of angry and kind of hostile - and I wasn't sure I wanted to go there on a public forum. That being said, I find that, after writing it, I feel a LOT better about everything. Back to cheery parenting posts tomorrow. Maybe even later on this afternoon.
It's more than just politics. It's also about religious evolution and emotional evolution and the way life changes and you grow. When I was eighteen, I was a volunteer on Bill Clinton's campaign, a card carrying member of the National Abortion Rights Activist League and a self described witch. When I was twenty eight, I miscarried twins. That, more than anything, changed my mind on abortion. I had three children between the time I was twenty nine and thirty six. And they were Jewish kids. Did I convert to Judaism because of the kids? Maybe. Did I change my mind on abortion because of the kids? Absolutely.
Somewhere along the line, I realized that maybe those pro-life people weren't wrong. They knew that the pregnancy that resulted in miscarriages at ten and eleven weeks was more than just a vague collection of cells. Maybe those pro-life people might have a point. After losing my babies, I couldn't accept that abortion was just another choice. Those were babies. They were my babies. When they died, it was a loss that I continue to grieve. If I had chosen to end that pregnancy, how could I pretend that it wasn't ending a life? Abortion isn't nothing. Should it be safe and legal? Probably - because inevitably, people are going to get pregnant and not be able to carry the baby to term. But should it be considered just another choice? Is it nothing? I don't think so. I don't have all the answers. But I do know that it's a lot more complicated than I had thought. I know that because I'm a woman. I know that because I've had those pregnancies. I resent the hell out of being told that I need to deny what I know as a woman because I'm a woman, i.e. I need to vote Democrat to preserve abortion rights.
Somewhere along the line, I realized that organized religion was more than just suppression of independent thought, that it was about a community and a people and a way to explain the universe. Somewhere along the line, I started really liking having religion in my life. I liked having religion in my kids' lives. Not just having God, but having religion. Rules, tradition, guidelines that were shared by a community. Being a witch seemed... insufficient to me. I wanted Shabbat dinner. I wanted Passover Seders and a religious tradition that would teach them that they have a unique and personal relationship with the Divine, and also that they have responsibilities to make the world a better place because of it. This means that Saturdays - I'm going to be unavailable. It's Shabbat for me. I don't ask you to go to synagogue with me, but please understand that this is important to me. It's important for my kids.
Somewhere along that line, I started voting Republican. It might have happened when I met Marc - because prior to that, everyone I knew just voted Democratic without thinking. Everyone who was good and right was obviously a liberal. But Marc wasn't evil, he was the smartest man I'd ever met. If he saw some good in opposing viewpoints, then perhaps it was worth a look. I don't ask you to vote the same way that I do. I just ask that you stop demanding that only good and rational people vote your way.
And somewhere along the line, I realized that the world isn't black and white. It's not good versus evil most of the time, it's just people doing the best they can with the circumstances we have. And people don't always rise to the occasion, sometimes terrible things happen, and people aren't strong enough to handle it. You don't always get back what you put out, and you can't always make things better by willing it to be so. Life is hard, sometimes. Life is complicated, most of the time. But if you can find people you love, people who respect your choices and welcome your input, if you can find a spiritual home where you feel valued and satisfied, then you're doing okay. I don't think anyone has to agree with me, and I don't think that if you are a witch or Christian or pro-choice or a lifelong Democrat, I don't think I need to convince you to see it my way. I accept that everyone is different. I love that everyone is different. I think that these things are too personal, too private to try and convince others to feel the same way.
I just know that I've made my choices. They aren't always the choices I'd have thought that I'd be making, but they are the choices that have led me to here. The lessons I've learned, they might not be your lessons. But that doesn't make them any less valid.
Here's hoping for a quick resolution to the election and an end to the negative ads and misery on facebook and everywhere else on-line. And thank goodness for tonight, our pre-election taco party, and for a fun night tomorrow night watching the returns come in.