I’m writing this to express why I believe what I believe now and how the 180 I have taken in my life on my political and social views happened. When I was 16 I was a George Bush loving, Rush Limbaugh listening, to the death conservative! Alex P Keaton was my hero and his hippie parents were a joke to me. I had it all figured out poor people don’t want to work to make it in this country and if they would try a little harder and get over the whole slavery issue they could have a great life too. If you were in a bad position in life it’s because you didn’t work hard enough.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when my thoughts began to change, maybe when I had kids and realized they are going to grow up believing what you tell them. The life experience of the parent is going to pass on to the child. I can tell you one experience I had several years ago that cemented my current views. At my work we do community projects every once in awhile. In the past it had been things like planting trees or sorting food at food banks where you are still sheltered from who you are helping. This time though we were working for a charity that supplied furniture for needy families. It was a warehouse of donated furniture that would open it’s doors to needy families so they could pick out what they needed to furnish their living space. The first part was fun we had work orders of items we were loading on a truck, it was like shopping without paying a bill. Then we had to deliver the furniture. A north St Louis apartment building was the destination and I have to admit when we pulled up I was nervous. This was not a place I would normally come to on my own because of my own preconceptions of what I would encounter. But I quickly realized these were people’s homes that they lived in everyday, they raised their children here, sent them off to school, went to work and wondered if they would be able to pay the bills. When I entered the apartment of the donation recipient I was told they were just moving in today. Let me tell you this apartment was trash! The carpets were filthy, the walls were barely painted and there were 3 kids with a mother and grandfather living in a two bedroom apartment.
I asked myself in any world would I ever accept the condition of this apartment as move in ready. Every apartment I leased up to that point had the carpets clean, the walls painted, and the appliances worked!! Right there it showed me that not everyone is starting at the same point in life. This is normal life for these 3 children. They were most likely going to grow up believing that the best they can do is what they were living in right there. We always want to hope our kids do better than us but from what I have read my generation might be the last to actually obtain that. I am a big believer in empathy, I feel that many people have a hard time putting themselves in the shoes of another person. Will some people take advantage of welfare (yes), should thier children go hungry or be denied opportunity because of it. I decided no. We are supposed to be the greatest country in the world. If you stayed at the greatest hotel in the world wouldn’t you expect the best amenities. I would think saying yes our country provides healthcare for all of it’s citizens or we guarantee an education all the way through college to everyone would install a sense of pride in our country that we look after our citizens. That’s why I shake my head in disbelief anytime these “socialist programs” are shouted down with “who’s gonna pay for that”. This same question is never asked as we increase our defense budget year after year. A healthy and educated populace in my opinion makes our country stronger. Our priorities are out of line. The Christian right is strongly on the side of the current administration, yet I have never seen a president with priorities that seem to conflict so much with Christ’s teachings. If we really want to Make America Great again let’s start with helping those that might not view life as being so great on a day to day basis. Call me a libtard, a socialist, a person with unrealistic expectations. I don’t care. I chose to see the good in people until it’s revealed otherwise. Everyone deserves a chance in this life and we need to recognize that chance is very small to some people. I have been very lucky. I was raised in a middle class neighborhood with two parents that were there for me. Happened into a great job without the need for college. Met a great wife who gave me two wonderful kids. This is not the norm, no matter how much it feels like it is to me. I woke up when I realized my life experience is not the same for everyone else. Be thankful for what you have but also try and see what others don’t have, and then try and do something to help that.