Since I've returned to school I have found myself reawakened politically. I have become more openly vocal about my feelings and viewpoints. This is a big departure for me as I have had a standing rule for years now to not discuss religion (or matters of faith, if you will - but we'll get to that directly...) or politics. Why? Well, in both cases people are pretty darn entrenched in their views and debating changes nothing and just leads to pointless arguing. So I stopped.
I have some great classmates in my Master's program, and we've been having some really good conversations, and it is in these conversations my political viewpoint has really solidified. I have found that education policy is the area that most drives me to get involved in politics. Makes sense, huh?
Anyway, one of my classmates and I were having a discussion, based on my apparently liberal leanings. She mentioned that she used to be really liberal, until she had kids; then she sort of suddenly became more "conservative" (I hope I'm paraphrasing you correctly, M:)). It struck me then that parenthood had swung me the opposite direction and I had become more decidedly "liberal" since becoming a dad.
So, for a rare occasion, I'm going to talk about how I got where I am in my world view in both matters of faith and politics. I grew up in the American South, right in the buckle of the Bible Belt and can't really remember a time growing up where church was not a major part of my life. Additionally, the South was staunchly Democrat until Reagan took office. Conservative, religious Democrats were the road-map I had in forming my view.
Here it is: I'm a Christian. I make no bones about it and am proud of my faith. I have to make a distinction here, though. I am not religious. I don't go to church regularly and I don't broadcast my beliefs; I generally (present circumstance excepted) keep my relationship with God just between him and me. I've never been comfortable as an evangelist and don't feel it my role. I am happy to discuss my beliefs one on one, but will not debate the issue, nor will I belittle an other's beliefs.
My faith has led me to embrace a political view that is based on lifting people up rather than tearing them down. Individually, political affiliation has nothing to do with this and many staunchly conservative folks I know are among the most charitable and giving I have ever met. I don't identify a party affiliation and detest the fact that America has only two parties to "represent" all of us. Neither party really speaks to or for me. So, I lean liberal, socially, economically, and environmental issue-y. I don't oppose taxes as long as they're fair and are used wisely (sue me, I'm a fiscal moderate/conservative). Does any of this really matter to you? Not necessarily, and that is just fine. I just felt like I wanted to make clear who I am and where I stand.
Thanks for reading; I've been bottling it for a while now.