Redefining Who I Am

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Written by: Nicole Libbert

Let me introduce my political self.  I am a Democrat… Or at least I thought I was – up until this presidential election.  I was raised as a Democrat, and I followed blindly.

“I am a strong independent woman.”  “I have every civil right to choose my own path.”  These are the phrases I was raised on.  I am writing this to tell you that today I am choosing my own path, and that I will no longer follow blindly.  Today I sit here and work through the feelings this election has stirred in me.  Now, find myself struggling with being defined under one label.  In order to understand where I am coming from, I must first tell you of my family dynamic.

The women in my family are strong, well spoken, educated, successful, and independent; So much so, that my Grandmother and Great Aunt walked with Indiana NOW (National Organization for Women).  They marched in Chicago fighting for the same rights for women as the white man; to be able to make our own decisions – about our bodies, healthcare, and career paths.  They wanted to see the ultimate glass ceiling broken, where future generations of women had the right to vote.

Because of them, I have always voted.  Ever since I was 18, I’ve always gone to the voting polls.  Most years I voted straight blue ticket.  I had no idea who or what I was voting for.  All I knew was, I had to vote; I had to make sure I exercised my civic duty to vote.  My only goal with my vote?  Vote Democrat because, “Democrat’s kept the government out of our private lives”.

This election has sparked a fire in me and I wanted to know more about the candidates before I supported them.  I have different values than I did at 18, 25, and even 30.  Now, I have two young children that are full of hope and life and I don’t want them to struggle for basic civil rights like others before me did.  I want them looking at how to improve their country, and how to make it more unified.

I have a husband that is a proud union steel worker, and we have been directly affected by free trade laws, right to work laws, and the repercussions of a country that is failing to support the union worker.  I want a country that values its American workers and American-based companies.  I want companies to invest in American businesses, not companies that look for ways out.

I am a full-time working mother.  I had to take a cut in pay to give birth to my children, because I wanted to stay at home with them beyond the fragile age of 6 weeks old.  I want a country that values family maternity and growth that doesn’t punish parents for wanting to start a family.  I want a country that gives both parents the time to bond, heal, and take care of our children, without the fear of losing our jobs or income.

At work, I sell building supplies to contractors and our business is directly affected by our lax immigration laws.  I want a country that makes every hard working, contributing member of society equal with equal rights, equal pay, and equal health care.

You might think, “WOW!!! She knows what she wants.”

Well, here’s my problem.  I did not vote based off these thoughts; I chose to vote based off my core values, and the values that I was raised on.  This was my decision because I did not feel Donald Trump was the best Republican candidate that the GOP could have chosen.  I do not want a leader that will reverse any existing civil rights our parents have worked so hard to fight for.  I do not want a government in my private life – basically, stay out of my bedroom and stay out of my marriage.

Instead, I chose to vote for a candidate that I thought would do the least amount of harm to our country during their term.  I stand by this decision, and it was my own.  Once I had placed my vote, I called my grandmother and I cried; I was so elated to tell her I voted for our first woman candidate.  Now, don’t think that was the sole reason I voted for Hillary.  It was a tough decision, but I stand by it.  I went to bed with hopes she would be my President when I woke up.

Then the election results came out, and Donald Trump is our President-elect.  Because of my upbringing, I immediately feared Trump as our impending President.  I was worried he would reverse everything our country has fought so hard for!  I was worried he would breed hate in a country when we need unity and love.  I had to take a step back and find hope instead of hate.  I want to believe our democratic system chose the right candidate for the job.  Do I believe Trump is fit to be our President? No.  Do I believe Trump is a good business man that will surround himself with successful individuals that will guide him and this country where it needs to go? Yes.  Do I believe Trump has some good ideas that follow with my goals for the country?  Yes!  I am holding on to that belief.  America has spoken, and I respect her decision.

My struggle today is this – how do I define my political position?  How do I move forward?  How do I tell my feminist family that I’m putting aside my fear for a different tomorrow for hope, and a sense that, “it will be okay?” I don’t know, but I do know that I will continue to educate myself on politics; I want to know what is going on in my community.

I see a fire in the new generation that I think our grandparents had in 60’s and 70’s.  The same hunger our ancestors had for their Great America.  The millennials, Generation Y’s and X’s have spoken and it is clear we want change in our country.  I believe we can change existing political affiliations and create new parties.   I would like to see us in an age where we aren’t labeled as just “Republicans” or Democrats.”  I want us to have leaders that want the same as us, I want an age where there is not a right or wrong way to vote, just where, “you did what was best for your family”.  I want an America where we do not judge others solely on how they voted.  We as American’s are SCREAMING from the roof tops for equality, humanity, and love.

I am no longer just labled a Democrat.  Now, I am someone that wants what is best for me, my family, and others around me.  May it be Independent, Libertarian, Republican, or Democrat; whatever political affiliation I will choose to follow, I’m not even sure.  I do know for what, but my future will be to look at what I believe and find the best fit for me!

So, let me now reintroduce myself.  I am a mother, wife, daughter, woman, and citizen of the United States of America.

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