Teaching My Kids to Take a Stand

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The flag on our front steps
Politics and current events have always been interests of mine. As a reporter, I've covered campaigns and politicians, but it was the stem cell issue here in Missouri that helped me come off of the sidelines and get involved for my kids' sake.

The father of one of my daughter's classmates was one of the top researchers working in stem cell research here in St. Louis. He and other scientists believed stem cells harvested from undeveloped embryos could provide the cure to hereditary diseases like Alzheimer's, A.L.S., and diabetes.

Like most moms, I wanted my kids to have access to the very best science could offer if they ever came down with a disease that was passed on through their parents' genes.

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An amendment to protect embryonic stem cell research was put to voters. I was for it for so many reasons, not the least of which were the new jobs it could mean for Missouri. We surprised the country when our state, with a conservative religious base, passed that amendment. 

What happened next was discouraging. The issue split the Republican party. And the right wing of the party used stem cell research to call out the conservative Christian base, who were anti-Planned Parenthood and anti-gay. I was already feeling ignored by the Republicans in the 2008 election because John McCain had picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. I didn't know what I was going to do even as I approached the voting booth. But, I decided to use my vote as my voice and vote Democrat. 

Malcolm X said, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." And now I'm hoping to show my kids that if you don't like the way things are, you have to do more than complain. The Republican moms I know may disagree on social issues but we all agree that under Barack Obama, the economy isn't better, it's much worse. We need to keep Republican women, even socially liberal ones, in the fold.

Someone close to me joked that I'm trying to change the Republican party one housewife at a time.

That might not be too far from the truth.

 

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