Pro-Life And Passionate: What I Saw At A Kansans-For-Life Breakfast

Pro-Life And Passionate: What I Saw At A Kansans-For-Life Breakfast

"If we don't get life right, we're headed the wrong way as a nation."

A drill team opened the morning, their footsteps echoing through the reverent silence as however many hundred individuals stood for the flag that was being carried upon the stage. I spent last weekend at the Kansas GOP Convention, and this was my first time attending a state convention. I have been to national activism trainings and events, but never had I been in one location where the people grew up on and loved the same prairie sunsets, open plains, and quirky Midwest towns as I did.

Saturday morning held a prayer breakfast hosted by Kansans for Life. As I looked around, I was surprised by the variety of people I saw in the room. In fact, the “party of rich, old, white men” was hardly that. There were countless women, young conservatives and libertarians, and representatives from the Kansas Black Republican Council. Prayers were said, and Representative Willie Dove sang the Lord’s Prayer in a way very few had experienced it. That’s right – he stood before the entire convention and sang the Lord’s Prayer. I can promise you that no matter who or what anyone bowed to, prayed to, or believed in, in that moment, there was not one heart left untouched by the representative’s praise. Several elected officials and other community leaders then stood up to give speeches regarding issues such as abortion, the sanctity of life, and how being pro-life is not limited to the womb.

Roger Marshall, a retired OBGYN, spoke of his time while practicing. He told stories of a young mom hearing her baby’s heartbeat and feeling movement for the first time at 17 weeks, and how he had two patients when that mother walked into a room. Representative Kevin Yoder declared that we must “continue the fight for the souls of thousands of babies that are born in this nation.” Senator Jerry Moran received a resounding cheer when he said, “The problem is that we think the solution for this problem and this nation is at the ballot box, not the alter.”

There was a sense of unity and passion that filled that conference room, as well as a renewed sense of awe and wonder for the concept of life.

It is easy to attend a conference and feel a surge of passion and enthusiasm for a particular topic, event, organization, or movement. While so many who attended the breakfast spoke of their wonder and desire to be involved after the breakfast, that truly means nothing. The true test of the resolve, drive, and courage of the Kansas pro-life movement is entirely dependent on the way these words are carried out in the future.

While policy does matter in the fight for the pro-life movement, it will be important for those involved to recognize that morality cannot be legislated. Senator Moran declared, “We have the opportunity to do something; we’d better not miss it.” The Kansans for Life prayer breakfast was one full of fellowship, inspiration, and great words, but the test has only begun. Will the citizens of Kansas rise and do as they say they will: protect life at all stages and ensure the hope of America for the souls of every baby born? Or will apathy rule and the potential for a pro-life generation be ruined? The next few years will be critical to the pro-life case as we see whether or not the words, hopes, and promises that were declared this past weekend come to fruition.

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The Two-Party System Is The Best System

In America's unqiue political system and climate, the dominance of two parties is the best way to handle it.

People hate the status-quo and the Establishment, inclduding our political system. Across all sides of the political spectrum in the United States, there are calls to dismantle the dominance of the Democrat and Republican Parties in the political arena. In its place, a system filled with multiple parties representing the vast and diverse views of all Americans. The problem? It’ll only make things worse.

Congress rarely gets a meaningful legislation done. Instead the people we elected to represent our values and interest spend their times bickering amongst themselves over who’s more virtuous and why this or that piece of legislation will lead to the downfall of America. If our two-party system were to break up into numerous factions, the fighting and gridlock will only get worse. Right now, some members of congress are willing to put aside their grievances and support a new bill or law because they might be united to support their party, and for better or worse that bill or law will get passed and Congress is at least doing something to address our problems. If congress was divided into four or five parties, similar to British Parliament or the German Bundestag, there will be no unity. Also, members of congress often struggle to find enough votes for a bill even among their own party; imagine how much harder that situation will be if you add in numerous factions with different interests and goals. If we break up to two-party system, there will be no action from Congress. Our government would become even more gridlocked, divided, and inefficient.

In addition, our two-party system helps drown out the more radical parts of the American political arena. On the left you have the radical social justice warrior whose platform is anti-men, anti-white, anti- veterans, and who riot against free speech or any dissenting opinion. On the right you have the Alt-right, who’s main goal is “make America white again” and end “Jewish control of America” by putting down ethnic and racial minorities of all kinds. Unfortunately, there are enough people who subscribe to these beliefs that, if our two-party system ended, would have a decent chance of getting people elected into local offices and even federal ones. With our current system, the Republican and Democrat parties attract numerous moderate voters who would never vote for those radical candidates. are considered “Big tent parties,” in that they attract numerous variants of conservatism and liberalism.

When it comes to the president, adding more parties to the mix will only result in much more divided, hostile elections. Most election results will consist of the popular vote being very fractured, with the most popular candidate usually receiving at most 40% of the popular vote, resulting with large majorities voting against them. If this is the case, then presidential elections will no longer resemble the will of the people. If the electoral college is to remain in place, it will be very, very difficult for someone to get 270 votes, throwing the election to the House of Representatives, and furthering complicating the process and dividing the nation even more.

The only way for a multi-party system to possibly work in the US could be if it were modelled after the way France selects its president: one election where the two candidates with the most votes then go on to a final vote. However, many of the problems of the multi-party system will still arise, such as the potential rise of extremists, and candidates being allowed to ignore many of the issues of many voters due to the parties not encompassing several viewpoints and ideologies.

The two-party system is flawed of course, and it very well might benefit from having a third, competitive, party, however transitioning into a European electoral system would only worsen the inefficacies and divisiveness that plague our current system. Like all other things about this country, the United States has a political system different from that of other developed nations, and as of right now the two-party system is the best way to handle it.

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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El Espinito, Honduras Taught Me The Importance Of Giving Back

The moments I spent in Honduras are ones that I will never forget.

While many spend their first spring break of college lounging on a beach dozens of miles away from home with a martini in hand, I decided to dedicate mine to exploring a foreign country teetering at the edge of the equator, hoping to immerse myself in a culture I have never experienced before. At the crack of dawn on my first day of break, myself along with two dozen college undergrads flew to El Paraíso, a region of Honduras where communities value camaraderie and warm welcomes and weren’t afraid to share them with a group of foreigners; for a week, I discovered a new home away from home, one that I miss today even if it’s been days since I’ve left.

As a group of business majors, we came to Honduras to help El Espinito, the community we were assigned to, by empowering them with knowledge and different perspectives about microfinance and microenterprise, as well as aiding community members with any issues encountered within their local economy. Starting out, the question of how much we could actually help the community lingered in my mind. Alternative spring break service trips tend to have the negative stereotype along the lines of that students who go on these trips come in with saviorist mindsets. In other words, oftentimes students may think that they’re helping to “fix” a community entirely, or contributing more than they really are, two notions which completely contradict the reason for volunteering abroad.

During my time, I strived to make an impact on the community in whatever guidance it needed. However, I also hoped to learn as much as I can from community members as well. Throughout my five days in El Espinito, our team got to know community members, building bonds and relationships through food, dancing and laughter that made both groups of people with vastly different characteristics feel comfortable with each other and feel like a family, breaking down our disparities and learning from each other despite language and cultural barriers.

I do believe that unfortunately, voluntourism can be prevalent if students attend trips like the one I did with little care for long-term growth or, holistic sustainability of communities. The organization I attended the trip with, however, made certain that every volunteer was aware of the holistic model it followed to help El Espinito as much as possible, which calmed my nerves by establishing that the work we were doing was actually valuable. From creating business plans to conducting market and community research, the work we performed was greatly appreciated by the community members and will be useful in any endeavors they decide to pursue.

In the end, one of the main parts of the trip that will be ingrained in my mind is that in any effort to volunteer abroad, it is important to have compassion, understanding, and the goal to genuinely impact the community you’re working with in a sustainable way, eradicating saviorist notions and encouraging the mutual exchange of knowledge. From teaching schoolchildren the importance of saving for the future or presenting possible local business ventures, the moments I spent in Honduras are ones that I will never forget.

Cover Image Credit: Safia Ghafoor

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