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."
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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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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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I'm Not Voting, And Guess What, That Is OK

To all of the recent political endorsements by celebrities and Facebook posts telling me I should register to vote, I'm not voting.

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I am not the type of person to normally ever write a Facebook post related to politics, yet here I am dedicating a whole article to it. Or rather about voting itself, not my political affiliation. For the most part, I like to keep my political outlooks to myself instead of broadcasting them to all of my friends, family, coworkers, and that handful of people I do not actually know but I accepted their friend request anyway. Instead, I grace this group of people with animal videos because it doesn't cause any friction, the videos are always light-hearted, and there are already so many other people posting about the next election.

But tonight that changed. I saw a post about how people who do not vote should be fined. I do not know why this ignited something in me, but it did. I have no problem ignoring every other person telling me to register to vote or vote a hundred times on my feed, but charging me a fine for exercising my right crossed a line.

Quite frankly, I do not identify as a liberal democrat or conservative republican so I should not be subjected to vote for either. I choose not to vote because I do not support either side of the political spectrum and I do not think any of the candidates are true to what I want in the future of my country. There are some ideas I like from Democrats as well as some ideas I like from Republicans, but because of the political climate in recent years, the political parties are becoming more polarized than ever with their ideas, and instead of seeking a moderate stance, are becoming more extreme. I understand that voting is seen as a civic responsibility that comes with being a U.S. citizen, but I have the right to vote not the obligation to vote, and people should respect that decision.

Can you imagine amending the constitution to include penalties for not voting? Where is the democracy in forcing citizens to the ballots via scare tactics? I just do not want to be forced into voting or supporting something that I do not believe in. I will vote when there is a candidate that earns my vote and that I support instead of voting just to vote.

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