Midterm elections are this November, and here’s what you need to know.
When my eight-year-old came home from school soon after the Parkland shootings, he asked me “who is the bad man that I am supposed to hide from?” After getting more details out of him (and, let’s be honest, me trying not to freak out) it turns out that he was talking about a lockdown drill, something no one from the school told me about and left me unprepared for that particular conversation with my child.
This exchange replays over and over in my mind as I think about the upcoming midterm elections. What issues do I, as a parent, need to be intimately aware of so that I can make informed choices in the voting booth? To get that answer, I turned to my politically savvy mom friends and asked them what topics they were chewing on. Here are a few.
No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall in, you have to admit that arming a teacher with a gun is terrifying. Look around your community and listen closely to what your candidates are saying on the issue of gun control and how it will directly impact the schools that your children attend. Don’t be afraid to call the school and ask questions about lockdown drills and their policy and stance on arming teachers. Make your voice heard on a local level by talking to your school district as well as talking to your local, state, and federal representatives. Then hustle yo self to a voting booth in November.
Doctors will say that on average, a woman needs six to eight weeks to recover from childbirth. Like millions of other women, that wasn’t my experience. At. All. And although my maternity leave, which I am one of the lucky few to have had, was only twelve weeks long, my husband got none. He missed out on critical bonding time as he clocked extra hours to make sure we had everything we needed. This is not fair to families. Moms and dads need adequate paid time to be together, to heal, and to bond. Find the facts about parental leave in your community and then press your representatives on what they plan to do about it. And then go vote!
If you’ve heard the tapes or seen the videos of children being separated from their parents at the border then you’re probably as deeply concerned about the issue of how to handle immigrant kids as any mother is. As I recently learned, there is a lot of misleading and false information floating around the web about what is legal and what is not when it comes to families crossing our borders to seek asylum. Find out the facts before you cement your opinion by voting in November.
I make no bones about it; I want a single-payer health care system for everyone. But then, my family has an extraordinary story when it comes to health issues and so healthcare is a deeply personal matter for me. As parents, we all want our kids to be healthy and to have the best chance at growing up to be strong people. Before voting on healthcare issues in the fall, try talking to families who experience healthcare in a very different way than you do. Get the facts about proposed healthcare policy changes. And. Then. VOTE.
This is probably one of the hottest topic issues I’ve ever heard of in the parenting community and it is a critical one. Should vaccines be mandatory? States are asking this question and parents are in an uproar over it. Whatever your personal feelings on vaccinations, make sure you fact check your sources and that you know the pros and cons of vaccinations from their safety to their effectiveness before you cast your vote.
I had no idea what a GMO was until my kid’s pediatrician mentioned it to me. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. It turns out that some GMO’s can make people really sick. Lawmakers, food safety advocates, farmers, and parents are in a heated debate over the alleged safety of GMO’s, which is why passing laws around clear GMO labeling means so much to a lot of people. If you don’t know what is in a food then how do you know if it is safe? Ask questions, and find the facts on GMO label policy and laws in your community and vote in the midterm elections in November.
I know, I know, this is a TON to think about, but as parents, it is our job to make this world a much better and safer place for our children to grow up in. And we can all do that by making sure we use our voices in our communities to do what we think is right for our kids. Even if we don’t all agree on all points, we can at least create a robust public dialog and show our children that their welfare and happiness matters.