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Nobody needs to hear this story but I felt it might help me to share the perspective behind my transition from Pro-Life to Pro-Choice. You may find my experience enlightening and the reasons why influential when discussing this topic when you are chatting with friends.
1) I Stopped Listening to Others Tell Me What to Believe and let Myself just Retain Information
There are a couple of big things that happened more coincidentally to me than intentionally. As I was going through college, I listened a lot to political commentators on the right like Ben Shapiro and Stephen Crowder. As someone with ADHD, these talk shows did less to open my world view and if my real goal was to listen to the news, I could have listened to about half a dozen other podcasts that would talk about the news.
But unfortunately, I had convinced myself that the topics I was listening to on conservative talk show radio were “research.” But looking back, this was more of a way to confirm my already existing beliefs in the context of new information rather than actually learning something new.
I also stopped making or consuming Facebook or Social Media politics in general. If you are on Twitter or Facebook and discussing or reading politics, it’s entirely possible to stop. I wrote a blog article recently about technology addiction and if you are an active daily consumer of political social media content, I encourage you to give those a read.
After I stopped listening and consuming the political junk that jams up our feeds, I found myself just more often curious rather than “focused” on learning about politics. I think this was the first and most important step towards letting my political beliefs not be influenced by what is easily categorized as propaganda.
2) I stopped Searching for a Morally Right Answer and Started Searching for an Answer that I knew Made Sense for Everyone, Regardless of Politics.
During the pandemic, I stopped caring less about politics and also started a spiritual journey that cumulated in me leaving my religion. Though this is not something I encourage others to do because it can be quite a big drain by resetting your social community, it was a pivotal part of my political mindset shifting. Why?
Because Morality is a result of how you were raised and environmental factors. Chances are, if you are raised in a region with most Christians, you will turn out Christian. Once I realized that, I also realized that collective morality changes over time, and the important things we can agree on today like legalized same-sex marriage and allowing women to vote were once heavily debated moral topics.
In fact, most conservatives should rejoice at the idea of keeping religion out of American politics but ironically they usually don’t. Instead, they insist on using morality as a framework for government. When I realized this relationship, I realized that using subjective morality is no way to create objective laws for everyone to follow.
3) I gave up on tying my Pro-Life beliefs to what I thought was feasible and tied them to what I believed, period.
I don’t know where to identify my political beliefs because the American political spectrum is so broken and separated from how I understand the spectrum to form. But I decided I ought to make a political value framework that could be used regardless of my moral upbringing. I decided my values for this framework were:
- the job of the government is not to break your right to life,
- help establish your right to a piece of property, and
- establish a system base layer of protections for those down on their luck.
With these values in mind, I felt it appropriate to expose myself to the political conversation again. This led me to the 4th thing that changed my political perspective.
4) I listened to People whose Opinions I Valued more than Political Talk Show Hosts.
I noticed after this whole part of building values for a government that instead of listening to views that confirmed my existing worldview, I should listen to those with radically different opinions than my own. For example, as the roe v Wade decision was leaked, I spent a lot of time listening and learning why it was so important to my wife. To be honest, despite our talking about the subject dozens of times before, I had never really listened and tried to empathize with her about how she felt about the issue.
As I listened to her truly for the first time, I learned a lot of things I had never realized before. Like what abortion laws looked like in my own state and what it might feel like to be in a woman’s shoes who are told by politicians what choices they have when an unexpected pregnancy happens. In short, I immediately felt uncomfortable.
Historically, I would also cover that discomfort with outrage and insist that my political upbringing was correct. But instead, after listening I also reviewed and revisited a lot of core beliefs about life and what I was willing to die on a hill for. After all, it’s important to me that I and my wife are on the same team. That didn’t mean historically that we voted the same but it would slowly reach that point.
5) I Connected Pro-Choice to My Own Health Issues.
As I examined my wife’s perspective on the Pro-Choice VS Pro-Life argument, I found myself connecting it to my own health issues. Without getting too deep into it, I have had lifelong health issues that in some religions, the treatments for are forbidden. Back in 2019, I had a lifesaving procedure that, if I was born into the wrong religion, would have been illegal.
In my family, this procedure was a miracle, but to others, it may have been considered immoral. But at the end of the day, I got to have more years extended to my life. Yeah, I could have chosen not to have the procedure and lived however long I would have lived regardless. But my quality of life improved drastically.
That quality of life improvement felt similar to what my wife described as an important reason why she should have the choice in her body’s health. Because of that connection, I recognized that it’s important to remove our moral objections based on religious upbringings from the political conversation. I realized that the ability to keep our choices consistent with a government framework should never be influenced by religious contexts.
Thanks for reading. If you feel the need to leave a comment about why I am right or wrong, maybe take a moment and find something else to do for a while. I have no intention to discuss or fight about this topic, only to write and share my experience the same way I do with VR, Meditation, Marketing, Crypto, the Metaverse, CBD, and a dozen other topics. Please consider reading these other topics before leaving a comment that may not help anyone.
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