The next presidential election is nearly here! Over the next few months, the editors of Parents.com will report on hot-button election issues that American families face today, from healthcare to education. In the spirit of offering diverse perspectives on the election, we've chosen three moms from across the political spectrum to be guest bloggers on Parents News Now. Each one of them will offer a unique take on the topics that they—and you!—are most passionate about. So don't be shy, feel free to let them know what you think! Read on to meet these special moms.
Amy Julia Becker
I have a double first name, so some people call me AJ. My husband Peter and I have three children, Penny, who is six, William, almost four, and Marilee, 16 months. We discovered that Penny has Down syndrome a few hours after her birth, and perhaps as a result I am increasingly concerned about political responses to issues including education, prenatal testing, health care, and support for individuals with disabilities. I am also interested in policy measures that would support both women and children, especially in relation to abortion. I consider myself a political moderate, so I often look for and support solutions to political issues that bring people on both sides of the aisle together for the common good.
I have written a memoir--A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny (Bethany, 2011)--about the movement from initial shock and sadness over Penny's diagnosis to ultimately being able to receive her as a gift. I blog regularly at Thin Places: Faith, Family, and Disability, and I contribute regularly to The Huffington Post Parents Page and her.meneutics (the Christianity Today women's blog).
I'm a wife and a mother of three children. I gave birth to the first two and adopted the third from Ethiopia. As a family, we traveled to Africa to get our daughter, the absolute poverty challenged and changed us in many profound ways. For one thing, my first two kids aren't as picky about food anymore. For another, they haven't asked for any Christmas presents since our trip. Our newly adopted daughter Naomi, however, recently informed me that she "needed two iPads."
In addition to being an adoptive family, we're also a military family. My husband earned the Bronze Star during his Iraq deployment with the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, and my kids realize our country is worth protecting. To them, patriotism has meant that Dad is not at every volleyball game and that liberty comes at great cost.
My first book was born through frustration during Bush/Kerry race. It's called Red State of Mind: How a Catfish Queen Reject Became a Liberty Belle and is about being a conservative in some not-so-conservative cities like Manhattan... and honestly being a little less sophisticated than I thought. (Well, I had seen a few Woody Allen movies.) Since then, I've become a two time New York Times best-selling author. Along with my husband David, I co-authored Why Evangelicals Should Support Romney (and Feel Good About It!) and Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War. I also co-authored Bristol Palin's Not Afraid of Life: My Story So Far, as well as Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson's A Winning Balance: What I've Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams.
Currently, I'm the editor of the Faith and Family Channel on Patheos, I blog for National Review, and I also blog for www.EvangelicalsforMitt.org which I co-founded in 2006. I live in Columbia Tennessee—home of a weeklong festival celebrating mules—where I no longer have to pretend to be sophisticated. But I do still enjoy Woody Allen. Don't let anyone know. I've got some conservative street cred to protect.
I am so excited to be covering the elections for Parents.com. I love politics--and find it frustrating to follow unless I can let off a little steam. (Or a lot.) I live in Brooklyn and have two boys, four and six, who have thrown the occasional wrench into my work schedule, but have also compounded my commitment to writing about what really matters to our country. I started writing well before they came along, but ever since they were born, it's been clear to me how children intensify pretty much every issue I care about: the environment, education, poverty, time balance, inequality, health care. (The list can--and will--go on.) The dire need for improvement on all these fronts becomes so much clearer when you think about how the consequences of our actions--and inactions--will affect the next generation.
For this election cycle, I am Parents.com's resident "liberal." You might also call me a progressive, an idealist, a left-leaning pragmatist, but however I'm tagged (and I'll embrace all of these), I feel passionate about bringing kindness and decency to the political discussion. Yes, I am a proud Obama supporter! But I am also deeply committed to listening to what others--across the aisle, the country, and any other sort of divide--have to say.
I am also the author The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation, a book that puts American parents' work-life struggles in the international context. Follow me on Twitter!