by Anna Miller
Widener University Student
Recently I was on a service trip to Belize. It was interesting because we were staying at a mission house run by American missionaries who are generally considered to be conservatives due to their religious beliefs. On the other hand, we were a group of college students who serve in a civic engagement program, which leads a lot of people to believe we are a group of liberals. I have been on these kinds of service trips before and political dialogue has never arisen. It just so happened, though, that the Wednesday of our trip elections were called in Belize, thereby sparking some political discussion.
The phrase that seemed to ring more loudly than all the others was “I’m a social liberal but a fiscal conservative.” It was odd because our two groups would seem to the rest of the world to have a strong partisan identification. In fact, all individuals uttering this phrase did in fact define themselves as either Republican or Democrat. Does this two party system make sense when individuals find themselves registered in one of the two major parties with such conflicting ideas? I think there is a flaw here, and I have no idea why it took traveling all the way to Belize to figure it out. This social liberal/fiscal conservative phrase made me consider a few questions. If people are pulled to the right in one respect and the left in another, how can they make decisions when it comes election time? What draws the greatest importance between social issues and fiscal responsibility, and why, if so many people view themselves this way is there not a strong party for them to identify with? It seems unfortunate, but these types of questions typically do not find answers.