My Changing Attitudes About Poverty, Immigration, Healthcare, etc.

How did my attitudes about poverty, immigration, healthcare etc. begin to change? What were the sparks which led to a different mindset?

My Changing Attitudes About Poverty, Immigration, Healthcare, etc.
Photo courtesy of Alexas_Fotos. Used by permission.

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I have been a conservative Republican most of my adult life (I still self-identify as such). It seems to me that would normally tend to influence me towards a “stay in your own country, solve your own problems” stance in regards to those who live in other countries.

Recently, I’ve begun to ask myself when my perspective on poverty, immigration, healthcare, etc. began to change. Here are the somewhat disorganized responses which have occurred to me.

My perspective on poverty, immigration, healthcare, etc. began to change:

  1. When I lived in a third world country in West Africa and saw widespread, deep poverty (yes, there is poverty in the United States — I live in an area of the US with a very large homeless population, so I see it firsthand almost every day — but I don’t believe it is as widespread or as desperate as the poverty I saw overseas).
  2. When I began to see people living in other countries (like the third world country where I lived) as real people with the same needs, struggles, joys, etc. as myself and not just as statistics.
  3. When I began to question why I had a right to things like healthy food, clean water, basic healthcare, etc. but my friends from the third world country did not have a right to those things, simply because of where they lived. At the most basic level, we are all humans, created and loved by the same God.
  4. When I decided to start not just giving money to the homeless person on the street but to buy him/her a meal and ask about his/her background, his/her motivations, his/her fears, etc. — to actually engage people in conversation.
  5. When I began to appreciate more deeply the ramifications of what the Bible says when it tells me that my citizenship is in heaven (and not primarily in the country where I physically reside)

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Jamie Larson