Friday, October 30, 2015

I am...

I am a liberal because I believe in more than just me and mine. I believe in lending a hand, because not everybody has boots to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. I believe that when I help others better themselves, I better myself in the process. I believe that I AM my brother's keeper. I believe that in a First World Nation we should have evolved beyond the shark mentality and should have by now realized that if rising waters do not lift all boats then we are leaving our brothers and sisters to drown while we all sail off into the sunset and this is not right, that is not acceptable.  We are better than that.

I am a progressive because I believe in living in the present and looking to the future instead of living in the past and pining for the "good old days." I don't reminisce about our past failures, such as racism and sexism, homophobia and xenophobia, as though they were mere fads we went through, like big hair and shoulder pads, while failing to recognize that these basest of human traits are still alive and well amongst us. I am a true progressive in the sense that I strive to move forward instead of either pretending these Neanderthal and Jurassic mentalities and ideologies are still appropriate for our times or pretending to have changed them while merely giving a veneer of modernism to archaic, barbaric and medieval ideologies.

I am a humanist because I believe in the human race. I believe in our ability to accomplish great things. I believe in the hard work, ingenuity, intelligence and ability to adapt of the human species. I believe that we are all humans regardless of gender, color, race, creed, sexual orientation, age or any other defining factor. I believe we can change ourselves because we have the will, the strength, the character, the intelligence, and the vision to do so...not to mention opposable thumbs.

I am an idealist because I believe we can do better. I dream of a world where our children can feel, and more importantly BE safe in a room without a loaded arsenal present. I dream of a world where we don't measure success by how much we have as compared to those that have nothing. I dream of a world where we actually care about the safety, welfare and health of our children rather than using them as excuses and pawns in a sick and twisted political, religious and social game.

I am an atheist because I do not believe in a higher power. This does not mean I believe myself to be the beginning and end of all things. It merely means I claim my successes and own my failures. I do what is right simply because it is right and when I do wrong I do so by my own choices. I do not blame an evil archetype for my failures nor do I give credit to an all powerful, divine benefactor for my successes.  My life rises and falls on my choices, my decisions, my ambitions and my actions. I do not need a mystical guide to tell me what is the right or wrong thing to do nor do I need the threat of punishment or the promise of rewards to make the right choices.  I  do not need a higher power to explain why crap happens; sometimes, life is good and sometimes life just sucks, it's cyclical and I'm good with that. 

I am a patriot, despite the negative connotations and despite the fact that the radical and the religious right wing have appropriated the title I still believe in this country and I still believe she is the greatest country on the face of the earth. I still pledge my allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic (not the oligarchy or the theocracy) for which it stands, one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. I believe some things worth having are worth fighting for and, yes, even worth dying for. The problem with the radical right's definition of the word "patriot" is that, unlike them, I understand that loyalty and allegiance does not require an individual be blind to what needs to be addressed and changed. Indeed, fanaticism requires one to be blind to to the flaws and faults of the object of your fanaticism with the end result that positive change can never happen because you cannot fix what you cannot see.  Furthermore, my allegiance is to the country that owns my heart, not the oligarchy that owns that country or the puppet politicians that do the bidding of their militaristic, nationalistic and materialistic overlords.  I honor our troops but do not turn a blind eye to the crimes they commit world wide at the behest of a corrupt government run by politicians bought and paid for by the big business overlords that run the domestic and foreign policies of our nation.

I am a Constitutionalist and by that I merely mean that I believe in the actual entirety of the Constitution of the United States of America.  I have actually read beyond the Second Amendment and, this may come as a surprise to some of you, but there is actually more to the Constitution after the First and Second Amendment! I believe in the right to bear arms AND OF A WELL REGULATED MILITIA.  I believe in the freedom of religion and in the freedom from religion as well as in the freedom of ALL religions, not just the Christian faith.  I believe in birth right citizenship, I believe in the right of ALL Americans to vote without the harassment, gerrymandering and disenfranchisement of voters that "just happen to be", "coincidentally" non white, non male voters.  I believe in "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  And, yes, I know that that is a quote from the Declaration of Independence and NOT the Constitution but can we seriously believe that in a matter of a couple of years our founding fathers changed their minds on these being the "unalienable rights" we are all entitled to? In these words I clearly see our right to healthcare, the right of all to love whomever makes them happy and the liberty to make the integral choices that are those of an individual to make regarding their life and their body, regardless of gender, without the religious badgering and bullying of puritan and medieval fanatics.  I believe in your freedom of religion but do not believe you have a right to push your religious ideals on others and, even worse, limit the rights of others to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" just because your religion states you have to live by certain rules and therefore you feel you have to be sure everybody else lives by those same rules as well.

I am a realist because I understand that not everybody that reads this will agree with me.  I understand that I will not always get my way and, at best, I will only get part of what I want and even then only part of the time because without compromise nobody gets anything of what they want and with compromise we both at least get something.  I get that religion, while certainly not for me, is a huge underpinning of today's society and that it is not going anywhere any time soon and even though I choose to exercise my right to not partake I respect your right to partake in the religious belief of your choice.  I get that there are differences of opinions and we all have different stripes and spots and we all have to find a way to get along.  I get that without our differences we would be a boring species.  I get that. I accept that.  I embrace that. That is where the extreme right and extreme left have screwed this up for all of us.  A realist understands that in order to survive in a system like ours we have to compromise.

I am an American and at the end of the day that is all that matters.  We are one nation, or at least, theoretically we are.  We are all Americans, regardless of race, gender, creed, age, sexual orientation, color or exceptionality (my new favorite word to replace disability).  We are Americans. We are the land of the free because we are the home of the brave. Failure to understand, failure to embrace that, and failure to act upon that belief makes us something less, makes us something weaker and makes us doomed for failure.

This, my Fellow Americans, is who I am.

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