We won. Now that we’ve elected Donald J. Trump as the next President of our country, and now that we’ll get our jobs and our industries back, and our paychecks will be ours to keep, and we won’t have to pay into some crazy healthcare scam, and, importantly, now that we’ve proven that we’re back at the top of the American totem pole as the hard-working original true creators of the American dream, like our founding fathers, straight white men born right here in the U.S.A., not giving up our family values for the sake of political correctness and not ashamed of our locker-room talk that we all know is common place; now that we’re victorious again at the national level, I hope you’ll join me in declaring our beliefs loud and clear. We’re in power, so let’s make it matter:
- As Jesus suggested we do, according to the Biblical Book of Luke, I believe in trying to stand with the least among us. To me, that means that if and when YOU are downtrodden, depressed, victimized, the target of discrimination or unjust policies or traditions or behaviors, I stand with YOU. As long as your freedoms do not impinge on others’ freedoms (admittedly, this can get tricky), I stand with YOU. If you are a child or a woman (or an adult or a man), if you’re queer (or straight), if you’re a member of a minority (or not), or if you’re an unemployed white male who needs social assistance, and regardless of your religion or place of birth or place of residence, I stand with you, because I can, because we can, because we are stronger together.
- I believe in the power and role of government to do good work. Admittedly, any institution will have inefficiencies, but I prefer a government elected to look out for all to a collective of individuals looking out for themselves, the latter of which perpetuates inequalities, privileges wealth, and inspires violence (without government, and sometimes even with government, “might makes right,” and that’s not right). Government means public education, roads and bridges, parks, health care, social security, police, libraries, trash collection, sewage, clean water, diplomacy with other governments, consumer protections, environmental protections, workforce protections, renters’ protections, financial protections, a system of enforced public justice with agreed-upon laws and freedoms…. I like all of those things. I want all of those things. Government employees (municipal, state, and federal) are my neighbors, and their salaries are paid by my taxes, and their work is paid by my taxes, and that is a small price to pay to have all of those things I listed that government provides. Without government we are on our own, every person for him- or herself, threatened by a neighbor who has a bigger arsenal and a different idea of our property lines, or what I do in my bedroom, or how I worship or don’t. Our government is us – our collective representatives enacting our collective values.
- And in order to make that last statement as true as possible – in order to make our government most like us – I believe in representative democracy. No doubt I would like to see our representative democracy improved. For example, I would like to remove (if possible) – or at the very least reduce – the influence of money in politics. Having more money should not result in having more influence. That is one of the things that government can work to protect us from. Abandoning government is not the solution because then wealth and the threat of violence will have even more influence than they do now. I prefer a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
- Besides getting money out of politics, another thing that would improve our representative democracy is to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to vote, because I believe that representative democracy works best when people participate. Inmates should be able to vote; immigrants should be able to vote; young and old should be encouraged to vote; people who work multiple jobs should have an easy way to vote; citizens who are outside of the country at the time of election should have an easy way to vote. The more of us who vote, the more representative our democracy is, and I will risk offending readers by suggesting that if you do not want as many people as possible to vote then you don’t truly believe in a representative democracy, and I would ask you to examine why you don’t think some people deserve to be represented by their government.
- One of the reasons I believe in the benefits of a representative democracy is because I believe in humanity, and I mean this in a couple of ways. First, I believe in humans’ general goodwill – in other words, it’s a rare person who (or it’s a rare moment when a person) seeks to do harm. Most of the time that we assume people are seeking to do harm, when we get to know their desires a little better we realize that they have a different idea of what’s good than we do, and they are, most of the time, seeking to do good, not to do harm. So, if we can understand each other better, and if we can calibrate (or compromise) on our senses of what’s good, and if we can respect other people’s rights, then we can all be humane to each other, and that is the second thing that I mean by saying that I believe in humanity: I believe in being “humane” (as our species-centric language puts it, which brings me to my next point).
- I believe in the Earth. She’s the only planet we’ve got, and it strikes me as absolutely crazy and short-sighted and immoral not to protect the Earth. For the record, this is coming from someone who doesn’t have children, so this is not about protecting the Earth for the sake of my grandchildren, as the saying goes: instead it’s about protecting the Earth for the sake of YOUR grandchildren and, frankly, for all sorts of other species and ecosystems as well. The Earth is where I live and what I know, and if my world-view were larger than the Earth then I might be less concerned about its fate … but then again, I might want to stand with it when it is the target of unjust policies, traditions, and behaviors. Shouldn’t it be a sign of our progress that we’re willing to take care of the least among us?
That’s my manifesto as a straight (mostly, not that it’s any of your business) white (according to the current social conventions of what it means to be “white,” which will undoubtedly change with time as they have changed throughout the past) male (according to my physiology and preference) natural-born citizen (by chance) of the United (questionably, but hopefully) States of America. Will you join me, my strong brothers?
Rural Resident of the United States, liberal (in terms of “advocating freedom of the individual and governmental guarantees of individual rights and liberties” and trying to be “free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant”) but not part of the “liberal elite” (I make about $25,000 a year)