Liberal, conservative, racist, Democrat, Republican, socialist, capitalist, feminist, anti-fascist, communist, patriot, and the list goes on.
Terms are often misused, misunderstood, and incorrectly applied.
This morning I had a brief chat with a friend who if we were to identify ourselves by labels, one would assume we would not agree on anything. But we do. And I suspect, many Americans agree with their fellow Americans more than they realize.
But sometimes we cling so tightly to our personal views we refuse to take a step back and try to understand what the person on the opposing side is feeling—what they are really saying—and why they find some of your expressed views so appalling. Perhaps we are just looking at issues through different lenses, seeing things that the other person does not see.
So, what do I believe?
I believe in hard work.
I believe there is nothing wrong with making money, providing you are not exploiting or taking unfair advantages.
I believe in the social, political, and economic equality of all people regardless of race, gender, or sexual preference.
This does not mean I believe we should put all our money into a pot and then divided it among us equally, but that our gender, race or sexual preference should not inhibit those opportunities.
I believe in the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I believe each person has the right to follow his or her faith PROVIDING they do not infringe on another person’s personal rights.
I believe in the separation of church and government.
I believe a woman has the right to control her own body, and her choices are between her, her God, and her doctor.
I believe in science.
I believe the world is round.
I believe we have a responsibility to take care of our planet for future generations.
I believe the president of the United States is an elected official who swears an oath to serve the people and follow the Constitution. He is not supposed to be a dictator.
I believe as a citizen of this country I have the right to say when I feel the president is wrong or behaving poorly, and that does not make me Anti-American.
I believe the job of the president is to serve all people of this country once elected, not just the those who elected him. Those who did not vote for him should not be treated as his enemies, but as Americans who are entitled as any American to their rights under our constitution.
I believe in free speech but understand the words we say have consequences. Others may have to let me say what I want, but they do not have to respect me or like me after I say it.
I believe peaceful protest is our right under our constitution.
While I do not condone violent protests or looting, I also understand that I may not understand how a group might feel so frustrated—so disenfranchised—that they resort to violence. I believe that if we were more empathetic, we could avoid coming to a point of violent conflict.
I believe that as a society we should work together, for a common good. I do not believe building roads, schools, and providing health care is socialism.
I do not believe in calling people ugly names.
I do not believe in mocking and cruel treatment of our fellow humans.
I find hypocrisy and cruelty unacceptable.
I believe we should take care of the most vulnerable in our society.
I believe dogs are generally better than people.
(Image: in the spirit of social distancing, I decided to choose something where they are wearing masks to help protect others. I also believe we need to get through this pandemic. Stay safe people.)