I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Let ME tell you what I believe and what I stand for as a proud liberal.

1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. Period.

2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. I have an immense moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while people are starving to death, freezing to death, and dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. A healthcare system should require everyone to chip in. It’s impossible to create a system devoid of flaws; but, I haven’t heard an argument against healthcare for all that makes “let people die because they can’t afford it” a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be less expensive, everyone should have access to it, and I’m not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen.

3. I believe education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. It doesn’t have to be free, (though it is in other countries, so I don’t get why the US can’t do it) but there’s no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt.

4. Fair wages, lower property taxes, progressive income tax, affordable education, and the wealthy paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating income inequality. Somehow believing that makes me a “communist”.

5. I believe in funding sustainable energy. People currently working in coal or oil get retraining, particularly people over 50 so they can keep good jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue using coal and oil.

6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a livable wage. No one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multi-billion dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, and the minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours a week and live.

7. LGBTQ people should the same rights as everyone else. Period.

8. I believe in political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. As Maya Angelou said, when we know better, we do better. If someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate or less hurtful than the one you’re using, you know better. Why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person?

9. I believe undocumented immigrants who come to the US are not “stealing” jobs. The employer is hiring illegally. There are more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than detaining children, splitting up families, and ending DACA. We should welcome more refugees. People have been terrorized, forced to leave the land they know as home with little more than the clothes on their backs, with the hope of staying ALIVE. Too many don’t make it and it’s not their fault. I hope someone takes us if the worst happened.

10. I believe some government regulation is necessary especially when greed is the driving force in our society. We NEED regulation to prevent environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods/medical equipment. I don’t trust those making the money to ensure their products/practices are really SAFE. Regulations give consumers recourse if they are harmed. It is common sense that when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies regulate themselves, the latter is not the best choice.

11. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I’ve spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past. Read. Learn.

12. I am not interested in coming after any blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is sensible gun policies, including background checks. Checks that MIGHT save a life, maybe a toddler’s life, from the hand of someone who should not have a gun.

13. I believe in the separation of Church and State. I am incensed when legislatures try to make Scripture into law. I’m not “offended by Christianity”, I’m offended at being forced to live by one religion’s rules. Be a Christian but don’t force it on me or mine. The idea that my not agreeing with your religion somehow discriminates against you is twisted.

14. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than people think and desperately needs to be addressed. Folks with privilege — white, straight, male, economic — need to start listening even if they don’t like what they’re hearing. That way we can start dismantling everything causing people to be marginalized.

15. I believe women should be treated equally. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work, should make their own individual healthcare decisions, should have the same rights as men, and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be?

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is I think we should take care of each other. That doesn’t mean you work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all the money. It means I don’t believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome in order to save money.