Things I Believe #2

I believe that people are people.  I believe that we all deserve to be treated the same, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual preference, wealth, nationality, opinion, or any other classification that can be used to divide us.  I believe that these divisions are driven by fear and ignorance, and I believe that there is no longer a place for either of them in the world today.

To be more specific:

I believe poor people are people.  They have just as much right to pursue the American Dream as anyone else.  Big business and government have worked together to keep the lower classes down, and this is simply unacceptable.  The poor are being deprived of jobs, proper working conditions, fair pay, and health care, as well as the ability to collectively bargain in order to get these things.  The middle and lower classes make up the largest numbers of our population, but they have the least amount of power, as they are stepped on or ignored by those in Congress and the boardrooms.  I also believe that those that are fighting back, like those at the Occupy Wall Street protests should be respected, not mocked.  They are doing what they’re doing for the greater good, and more people should do the same.

I believe rich people are people.  As such, I believe that they have a responsibility to look out for their fellow human beings.  They have been either rewarded for their hard work, blessed by being born into a wealthy family, or able to manipulate the system in their favor.  Regardless, they would not have their wealth without also having the good fortune to live in this country.  And, because of this, I believe that they should be obligated (both morally and legally) to give something back to those that are struggling.  To ignore this obligation is to ignore their humanity.

I believe that women are people.  This means that they are entitled to the same freedoms as men in regards to how they live their lives and what they choose to do with their bodies.  The recent attempts by the Right to limit access to abortions, birth control, or proper women’s health providers, as well as traditional religion-based attitudes about the subservience of women, are all remnants of outdated thinking, and have no place in today’s society.  Women are also the owners of their sexuality, and have the right to dress and behave however they choose, without men imposing their will upon them.

I believe that LGBT people are people. They deserve the same opportunity to fall in love, get married, and raise a family as everyone else does.  They have been unfairly demonized by religious zealots and judges of morality (who are often lacking in morality themselves), and are accused of choosing a lifestyle that they are born into.  And, despite the slanderous lies spread about them, they do not want to corrupt our children and they do not want to turn anyone else into a homosexual (as if that were even possible).  All they want is the freedom to fall in love and spend their lives with whomever they choose, free from judgment by people who know nothing of their struggles for acceptance, and they should be afforded that opportunity.

I believe that criminals are people, and this includes terrorists.  However heinous their alleged crimes, everyone deserves a fair trial, and no one deserves to be have their life taken from them.  Capital punishment is revenge, not justice, even for those that have taken the lives of others.  People who have committed crimes should be punished, but not until it has been indisputably proven in a court of law that they are guilty of what they are accused of.  And, even if they are proven guilty, they still deserve a life free from torture or exploitation.  Anything less makes us criminals, as well.

I believe that minorities are people.  And by minorities, I mean anyone who isn’t white and wealthy, be they Americans of color or immigrants.  Privileged whites have instilled a sense of fear in this country, and this has led to racial profiling, unfair sentencing for crimes, and discrimination against entire races and religions.  This country was founded and built by immigrants, and the fact that it has attracted people of all races has long been a source of pride.  But, the “melting pot” ideal has disappeared, and has been replaced by xenophobia and racism.  Inclusion and acceptance are what made this country great, and must be restored in order to maintain that greatness.

I believe that sick people are people.  We live in the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide health care to all of its citizens.  Instead, we let people make money by denying this health care to the people who need it.  So, some people get rich and others die.  We have a responsibility to care for all of our people, not just the ones rich enough to pay the ridiculously high fees.  We cannot call ourselves a civilized society until we learn what the rest of the world has already figured out.  Providing proper health care should be based on compassion, not profit.

I believe that young people are people.  They are the future of this country, but they are being forced to pay for the mistakes of previous generations.  They are not being educated properly, and those that do attempt to better themselves are saddled with immense amounts of debt for an education that should be provided for them.  We are sending their jobs overseas, and then blaming them when they can’t find meaningful employment.  Their opinions are dismissed, despite the fact the government is trying to take away the Social Security and Medicare that they will depend on when they get older.  Their protests are mocked, even though they are the ones that are dying in the wars that the government insists on fighting.  We are obligated to properly prepare the youth of today, because they will be the leaders of tomorrow, but we are in danger of failing to fulfill that obligation.

I believe that all people are people.  We all have the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  To deprive anyone of these rights for any reason means we are not living up to the standards that this country was founded on.  We have the ability to treat everyone the way that we would like to be treated, we are simply too selfish to do so.  This can no longer be tolerated.  We must become a selfless society, and that will in turn make this a better place for all of us.

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