Last October, George Essef took out a full page ad in the Washington Post detailing exactly what he is. What he is, he tells us, is a Republican. He spent $104, 655.60 to do so. While I don’t have $100,000, I do have a weblog.
Now, knowing what Mr. Essef stands for, I think it’s only fair to answer the same question: What am I?
I am someone who believes that the American Dream is a commitment to knowledge, equality, and morality.
I am someone who believes that God wouldn’t have given us eyes to see, and ears to listen, and minds to reason if not to use those faculties to the best of our abilities. I believe our pursuit of knowledge can only enable our society to do more and be more for its citizens. I am not someone who believes in ignoring science and knowledge simply because I don’t like what I hear.
I am someone who believes that equality means ensuring that everyone has the same chances. I believe in educating them, whether it be in math, civics, or the sexuality of their own bodies. I believe that education allows them to make informed decisions about their lives and communities, and equality, whether it be in marriage or in job opportunities causes people to be invested in those institutions.
I believe everyone has the right to vote, and that the disenfranchised need a voice.
I believe in more than a woman’s right to choose: I believe in her right to manage her own life. I believe she deserves all the rights and chances as a man. I don’t concede the moral high ground to the “pro-life” movement. Instead, I submit that in their rush to legislate less education and a narrowing of choices they increase abortions; they do the very thing they purport to be against. Instead, by providing education and support, I believe we can reduce abortions and strengthen families.
I believe in supporting all our people. While I admire Mr. Essef’s ability to pull himself up by his bootstraps, I also note that there are a multitude of Americans who toil at low wage jobs only to find that they can’t afford rent, or medicine, or school supplies at the end of the month. I believe it is our duty to help our fellow citizens, and an outrage that some people would dismantle the apparatus that would do so.
I am someone who pushes for environmental reform. I do so because I believe that we must be as stewards for our land. That we have dominion over bird and beast, plant and animal is naught but a responsibility to care for that land. I stand against those who dismiss our environment as something to take care of “later,” because our scientists tell us that “later” is actually to late.
While I celebrate the soldiers that defend my rights, I will not tolerate human abuse in the name of defense. I will not tread on the rights of the innocent or the guilty in the name of the Constitution. Our Armed Forces in general conduct themselves honorably; I rely on the press to inform me when they do not. I believe that the exercise of our rights is central to preserving those rights; why should the military defend our rights, if we never use them?
So, Mr. Essef, I know what you are, but, what am I? I am a liberal, a democrat, and someone who believes that we can do better for our families, our fellow citizens, our environment, and our world.