What do I Believe In?
The short answer is that I am a liberal populist. I am a strong believer in personal freedom, but I understand that freedom comes with responsibility. I am not a professional politician (in case you haven't already figured that out).
So, what does that mean?
Let's start with the pledge of allegiance:
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
This bit of prose has taken a lot of flak over the years because we coerce children to recite it in school. However, if you really think about it instead of reciting it blindly, Francis Bellamy really did a great job of describing what America is all about. One of the things I had hammered into my head when I was learning how to write songs was "beginnings and endings". In other words, what people remember the most is the beginning and the ending. And they tend to remember the ending more than anything else. That means that, as a writer, you put the most important point you want to make at the end. The pledge of allegiance ends with "liberty and justice for all." Note that is not "liberty and justice for all rich white men" as most Republicans would think. It doesn't even end with "liberty and justice for all Americans".
I believed in that pledge when I recited in school and I still believe in it. I believe liberals who avoid being associated with the American flag are making a huge mistake. To the founding fathers, the American flag stood for freedom, justice and liberty. This is what liberals still believe in. We need to take our flag back from the "of the rich, by the rich and for the rich" Republicans who are currently dragging it through the mud.
I believe in the Declaration of Independence.
I believe in the US Constitution -- including the Bill of Rights.
I believe in the concept of separation of powers. I believe the various branches of government are constitutionally obligated to maintain their power.
I believe the United States has a right to defend itself, but I do not believe we have the right to start wars to secure profits for large corporations.
I believe that every major religion is doing God's work -- not just my own religion.