I believe in power to the people.
I believe that people should be free from governmental interference in their private lives - but protected from discrimination, depradation, and abuse in their economic lives.
I believe, more than anything - that corporate interests finance, buy, and dictate policy in America, that our government is completely corrupt because of Campaign Finance laws, and that no party is blameless in that matter - but consistently the most ardent supporters of Campaign Finance Reform have been liberals. True, John McCain has also been an ardent reformer, and for that I admire and like him.
I believe that America is "first among equals" in the community of nations around the world - and that our attitude should be one of an older sibling, not a father-figure that dictates without regard to opinion or effect. I believe that our influence in the world should be used to promote Liberal Democracy (and I mean that in the "Western World" sense, not the "Liberal vs. Conservative" sense) around the world, to support social freedom and self-determination, to defend Human Rights and freedom everywhere. To create a true Free Market, that the U.S. would be bound to thrive in...rather than using military might to secure riches for a wealthy few.
I believe that women, minorities, and gays are often discriminated against - but that the tide is turning. Affirmative Action is in need of reform (but not repeal) in order to reflect that turning tide, and to update what we hope to accomplish.
I believe that some issues are *not* best decided on a local level. For instance - education. When conservatives say, "Education should be locally funded and locally administered" what they really mean is "Poor people should get poor educations, while rich people get the best education - because rich regions will have lots of money and poor regions will have the lowest income with the highest demand." --- Education shouldn't be local, at least not in funding. Our Public School system is all but utterly failed, and is in dire need of a serious re-hauling, refinancing, and all around reform. That can't be accomplished on a local level - it shouldn't be accomplished on a local level. All Americans need to share the burden- and it IS a burden, believe me.
I believe that taxes should be lightest on the poorest, because the greatest percentage of their income is used on necessities - and therefore *spent* ... which stimulates the economy. You want to pump money right back into the economy? Give it to people who need it, not people who already have it.
I believe that the separation of Church and State is vital to the freedom of our nation, and fundamental to the values upon which it was founded. I also believe that the Religious Right is inimically opposed to this, and wants to found a nation based on theology of their narrow Christian views. I believe that the Religious Right is a toxic, intolerant, hateful group of people who know nothing of compassion, and yet exercise a tremendous influence on the Republican Party. They must be stopped.
I believe that any two people who want to commit to each other, and raise a family ought to be encouraged to do so, regardless of their gender, race, or creed. Society is *stabilized* by long-term family relationships, and so anyone genuinely interested in "family values" ought to be inclusive of all sorts of families- not discriminatory. I believe that the Democratic party has failed to make significant progress in this area, but will not always fail to do so. Certainly the Republican party is inimically opposed to everything about gay people and their place in society.
I believe that uninsured citizens ought to be able to depend on the government for basic health care. Private health care will always be superior, and companies and people ought to be encouraged to carry it - but the reality is that we are the richest nation on earth with the smallest percentage of citizens with adequate health coverage. This is shameful!
I believe that we live in a culture of violence, and that the super-abundance of firearms creates an epidemic of violence that needs to be addressed. Like it or not, the guns are out there and won't go away. So we ought to change, or modify, or discourage, tolerance of violence, especially domestic violence.
I believe that because the issue of abortion is contentious, and because people can best decide for themselves about such ethical dilemmas when there is no clear answer - that women ought to be free to decide for themselves, rather than have a narrow Christian ideology dictated to them by the government. Further, there is an absolute correlative relationship between reproductive freedom (which starts, first and always, with adequate birth control and sex education) and the prosperity and economic vitality of women. A woman, therefore, should be utterly empowered to have adequate health care, birth control, and education - and in a last resort - the right to make her own agonizing decision about what to do with an unwanted, dangerous, or deleterious pregnancy.
I believe that the military will be stronger and better able to do it's mission if all Americans are eligible for service if they are physically capable of doing so. Discriminating on gender or sexual orientation reduces the number of possible soldiers we could have. That weakens the military. I believe in a strong military that will be able to vigorously defend America - and all Americans ought to be represented in it.
I believe that Corporate reform is urgent and necessary. I believe that the insider trading which currently is rampant is corrupt, unethical - and is bad for capitalism, bad for America, and bad for investors. Capitalism is founded on the notion that businesses are fairly valued so that investors can make sound decisions - but the current culture of gross rewards for top executives who make unethical practices greatly profitable threatens the very foundations of Capitalism. Meanwhile, the Republican administration seeks advice on national policy from those very people who undermine American economic vitality. Reform needs to be sweeping - but no Republican will bite the hand that feeds it.
I believe that the last bastion of bigotry, bias, and racism is in the Republican party. This doesn't mean that *all* Republicans are bigots, biased, or racists... but certainly some of them are, and they are tolerated as such by their party. Their policies are bad for minorities, bad for gays, and bad for women. They must be stopped.
I also believe that all Americans ought to get a free puppy. America would be better if everyone had a puppy. The Republicans will never vote for that, as they are too busy kicking puppies.
For all those reaons, and many more - I am not, nor ever shall be a Republican. Unfortunately the party that ought to be championing progressive ideals is leaderless, rudderless, and ineffective... so I take no pride in being a Democrat. They've caved utterly to warmongering, failed to promote serious issues and catered to foolish issues, been to factionalized and kow-towed to the dirty campaigning of their opposition. When Ari Fleischer told everyone last year, "Americans are going to have to be careful of what they do. Americans are going to have to be careful of what they say, and of what they think." the Democrats failed to call him to task for that totalitarian sentiment - and watched as crucial Civil Liberties were eroded in the name of "Security".
The Democrats have failed me --- but I'll never be a Republican. You'll have to pry the populism from my cold, dead hands.