I don’t know about you, but I am heartily sick of the religious right insisting that they’re the only “values” voters, and the rest of us are…what? Voters with no values whatsoever? It’s like their insistence that they’re the only ones who are patriotic and love America (and the rest of of us are…what? Traitors who hate America? Well, at least according to Ann “Skeletor” Coulter, we are), and it’s equally wrong.
I am a values voter. Here are the values I vote on:
I believe that women are full adult human beings, with the same rights as men, which includes full bodily autonomy and integrity, full and exclusive control over our reproductive choices, and equal pay for equal work.
I believe that climate change is real, and caused by humans burning fossil fuels, and that we have a responsibility to do something about it.
I believe that every creature on our beautiful, fragile blue-green planet has a right to clean air, clean water, and habitat preservation. Humans may be at the top of the food chain, but our needs and wants do not supercede those of the other inhabitants of this planet we share.
I believe that citizens of a community exist in relationship to each other and bear responsibility to each other, which includes adequately funding a strong social safety net for those who can’t do for themselves.
I believe that every person has the right to a high-quality education, and that we have the responsibility as a community to fund that for every member of our community.
I believe that health care is a human right and every person should have access to it.
I believe that black lives matter, and that ending legal discrimination against people of color didn’t endow us with a magic wand we wave that automatically eliminated the legacy of hundreds of years of racism and white supremacy, and that we, as a society, have an ongoing responsibility to make amends for that legacy.
I believe that Americans have a right to bear arms (I grew up in a hunting culture), but that we need gun safety protections that are at least as rigorous as the safety protections that govern other potentially dangerous but highly useful tools like cars.
I believe that we want community goods like safe roads and bridges and fire departments and trash removal and police forces and a military and a thousand other things, and that we have a shared responsibility to pay for them – even the ones that we don’t personally use ourselves.
I believe that work – all work – brings dignity, and that work – all work – deserves to be compensated with a living wage.
I believe that “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48), so those who have been lucky and hard working enough to have more (money, power, status) OWE more to the community.
I believe that “all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals,” so consenting adults have the absolute right to organize their romantic partnerships in any way that suits all the parties involved.
I believe that the right to vote is both fundamental and a civic duty, so we need to make it as easy as possible for every citizen to fulfill that duty.
I believe that America is a nation of immigrants, and that is one of our greatest strengths, so we need to do everything in our power to create permanent legal status for the millions of undocumented, law-abiding, tax-paying residents who contribute so much to our economy and our communities.
And I vote on these values, to coin a phrase, RELIGIOUSLY.
I like these values. They’re about doing unto the least of these (Matthew 25:40). They’re about comforting the afflicted (Mother Jones). They’re about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and educating the ignorant (the Catholic Works of Mercy and the Jewish mitzvah of hospitality). They’re about welcoming the stranger (Matthew 25:35).
Do those sound a little more Christ-like than what you generally hear out of the religious right? Well, maybe they’d benefit from spending a little more time reading their bibles and a little less time watching Fox News.
What values do you vote on?
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