We have been thrust into a position where we are arguing facts versus beliefs, and people are disregarding facts in favor of their unsubstantiated beliefs. While that’s what’s happening, I will throw my beliefs out here.

I believe in the separation of church and state. Meaning, I believe that religious beliefs should never, ever come into play when it comes to matters of state.

I believe that if religion, rather than the desire to be a decent human being, is the thing governing your behavior, you’re an asshole.

I believe that men should not have the opportunity to vote on women’s rights. Ever.

I believe straight white men would lose their shit if they were, for a day, an hour, treated the way LGBTQA people/PoC/women are treated. I believe the closer they get to equality, the more terrified they are. This is correct; because they did not lift us up, because they refuse to lift us up, they are going to come down. It’s a shame; it didn’t have to be this way.

I believe the only person who gets to decide if a man is a feminist is a woman. And that definition doesn’t apply across the board; if another woman decides you’re not a feminist, to her, you’re not. It’s not a merit badge – it’s a lifestyle. And you don’t get hero rewards. If that’s what you’re looking for, keep looking. This is what it means to support us.

I believe that the only person who gets to decide if a white person isn’t racist is a person of color. Sometimes, I’m racist. Sometimes, I’m not. I’m working on getting better, every day, but it’s literally not for me to say. That said…

I believe if you have ever, once, referred to PoC kids as “thugs”, you are racist.

I believe that religion should be taught in school. All religions, with all of the other myths. Tropes are consistent across cultures, and they’re important.

I believe that most terrorists are straight white men.

I believe people would rather criticize than create.

I believe that kindness is the coin of the realm. My realm. I do not see the point in cruelty. If I want to get a reaction, I will say something kind, or create something to which people can react.

I believe that cruelty is lazy, and that sniping is for people who need a hobby. Well, no. It’s for unhappy people.

I believe everything that people do is about them and that, when people hurt us deliberately, we have to look no further than their insecurities and unhappiness. I believe I’d have been happier if I’d learned this younger; the head pat is less taxing than engaging. Sometimes I still engage, and I always regret it. It’s just them trying to sharpen their claws on me.

I believe I can learn everything I need to know about a person’s ability for compassion by seeing how they treat animals.

I believe the care of our environment is the biggest single issue facing humanity. I believe we are losing.

I believe that, the more you claim something about yourself, the less likely it is to be true. “I’m open-minded!” “I’m not racist.” “I did not have sexua relations with that woman.”

I believe we want to believe things are black and white, and our gray, gray world is exhausting. I do not trust anyone who tries to tell me that a human is all good or all evil; it is impossible.

I believe you don’t get to use your upbringing as an excuse for shitty behavior. I don’t care why you’re the way you are. It’s not that I don’t understand, that i need it explained. It’s that I don’t want to be around any resultant rudeness and lack of empathy.

I believe white people should be thinking, constantly, about the land we’ve taken from natives and the people we brought into this country against their will, how we can accept responsibility, and ensure these things never happen again. These things are still happening RIGHT NOW, and don’t give me that “I’m a quarter native” or “my family never owned slaves” shit. Even if it’s true (and it is for me, and I’m sure for lots of us), we’re part of a system that benefits us in part because it takes advantage of people from whom we continue to steal land and whom we continue to enslave (DAPL, privatized prison system). Speaking of which…

I believe prisons should be de-privatized.

I believe non-violent criminals should not be imprisoned. Time should be paid by earning minimum wage working at a small non-profit local to where they live, directly benefiting their community.

I believe the giant, giant chunk of my money that’s taken for taxes should go for the arts, for health care, and for education. I believe I should be able to choose where my money goes. I believe the military has enough fucking money.

I believe everyone should work in food service, ride a motorcycle, be in a choir that rehearses regularly and perform as part of it without having a solo, and play an instrument. At least once.

I believe that a cure for bigotry and racism is travel, and that racist bigots hardly ever leave the country.

I believe prostitution should be decriminalized and that we should stop treating women like they don’t have agency over their own bodies.

I believe drugs should be decriminalized.

I believe we should stop treating the mentally ill like criminal.

I believe we are still going to have a huge problem with violent criminals until men stop posturing and feminizing perceived weakness.

I believe we’ll still have a problem with violent criminals, and fuck those people.

I believe children are our future only if their parents aren’t assholes. I believe more children will end up violent criminals than solving climate change (crap, that’s a statistics-supported fact… one got in there).

I believe there’s no more messed-up human than the one who has decided they’re done learning.

I believe the smartest people ask questions and listen.

I believe I will not get to see all of the world that I want to see in this lifetime, but I will try.

I believe we have more in common than not, but that our beliefs will drive us apart.

I believe that loving another human being is the work of a lifetime, one that we can never perfect, but we can spend a joyful lifetime trying.