Howard Zinn, the late historian and activist, once said, “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.” The train is moving. Here are some principles on which I cannot and will not be neutral:
- All people deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion. This includes especially those people who seem to be easy for others to marginalize, demonize, and victimize: women, people of color, the disabled, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, the elderly, the poor, the sick, prisoners, and people who choose religions other than Christianity as well as those who choose not to affiliate with any religion at all.
- We must uphold and defend our Constitution, including our First Amendment protections for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and freedom to petition our government for redress of grievances.
- We need to maintain the separation between church and state.
- A vibrant democracy requires a free and independent press.
- Education is a public good that creates an informed citizenry. We must support access to free, high quality public education for all.
- Our public officials should be accountable, ethical, transparent, and truthful.
- Service to citizens is the essence of government. Our government officials should not enrich themselves, their families, friends, or donors, at the expense of the citizens they serve.
- Health care is a human right.
- We need to protect the environment and the world’s natural resources from greed and undue reliance on fossil fuels.
- We have a right to live our lives in privacy, free of government and corporate surveillance.
- Severe economic inequality destroys the fabric of society. We must recognize that laws that unjustly enrich the few at the expense of the many, rather than any individual’s lack of effort or merit, are often at the heart of economic inequality. When we see laws that foster inequality, we must fight to change them.
- People should come before profits.
- Corporations are not people.
These principles are not radical. They have been expressed, to greater or lesser extent, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and also The Constitution of the United States. On these principles, I am not neutral and will not be silent.