Fundamentally, being a Liberal means that I respect the rights and dignity of all human beings. It means that I believe each person should have an equal opportunity in our society, no matter their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or any other characteristic we use to divide us from them.
It makes me angry when I see some people trying to deny others equal opportunity. To correct for the intentional and unintentional structural barriers that face many people in their quest for the American dream, I believe society as a whole has an obligation to intervene to extend the benefits of equality to all. How we do that is through government action. Government is, after all, the embodiment of our collective will.
I must admit that I am passionate about these beliefs. They have guided me in my choice of profession, friends, and faith. Although I do have Republican friends, even conservative ones, I cannot abide anyone who does not respect the dignity of another human being.
This tradition has a long history in my family. Members of my family fought for the North in the Civil War. My grandfather often told me that he could not tolerate displays of the stars and bars as it symbolized treason to our country, and the effort to prop up a fundamentally immoral institution. In his house, he proudly displayed a black and white picture of himself posing as a child with his great grandfather who fought in the Union army.
My mother has always been deeply religious, believing in the true Gospel. Not the one some people use to divide us, but the one that preaches love and teaches us to love our neighbors, strangers, and our enemies (Matthew 5:43). Even though I went through a period in my youth in which I questioned my faith, I never lost respect for Jesus and his teachings.
My father was an academic who believed in truth above all else. With sufficient hard work, anyone could come to a deeper understanding of the truth, and it mattered not what your background was if you were willing to bring that commitment to the table.
I honor those who came before me because, despite their human flaws, these individuals and others taught me the values that guide my life. In some…