In which I begin crafting a manifesto

For those of you eagerly anticipating my next round of ill-conceived thoughts about the Tarot, fear not. I will be demonstrating even more of my ignorance in that area soon enough. For now, though, I fear I must subject you to some other rambling instead.

Despite what some of my loved ones might tell you, I am generally smart enough not to get involved in pointless arguments on the internet. And by “pointless arguments on the internet,” of course, I really mean “any arguments on the internet.” I have been known, from time to time, to stir the pot on a conversation that is best left alone, but more often than not I simply back away slowly.

This afternoon, an acquaintance who I quite like posted something on Facebook that I desperately wanted to respond to, and damn the inevitable invoking of Godwin’s law that would eventually follow. Despite my efforts, though, I was unable to formulate a coherent response that I was happy with. The problem (other than the fact that I was seething with frustration and no small amount of anger at what I sincerely hope is ignorance on his part) is simply that I couldn’t find a clear place where I knew our worldviews to intersect. Without being able to establish that bit of common ground, I couldn’t point to a place where those views began to diverge. Ultimately I think any useful conversation between us would have had to start with, “In the beginning,” and let’s be honest – a Facebook comment thread is probably not the best place for that sort of discussion.

I’m still left with that irrational desire to list all of the reasons my acquaintance’s beliefs are misguided, but instead of that I am going to try something marginally more positive. So. In response to no demand whatsoever, popular or otherwise, here’s a partial list, in no particular order, of things I believe about the world. After much consideration, I’m giving it the title, “Things Jason Believes About The World (A Partial List, Arranged In No Particular Order).” Catchy, isn’t it?

  • All full-time jobs should provide a living wage for the person working.
  • Medical care is a human right. Sick people ought to be able to go to the doctor.
  • A world-class education should be incredibly expensive to the government and completely free to students. If you’re smart enough and motivated enough to get into a school, and you make the grade while you’re there, it should be covered.
  • If marriage must be a state institution (and it shouldn’t, by the way) then any configuration of consenting adults should be afforded the same access to it as heterosexual partners currently do. There are legal and financial benefits associated with state-sanctioned marriage, and to deny those benefits to any adult member of society is a violation of their civil rights.
  • Food is not a privilege, it is a human right. So is medical care. So is shelter.
  • My taxes are too low. So are yours. Food isn’t cheap, shelter is expensive, and medical care is astronomical. Education is incredibly pricey. If my tax dollars go to feed, house, clothe and care for my sisters and brothers, and if they are earmarked for education, then I say this: Raise. My. Taxes.
  • Many drugs probably aren’t as bad for you as large amounts of alcohol.
  • Collaboration is way more fun than competition.
  • Any system designed to help people will be imperfect. These systems should be studied, improvements should be made. The imperfections in the systems are not an excuse for not helping people.
  • Americans ought to stop fetishizing bootstraps.
  • I think it’d be a nice idea if the government listened to its constituents with legitimate complaints rather than sending the authorities in with pepper spray.
  • Some crimes are abominations. Capital punishment is one, too.
  • Success takes many forms. I won’t mock yours if you don’t mock mine. As the man said, “Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” (Related mental note: I should probably stop making jokes about people driving big SUVs compensating for other shortcomings.)