I believe that President Obama is asking me to “pay rent to my ideals,” to use the words of the novelist E.M. Forster, when he asks me to support his stimulus plan.
I believe the economy needs more from me than just buying more things.
I believe I need to employ more people, maybe the woman who fixes things around my house, maybe the man who rents equipment at the hardware store, or the client whose income I can grow.
I believe a new, more energy efficient car isn’t all that I need; I need to work on conserving every form of energy I use everyday, from electric lights to my microwave.
I believe I can’t just worry about my co-pay and find the least expensive doctor; I need affordable insurance that will both keep me well and take care of me when I am sick.
As a legally married lesbian (at least in Connecticut and Massachusetts), I don’t think only a man and a woman can make a family. I believe that any (and all) who are raising children deserve all the help all citizens can give them in order to raise them well.
As the daughter of an alcoholic who, thanks to his higher power, became sober, I believe that fighting the war on illegal drugs is not as important as helping people to stop abusing drugs, legal or not.
Over the years I have know many Peace Corps volunteers who have worked all over the world, and I believe in “hands across the sea” not building fences. I believe in foreign aid so that people don’t have to migrate to feed their families or get to send their children to college.
I went to college with the sons and daughters of people who did “stoop labor” in farm fields, and I believe we need to improve job conditions for all workers in America instead of just paying legal aliens as little as possible to do unpleasant jobs.
As a former teacher, I believe we need to make it easier to be a good teacher for a long time rather than to fire bad teachers more easily. I believe that teaching students to enjoy learning is far more effective than finding out which students will flunk more tests.
As an aging baby boomer, I have too many extra pounds to afford to save money by eating off the “dollar menu.” I believe I should be able to afford food that keeps me healthy but doesn’t use up all the water in the Colorado River – or poison my P&J sandwiches.
I want to do whatever works to give me and my friends more satisfying work, to keep us healthier, and make us happier – even if it comes without a tax refund.
This, I believe, is what I should do for my country.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.