My father and I disagree on a lot of things, especially politically … but recently, I’ve come to discover that we agree on a few things as well.

When people ask me what my political beliefs are, I generally say that I’m on the far left of the FM dial … KZSC 88.1 FM, all the way … although around here it’s 90.1 FM (KUER/NPR) and 90.9 FM (KRCL Community Radio).

I’ll be a Democrat until the day I die, I think … because even on some of those issues which I personally don’t agree, it’s better than the alternative. Thinking about what’s best for an entire community, whether local or global, rather than trying to legislate my own personal moral code.

For example, I think I’m one of the few people in the US who thinks that it is actually possible to pro-life and pro-choice at the same time; that pro-choice means pro-CHOICE, not pro-abortion. This is one of the issues on which my father and I agree.

I don’t feel that anyone has the right to tell a woman that she does, or does not have the right to terminate a pregnancy. The decision to have an abortion should be made by the woman in concert with her family, her doctor, and her spiritual power (if she has one). I would prefer people to choose life, but it is not my place and especially not the government’s place to tell them that they cannot choose otherwise.

Surprisingly, this is one of the things on which my very conservative father and I are in total agreement.

And I will never understand why it is that the people that are most against abortion also seem to be the most pro-capital punishment and pro-war.

Why is it not okay to destroy a shapeless clump of cells, but it is okay to fly to another nation and shoot fully-formed adults and drop bombs on men, women, and children, young and old, just because they have different religious beliefs?

I am against capital punishment because it is irrevocable (and innocent people have been executed for crimes they did not commit), and it costs taxpayers more money to execute a convicted criminal than it does to keep them imprisoned for the rest of their natural lives.

I firmly believe that government has a responsibility and a duty to ensure that all people are given equal opportunities to succeed. If that means welfare, then so be it … however, I also think that even welfare should have its limits.

I think that anyone should be able to qualify for welfare for up to 1 year with no strings attached. I think that in order to qualify for more than that initial year, then the recipient must be required to either a) attend some sort of vocational training, with passing grades and definitive guidelines for continued qualification; or b) provide some sort of public works service with a certain number of hours required per week for continued qualification. I think that if a person is involved in such programs, then the free (or very low-cost) childcare should be provided while the parent is working to lift themselves out of their current situations.

I believe that every child should have health insurance, covering preventative care as well as the best treatment possible. If the child does not have private insurance (through their parents’ employers) that meets a certain level, that that child will be covered by government insurance until they reach the age of 18 (or high school graduation) or until the age of 22 if they continue higher education. Parents will not be able to opt-out of covering their children under private insurance so that they can get the free government insurance, to prevent abuse of the system.

I mostly believe in the classic “liberal” concept of a free-market economy, however, I do believe that industries should be regulated to prevent abuses that can cause harm to their workers, their customers, and to society as a whole.

I believe that the only limits on freedom of expression/speech/press/religion/whatever are where actions cause harm to another. Pornography made by informed, consenting adults is okay; child pornography is not. Preaching against Muslims, Jews or Christians is okay; bombing a church, temple or mosque is not.

If you don’t like what’s on television, turn it off, or change the channel, but do not tell me that I do not have the right to watch/listen to/read/worship as I choose.

I believe that all people have the right to marry who they choose, be they gay or straight, same-sex or opposite-sex. Two men being married to each other, in a loving, committed relationship, will have no effect on the strength or weakness of my own marriage.

In many ways, a lot of my beliefs are (civil) libertarian, but the Libertarian party’s platform does not mesh with my beliefs; with who I am. I am definitely not a conservative, as I believe in progress and reform, rather than maintaining the status quo. The Democratic Party most closely coincides with not only my personal beliefs on how I should live my own life, but also with those ideals which while they may not sit well with my personal moral code, tend to err on the side of personal freedom and liberty.

And so, I will continue to identify with the left … with Democrats.