Women’s rights must be the same rights as are granted to everyone else, no exceptions. The recent marches on International Women’s Day should bring into stark relief for those people who don't agree that women need to have such a day or feel there is no need for such a Day, are wrong in their thoughts. They are apparently not aware that the very fact that such demonstrations exist immediately identifies the core problem -- that there is not full equality between men and women. You don't see men clamoring to have a 'Men's March' or complaining that they don't receive equal pay for work. That is because historically, and still today, the world as an aggregate whole still operates on the basis of a patriarchal society. This system is inherently unequal, and therefore you have an International Women's Day and its subsequent marches. I stand for equality for all, period. As your elected Representative, I will demand that equality in any legislation that comes before me, regardless of any status that some people may use to denigrate, dehumanize, and debase. I will also push to enact any laws that may be necessary in order to provide a route for equal opportunity, thus allowing our citizens to improve their lives. When addressing the House, I will stand up for the inherent rights of all citizens to "...Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," which is a cornerstone of moving our whole society forward into a better, brighter, more productive future.
This is a slippery slope: Once legally sanctioned religious discrimination is OK, in this case against Muslims, how long before it's alright to ban Catholics, or Hindus, or Lutherans, or Mormons? Not very. Timothy McVeigh was not a Muslim, yet he produced the most devastating act of terrorism in the United States until the World Trace Centers came crashing down. Blaming an entire religion on the problems caused by a very few fanatical individuals makes no more sense than blaming all police officers for the problems caused by a few members of that group. We cannot go down this road, because where it leads is nowhere we want to be, and getting out of that place is very, very difficult.
Equity is fairness, and impartiality. Fairness belongs to equality and justice. Justice must serve equality and fairness, but without equity, there can be no equality or justice. We must ensure, without fail, that justice is indeed blind, that there are no convictions of innocent people, that someone is not railroaded or unfairly represented because of their skin color or any other personal trait. Equity must have bias, profiling, prejudice, and discrimination removed from the equation.
A person's sexual identity should not be pertinent to their treatment in any society anywhere. Whatever your choice may be is strictly a personal one. I support a person's desire to be whatever they want to be. If you support the idea that it is OK to make fun of, mock, belittle, discriminate, or otherwise cast out people who fall into these categories, then it logically follows that they could just as equally condone discrimination against anyone who was heterosexual. People all over the world need to accept that a person is a person regardless of what gender they are or may identify as.
In a world where increasing numbers of people and all aspects of their lives are inter-connected electronically and accessible online, where our electric grid, our hospitals and police and emergency services, our State and National Governments and their multitudes of agencies, even our very National Security programs, are being attacked by criminals through the electronic ether, we must ensure that we have the best cyber-security materials available and in use.
Diversity is necessary in order to keep any society from becoming stagnant and eventually failing. The diverse thoughts and actions of our citizens are what make America truly unique and great. A lack of diversity eventually leads to stagnation and collapse of society. We need diversity in order to fully encompass all of the possibilities inherent in being human. America is a diverse nation, and we thrive on it, even discounting the difficulty that some people have in dealing with others that are not the same as themselves. Without diversity, we would not be the successful country that we are, and will continue to be through inclusion of the new and acceptance of change.
The Criminal Justice system gives us a way to legally administer fairness. Crimes are inherently unfair, so administering proper punishment to those deemed guilty is an important duty that is seen to by our system of police, courts, and judiciary. Impartiality in judging a person or organization is absolutely necessary for the dispensing of justice for all the citizens of a nation. Justice must be served for those wronged by another, and we must be absolutely certain of a person’s guilt before sentencing them to punishment. Wrongful convictions are a terrible stain on the principle of justice. The criminal justice system needs some improvements to help ensure that only the guilty are punished and that the punishments for all crimes are reasonable and sensible.
Freedom Of Religion:
A founding principle of this nation, freedom to choose your religion, or to engage in no religious practices, must be upheld for all, and must be separate from the government's authority to regulate such organizations or followers so long as those people and groups adhere to the laws of the land. Separation of church and state is one of the underlying covenants of the US Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...". We must accept that everyone must be free to practice whatever form of religion they wish, or to have no religious practice, without persecution for their beliefs, and I will ensure that this covenant is upheld in a legal manner.
Voting allows citizens to choose their leaders, who then work for the improvement of all citizens. All legal citizens of a country must be allowed the means to replace those who represent them. Isn’t this really what Democracy is about at its base -- the ability to choose freely who is going to speak for you in the government? Without the ability to vote, this becomes an autocracy or a dictatorship or another form of government where the people either are not represented, or are not represented fairly and equitably. Voting rights are an absolute must for any legal citizen of this country, with very few exceptions. I would not allow someone convicted of treason or terrorism to vote, as their actions belie a belief in the very democracy they attempted to damage. I feel that people convicted of a felony who have been released from prison and are obeying the laws should once again have that right, as they are once again contributing to society by paying taxes. If that person again breaks the law or violates a parole agreement, then that option should once again be removed.
Marriage is an agreement between two people to be legally obligated to the other in a personal relationship. Marriage is a legal contract that binds two people together to support each other in common cause. It is nothing complex as far as contracts go, so why should any one person or group be different than another simply because the two parties may both be of the same sex? Are we to now make null and void all contracts where two men or two women agreed upon the language laid out in the document and signed their names to it? That is ridiculous, and so is the notion that two men or two women can’t be married legally to one another. Any given individual has absolutely no right to tell another person who they are going to love, who they are going to marry, who they are going to buy a house with, or any other decision that is one of personal choice and is executed in a legally binding manner by way of contractual obligation. Which is why you have to hire a lawyer to void the contract and get a divorce. Being opposed to any form of discrimination, I fully approve and support marriage equality.
I fully support the idea of equality, and much more importantly, equal opportunity, for all individuals. I oppose all forms of discrimination. I really think that more than the simple and overused term ‘equality’, what should be used is ‘equal opportunity’. Because when you get down to basics, any two individuals are not equal, are they? They are not the same. Some people are smarter or faster or bigger or stronger or leaner or more flexible or able to understand math or able to write best-sellers or play a piano concerto. I could go on into minute differences of physiology and genetics, but why? It isn’t actually equality that is necessary, it is equal opportunity. All people, regardless of whatever gender-word or role they prefer to use, should be given equal opportunity to perform to the best of their ability, whether it is education or work or play -- it is giving every single individual human being the opportunity that they require in order to become the best person they can be. You want to be a lawyer? Great! You want to learn all there is about janitorial work? Great! You want to learn to play an instrument? Go for it! And on and on ad infinitum. The goal is not necessarily the important part, it is being afforded the the means to attempt that goal that matters. Should certain things that affect men and women be equal, such as equal pay and equal time off to care for a newborn or to care for a sick family member, or the ability to marry someone of the same sex, or any of a number of other topics that I am not going to lay out here? Absolutely, without question. Ultimately, it is about non-discrimination for any cause, and providing our citizens with the means to drive forward and accomplish whatever goal they have laid out for themselves, which then moves society forward. Equal opportunity will utilize the immense potential of humanity, and will ultimately push our world and our species ahead into a truly global civilization.
Race and ethnicity are, unfortunately, used in order to separate and devalue individuals based on physical or cultural traits. Racism often comes from poor education and a combination of not understanding and not wanting to understand those who are different, be it skin color, or language, or ethnic background, or any other personal or cultural trait that helps to define an individual. I strongly oppose any person or policy that facilitates discrimination.