For me, it’s all about freedom and fairness

I’ve thought a lot recently about how I arrived at my perspective on issues and politics in general. What I believe and how I live my life today is based on experiences I have had since I was a growing up, and then into my young adult years and middle age.

Understanding that much of what we believe is shaped by one’s upbringing, surroundings, race, gender, and their economic and social status, I have tried not to be overly critical of others for holding certain beliefs — even if I think they are incorrect or misguided. I recognize that if I had been born into a different family or situation, I would certainly have different attitudes and perspectives on issues.

But regardless of our individual approaches to issues, which candidates we support, or even which political parties we most identify with, I believe there are universal principles that should not be compromised. These are freedom and fairness. Here are my thoughts about each of these:

I think we should be allowed to live freely as long as we are not interfering with the rights of others to live freely. To me, “freedom” is the ability to be what you want to be, and not what someone else wants you to be. If you want to live a certain lifestyle that does not harm someone else, you should have this ability. For example, if you love someone, you should be able to marry them, regardless of their gender.

Too often, however, those who espouse freedom — and use the word like they somehow own it — are only interested in freedom for themselves — not for others who act or look different from them. If you truly believe in freedom, you will stand up for the rights of those whom you oppose. Trying to make everyone else conform to your way of life is the exact opposite of freedom.

As for the concept of “fairness,” I believe the judicial system, elected officials and others in position of power in society or in the workplace should strive to be fair to all people no matter who they are.

Giving advantages to someone simply because they are a different gender or ethnicity is unfair, even if you are doing so with the intention of correcting a wrong. Paying men more than women also needs to stop, even though I stand to benefit from this antiquated practice.

The idea of fairness is something I have struggled with because life, by definition, is far from fair. Bad things most definitely happen to good people. Children get horrible diseases. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. My favorite baseball team hasn’t won a World Series since 1908. Donald Trump has a decent shot at becoming the next president.

None of these things are even close to being fair, but they are true. Yet there are parts of life where we can try to institute as much fairness as possible, so we need to make an effort whenever we can. Simply throwing up our hands and saying “life isn’t fair” or “that’s just the way it is” isn’t acceptable.