Jamie’s Do’s and Don’ts

By Jamie Neben

Usually, when we see a list of “Do’s and Don’ts,” it’s a list of instructions to establish some set of boundaries.  Well, I have no place or desire to tell you what you can and can’t do.  Instead, I’d like to share my thoughts on a range of subjects that I hope will generate some discussion.

I do believe the United States needs to maintain its presence as a world leader, operating on the basis of strength and compassion.

I don’t believe that trying to resolve our differences before flexing our muscles is a sign of weakness.  As recent history has shown, it’s much easier to avoid a fight than to end one.  When military action is unavoidable, we must set clear objectives and act in a way that is consistent with our values.

I do understand why so many people around the world want to come to America, as it’s the pillar of opportunity and freedom.

I don’t want immigrants to arrive without checking in the proper way. If you’re a guest at somebody’s house, you knock at the front door rather than sneaking through the back, right?

I do feel strongly that we have a responsibility to help people who cannot help themselves, or those who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own.

I don’t think that accepting government help is the same thing as wanting something for nothing.   Yes, I’ll concede that there is bound to be some abuse, but most of the people who are getting help really need it. 

I do see marriage as a fundamental human right regardless of gender.

I don’t know how same sex marriage will or could deny the freedom of any other person or couple.   For those who disagree, what freedom does it take away?  A divorce rate of about fifty percent suggests that marriage is not exactly a sacred institution.  Furthermore, objections based on religion are completely out of order when it comes to discussing basic rights.

I do believe in a divine creator who created the heavens and the earth.

I don’t view faith and science as being mutually exclusive.  We can accept the “big bang” as fact without knowing what, or who, caused it.  Evolution occurs even now, so common sense dictates that it has taken place since life began.  We can take the Bible’s account of our creation in a figurative manner, rather than as a literal interpretation that mankind arrived in the first calendar week (especially when we know the planet is over four billion years old). 

I do prefer the wall of separation between Church and State.

I don’t find anything wrong with promoting religion outside the scope of government.  While we officially shouldn’t call ourselves a Christian nation, I recognize the importance of worship in our history and tradition.  As such, I have no problem with the Pledge of Allegiance, National Prayer Day, and other references to religion as long as citizens are not required to participate.

I do support capital punishment for the worst crimes.

I don’t want to see anybody executed without indisputable DNA or videotape evidence.  An innocent person being put to death is too great of a risk with the absence of a smoking gun.

I do hope we will find a way to improve our educational system so that we will have better teachers, which will hopefully lead to better students, and a better society.

I don’t agree with any suggestion that all schools should be privatized.  When a student’s results are subject to a corporate profit margin, their best interests will no longer be a factor.

I do feel that love is the answer if we want to change this world.  We were created because of love, and to continue forward, we must have a loving heart and release any hate or anger inside of us.  If you’re a Christian, remember that Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  If that’s not a mandate from a high enough authority, I don’t know what else to say.  We must find ways to get along.

I don’t ever plan to stop trying to make the world a better place.