This I Believe

Inspired by Robert A. Heinlein’s powerful and simple piece, first written in 1952. You can read it here. Here’s where I stand…

I believe in the potential of our country.

I believe that our country’s history is full of moments that we should be ashamed of. Our treatment of native Americans, people of just about every color, women, immigrants, minorities, gays… pretty bleak. I believe that we are an imperfect people full of failings, shortcomings, and faults. But…

I believe the true greatness of our country lies in the promise of our potential. Our country is a land of opportunity. I believe that our system works because it is better than the imperfections of our leaders – and better than the imperfections of ourselves. I believe that we have the best form of government to cultivate freedom.

I believe that America, like every country in the world, has the sovereign right to control its borders.

I believe that diversity and inclusion, immigrant peoples, and the breadth of our differences make our country stronger.

I believe that Captain America is the greatest superhero ever.

I believe that in an alternate universe America perfected a Super Soldier serum and my own military service was adjusted accordingly.

I believe in free speech. Standing on a corner and shouting out against our government is the truest expression of freedom that we have. I believe that speaking out when you disagree with our government is not just permitted – it is essential for freedom to endure. I believe that loud, uncomfortable free expression is better than quiet, complacent citizenry. I think that this week’s peaceful transition of Presidential power followed by mass protest is freedom in action.

I believe that it is only unpopular, unsettling, and dangerous speech which needs protection. I’d rather express my view on why another’s view makes no sense than silence the speaker. I believe that the marketplace of ideas is a valid concept. I think that it is only the tyrant who seeks to silence opposing views.

I believe in the freedom to follow one’s faith – or follow no faith at all. I believe that the government has no place in matters of faith. I believe that faith has no place in matters of government policy.

I believe in doing the right thing when no one knows the difference. I believe in integrity. I continue to strive to be a better man, despite my imperfections. I believe that I am a work in progress.

I believe that real leadership is impossible without integrity.

I believe that great leaders are made, not born. I believe that leadership is a skill like juggling, riding a bike, or solving quadratic equations. The more you practice it, the better you become at execution.

I believe that one of the best things of growing up is being able to embrace your authentic self. There was a time I was embarrassed to be a nerd. My current D&D character is a 10th level Elf Wizard named Raven. (He rocks! Just ask the King in Yellow…)

I believe that being a parent is one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced.

I believe that being a parent is one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced.

I believe in the police – the specific people I know in law enforcement. I believe them to be good and honorable people. I believe that law enforcement is inherently a difficult occupation because one deals with people at the worst moments in those peoples’ lives.

I believe that we as a nation must change how we Police – meaning our system of law enforcement. I believe that our system of law enforcement and our war on drugs has ravaged our poorest citizens and our citizens of color. I believe that law enforcement officers who believe that they are at war with the people they protect are not going to make anything better.

I believe that competition and free markets drive innovation and progress.

I believe that government should act as a protector in shielding the most vulnerable from exploitation.

I believe that perfection is an impossible and meaningless goal.

I believe that excellence is a goal worth pursuing. No matter what you do. I believe that striving for excellence in any endeavor is worthwhile.

I believe that beliefs are abstract unless people know where you stand. I believe that standing in my pink sneakers lets people know that I support diversity and inclusion. I believe that Captain America would stand with me.

I believe that the best measure of the value of our lives is a simple question: did your actions make the world a better place, no matter how small the change? At the end of it all, if your answer is “yes” you can rest easy.

All of this, I believe.



Filed under Essays

9 responses to “This I Believe


    Great post Todd. Mom-V

  2. Sherry Edwards

    Well said. We need rational voices right now. Thanks for being one.

  3. Well said. I agree with almost all of this. My one quibble would be with the notion that practice leads to improvement. Right practice toward a righteous end, acknowledging feedback along the way, leads to improvement. Practicing badness leads only to more badness…..

  4. Pingback: We The People | TMPinSYR

  5. Annie Antonietta

    Well thought out out and endearing as well. I would say unequivocally that, Captain America is pretty lucky to have you by his side & so are we. Thank you for sharing this, Todd! ♥️ Annie

  6. Sissy Hillenbrand

    Well said. Gives me hope.

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