|Okay, Edwards tuned out to be a slime ball.|
So: If I'm liberal, does that make me a bad person? Many of my friends are conservatives and I still like them.
I guess I'm confused.
Part of the problem with being a liberal in 2012, is that liberals lost a grip on the discussion when we let far-right types start to define us. You can't use the "N" word in polite company these dasy; but you can vilify opponents by sneering, "He's a liberal." Too often, that epithet means, even to people who ought to know better: unpatriotic, advocating socialism/communism, and big, big fans of more government. Our foes see us not as honest doubters, but in an evil light, as "union thugs," "libertards," "zombies" and the like. In the mind of Sarah Palin, I'm afraid, we're not even really Americans.
Oh yeah, and God is on the conservative side, too.
I've got nothing against God, if He's listening, by the way. But I'm a liberal in part because of my roots as an American history teacher. I love the U. S. Constitution as much as any conservative, maybe even more than Michelle Bachmann. A liberal, defined in the proper sense, I believe, is a person "favoring individual liberty and political and social reform." Or, as I used to explain to students, a liberal looked at the world, saw problems, and "wanted to make the world better." You could make a rather tidy argument that the Founding Fathers were "liberals" themselves. (And yet: conservatives love to claim a lineal descent from Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Franklin and Hamilton.)
Let me stress then, that I am both a liberal and a huge, huge fan of Founding Fathers Gunning Bedford Jr., Richard Dobbs Spaight and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, too.
In fact, I believe the Bill of Rights, alone, assures the Founding Fathers a glorious place in history. It's the devil in the details of what those rights mean, that divides us today.
We live in perhaps the freest society in human history and conservatives want to insure that it remains that way. So, for example, they fear any kind of gun control. They believe our nation is rooted in Judeo-Christian teachings. In both positions they are likely half right, at least.
So why am I a liberal? Well, liberals are full of doubts and prone to question accepted social and religious thinking. I know Massachusetts required tax support of an established church long after the U. S. Constitution was approved. I know that when the Irish began pouring into this country in the 1840s they were seen as a threat to the American way of life, with their funny religious ideas. I know Mormons were driven out of New York, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois by conservatives who despised their faith, that their founder, Joseph Smith was murdered. It wasn't liberals--who have honest doubts about religion--who did it, by the way.
I remember, more recently, when conservatives said John F. Kennedy couldn't be president because of his Catholicism and his insidious ties to the pope. That very thought ought to make Mitt and Newt and Rick Santorum sit bolt upright in their beds at night. I mean: are those three boys actually liberals, believing as they do, that any person of any faith can run for president? Do they just not know what liberal ground they stand on?
Are they liberals, still hiding in the closet? My god, what's next?
A Muslim president?
I'm old enough to remember the U. S. Supreme Court decision in 1965, overturning Connecticut law, rooted in religious thinking, which held that sending birth control information through the mail was the equivalent of sending pornography through the mails. I remember the Loving decision, too, which overturned laws in several states, banning interracial marriage. I remember conservatives standing in college doors and vowing that no Negro would ever enroll at the University of Alabama, except maybe over a few conservative dead bodies. So, I'm a liberal. I think if Trent Richardson wants to tote the pigskin for the Crimson Tide, well, then, he's entitled.
In other words, liberals have often stood against big government and conservatives have often stood for it. I know Newt and some of the folks on the conservative end of the spectrum believe gay-rights activism is going to undermine the American way of life. But I'm a liberal and tempted to call that paranoia. I'd like to point out that in the Old Testament both sodomy and adultery were equally offenses in God's eyes and adultery was meant to be punished with stoning.
Newt, be thankful, Man on the Moon GOP presidential candidate (and, yes, Perfect Hair John Edwards, too), that liberals triumphed on that issue long ago.
We might also consider Ms. Michele Bachmann, the rightest of the right candidates in this primary season. I seem to remember that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were liberals when they launched the fight for womens' rights in 1848.
In fact, if you believe women should be assertive, and that they can work for a living, and that they don't have to get married, yep, Ann Coulter, you, too, are a flaming liberal.
It's funny, actually, because Representative Bachmann is probably the biggest fan of the Founding Fathers now alive. Yet, in 1789, even those god-like men could not determine how far liberty truly extended. Unlike Representative Bachmann, I might point out the Three-Fifth's Compromise, which said five slaves equaled three whites in determining state population for purposes--oh, the irony--of state representation in Congress. I also note the absence of the word, "women" in the document; conservative thinking at the time having no doubt that, like gay people in conservative thinking today, females were second-class citizens.
|Some people serve heroically.|
Others serve in their own fashion.
The blogger in "action."
Actually, you don't have to go that far back to argue that liberals are Americans in good standing. Liberals, again, are full of doubt--even when it comes down to the matter of "patriotism." A good liberal might argue that if "patriotism" is always right, then Hitler's followers were right and those flaming liberals, Robert E. Lee and Jeff Davis were traitors and probably flag-burners outright. That concept ought to make a few heads in conservative South Carolina spin.
I enlisted in the Marines, myself, in 1968 and volunteered to go to Vietnam, twice. (I wasn't sent, though, and maybe this actually proves conservative thinking that all liberals are dumb).
In fact, I love America for what it stands for: freedom for all. I didn't cry liberal tears when we were attacked on 9/11, I cried red, white and blue. And I thought, in 2003, that conservatives idealogues were wrong to drag us into war in Iraq, when Osama bin Laden was hiding farther east.
I hated to see good American boys, of any religion or political persuasion, die, when I thought our government had made a mistake. See: I don't trust big government, either.
Hell, I remember Watergate.
I'm not saying I was right about everything, of course. I'm a liberal; and liberals always have those doubts. But I didn't like the idea that some conservatives blamed all Muslims for the 9/11 attack by 19 followers of that faith, either. I taught history, you see; and I remember that we locked up 110,000 Japanese-Americans, including 77,000 U. S. citizens, after Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. Call me a "libertard," I guess, but when I hear people say that all Muslims are terrorists, I think it's like saying Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich bear guilt for the Irish Republican Army bombings in Belfast in the 80s.
The way I see it, you don't have to be a conservative to be a very good American.