I have been a candidate for office, so I guess you could call me a recovering politician. These are my thoughts, right or wrong, they are mine!
I am not ashamed to say that my political views are center to the left. More than one person has called me a liberal.
I am happy to wear that title. I know that many people have taken the term liberal and create a vile image of it.
But give me a moment to share with you what I fell a liberal is and is not.
The problem with having a dialogue today about political terms finds its origin over those that use extremes to make their point. Thanks to exaggerations and lies of Fox, Rush Limbaugh, and all the other airbags on the right, the average right leaning person has a mental image unflattering to liberals. They use extremes to create a picture of the average liberal.
That was done on purpose.
By creating a mental image of what the evil liberal thinks and acts like, merely calling their opponent one slams the door to any meaningful dialogue. To the right-wing pundit, the easiest way to win an argument of ideas lays not in honest debate but playing to a stereotype that conjures up emotions and shuts down reasonable discussion.
I have seen it and witnessed it first hand, we all have. Friends and acquaintances that I have you are more conservative, or even apolitical, use the word as a disease.
And to a large extent, it has worked. The word liberal in America now means:
“someone came along and said ‘liberal’ means soft on crime, soft on drugs, soft on communism, soft on defense and we’re gonna tax you back to the Stone Age, because people shouldn’t have to go to work if they don’t want to.”
The West Wing
This definition fits nowhere near the truth. Sadly, politics by stereotype has always been a go-to tool for those out of ideas.
Shock jock right-wing pundits have gone out of their way over the past 40 years to demonize liberals. To control the narrative, opponents claim that all liberals are communists. All liberals are rabid in gun confiscation. Liberals hate religion and religious people. The left hates anyone with white skin.
The myth continues that liberals are arrogant. The liberal establishment considers the right to be nothing more than gun-toting rednecks who are racists, bigots, and homophobes. To the average viewer of Fox, everything that you love is loathed and threatened by liberals.
Above all, Liberals hate America and all it stands for.
There exists unconditionally no support for this. But no matter, it has worked. Today, people avoid being branded a liberal. Candidates run for office with slogans of, “proud conservative,” or “100% Conservative voting record.” In many circles to stand accused of even one liberal stance, you are facing the embarrassment of a Scarlett “L” on your forehead and the possibility of burning at stake for witchcraft.
By creating the Boogey-man as a Liberal, the Far Right has made every Civil Rights or Equality issue to be less about human dignity and more about human debauchery.
Want equal pay or fair pay? Then you must be a snowflake that is a communist.
Want criminal justice reform? Of course, you do, I bet you also think a criminal has more rights than a victim.
Favor more social spending and a little less defense spending? Then you hate our troops and want to see America weak.
Want equality in our laws? Then your support for same-sex marriage will lead to pedophilia, your Black Lives Matter Movement suggests its okay to murder Law Enforcement Officers, and you want whites to work themselves to death as modern slaves to minorities.
Think that Muslims should be given equal protection under the First Amendment? Then you probably cheered on 9/11 when the Towers fell.
None of those assertions are remotely accurate, but that is how the average Fox News viewer has been conditioned to view Liberals.
As I said, I am a proud liberal. As a child, I believed the exact opposite, but the experience of years have made me reconsider.
It would never occur to me to try and suggest that how I view the term liberal to all liberals. I can only define it as I see myself and how I consider a significant number of liberals I do know.
Most liberals are strong proponents of punishing those that break the laws of our country. I know that I feel that rules exist for a reason. They when written fairly allow for an orderly society that allows maximum safety and maximum freedom.
However, I do believe that a significant number of laws and punishments in our nation need revisiting and rewriting. Fairness in the application is critical. I find it hard to call the laws of this nation fair when a CEO can face Forty months in prison for stealing millions while a homeless man gets 15 years for taking one hundred dollars. Liberals do not want lawlessness; we expect that the guilty should face the consequences.
We just feel that the criminal justice system should apply all the laws equally and fairly
Liberals will be the first ones to admit one fact; the drug war was a complete and utter failure. What makes it worse is that the drug war stems from the fact it was launched by Nixon to go after anti-war protestors, civil rights activists, and anyone that Nixon did not like. Anyone that states that by somehow increasing the minimum sentencing for drug use is without a doubt a misguided fool or worse.
Liberals feel that drug addiction is better solved being treated as a medical problem than a criminal one.
I love the fact that most anytime a discussion on liberal politics comes up the words socialism or communism comes up. The words are used both interchangeably and incorrectly. Let me make this clear, America has never been an unfettered capitalist society. There has always existed a sense of socialism. Before I go on, let me clear one thing up, socialism is not the seizure of property to benefit the state. If done correctly, the state is not even involved. Socialism as an economic theory is merely groups of individuals coming together for the common good.
So that volunteer fire department you call is a socialist cooperative. Any employee-owned business is a socialist system. Social Security and Medicare; Trade Unions and even a Chamber of Commerce. Anytime you sit down with a group of individuals to share the wealth or burden in an economic pursuit or to effect economic change; you are engaged in socialism.
I cannot think of a redeeming quality of communism, and oppose it. I believe firmly in private property rights and the right to make a living as I see fit. Most liberals do.
Liberals feel that the individual should have the right to own property and to dispose or maintain it in any responsible manner they see fit.
Knowing as many veterans that I do that are liberals, the accusation of being soft on defense has always confused me. Most liberals do understand the need for strong national defense. However, I feel a tingling in the spine, a catch in the throat, a sense of pride when I see our troops in uniform, our ships on the high seas, our jets in the air.
For an active military, John Kennedy said it best when he said,
For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.
I am also proud of the humanitarian works our military does. Ships of war, bringing life-giving supplies. Men and Women trained to destroy, rebuilding destroyed communities.
I do not think I speak for only myself when I feel that there needs to be a genuine national security interest to send our troops into harm’s way.
Liberals feel that if the blood of those that put their lives on the line is to be spilled, let it be for more than oil profits.
I know very few people, conservative or liberal who loves paying higher taxes. I want to keep as much money that I earn as I can to spend as I see fit. However, taxes are a necessary evil to finance the needs of government. Where conservatives and liberals differ are in the amounts raised and where they are spent. I want smooth roads, police protection, fire protection; There should be money for defense, space exploration, national parks, and a host of other ventures.
But ask me if I would be willing to pay another $5000 for universal health care? Of course, I would. Currently my wife and I between her premiums through her job, and my premiums we spend roughly a thousand a month. I already pay a $12,000 a year insurance “Danegeld” for my health. If you were to tell me that I would receive the same or better coverage for seven grand less, my only thought would be
Where do I sign up?
I do not mind paying higher taxes for better services. However, I do want the government to be responsible for the money it spends. High Congressional salaries, bloated government agencies that should be consolidated and downsized. Our government from the Federal level to the state level is bloated and full of waste.
Liberals support a tax rate that pays for a government that does the will of the people.
Like most people, I am incensed over the very idea that someone who is capable of working finding a loophole in the system and living an idyllic life. I was taught at an early age only to take things that were yours or what you were rightfully entitled. Being a person who has a missing foot and health problems, it would be nice to sit back and let society take care of me.
But why would I want too? Why give up my life for a state bought slavery system?
It makes no sense.
But modern society needs social welfare programs. There are way too many families trying to survive on two income minimum wage jobs. Even with both parents working (and many households only have a single parent), it is impossible to meet even the basic of needs. Therefore, I do not mind helping a struggling family afford to pay their rent, or buy groceries.
Liberals do think that people who can work should, but that there should be jobs that pay a decent wage.
The common sense of being Liberal
I do not think that being a liberal is a badge of shame. Quite the opposite.
I support the ideals of an equal society, a just society that liberals should and do stand for. I think that the government should work for the people, but the people should also be involved. Liberalism should and in my opinion is not about pushing down one person to lift up another. But a rising tide that lifts all boats.
To quote West Wing one last time,
Yes, a liberal Republican, Senator. What happened to them? They got run out of your party. What did liberals do that was so offensive to the liberal party? I’ll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation.
Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.
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