This contribution was submitted by IC who hosts the blog Presidential Politics for America. IC is another colleague of mine, and I think that this entry will certainly encourage our conservative colleague (and blogger in her own right) to fire off a response. Thanks for the contribution, IC. Enjoy.
I was a liberal before I became a Democrat. (For ridiculous reasons, liberal is still a dirty word in politics, and calling oneself a liberal would nearly be political suicide. However, since I’m not running for federal office yet, I’m not holding back.) I’m not proud to be a Democrat as much as I’m proud to be a liberal. Don’t get me wrong; it’s admirable to be a part of the Democratic Party at this crucial juncture in the evolution of the United States. The election of 2006 was enormous, and the election of 2008 will be even more momentous. There is a battle for the soul of America, and one party more than any other has a decent chance of pushing through the liberal agenda. This is why I support, enrolled in, and became an elected official of the Democratic Party. It’s because we represent the best chance to take our country forward in the direction in which I want it to go.
My beliefs formed first and then I chose a political party that most suited that ideology second. Therefore, I am a liberal first and foremost. Being aligned with the Democratic Party is secondary, and I would hope it’s the same for most Democrats. For example, if you were a Democrat and the Democratic Party gradually moved from the left to the center, would you follow? Would you change your beliefs because your political party did? Of course not. Otherwise, your beliefs wouldn’t be yours, but rather a belief of a group that makes up your mind for you. If this is the case, step back and decide what you believe in. Maybe this will help.
Empathy is the barometer of humanity. We care for others; it’s just a matter of how much. Often times, we have no means to make a direct difference in the lives of those less fortunate. That's okay. It’s why we have a government. The good government takes care of its people. But the government can’t do it alone. It needs our help.
Taxes are the way you contribute to a better mankind. You don’t have to give to charity, you don’t have to give a bum on the street a twenty, and you don’t have to volunteer at a community event, though all of the above are welcomed and encouraged.
As a liberal, I support the progressive tax policy. Everyone should pay something, and the richer you are, the more you should give for the good of the many. When did it become okay to give big tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of schools, health care, welfare, and the rest of publicly funded programs that help out those most in need of help? How did this get through our society? Should we not be ashamed that this tax cut for the wealthy happened on our watch?
What is better for America: That a rich man's son doesn’t have to work a day in his life OR that the gifted child of a cleaning lady gets the opportunity for a free, top-notch education? You tell me. Which improves society?
The conservative ideology promotes sink or swim. It’s as if they adhere to the belief that everyone has been given an equal chance in this world, or at least this country. “It’s America, where you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you just work hard enough” and all that nonsense. Well, conservatives, guess how they make something of themselves. They need an education, and the better their education the better their chances for success. But, oh shoot, education is expensive. Towns with control over their school budgets are lowering these budgets at an alarming rate. There are conservative taxpayers who wonder why they have to pay into the schools if their children have already graduated. Of all the ignorance in the world…
I mean, it’s our kids we’re talking about – the future of mankind and the future of American society. I always wondered why town pride doesn’t kick in during these school budget fights. Don’t we want our kids to be the smartest? Don’t we want to give them the best chance at life, at getting wealthy, at being successful? Don’t we want these children, especially our own, to have better lives than we did when growing up? This is why I can never understand the ignoramus who grins from ear to ear because he just bought a brand new $7,000 riding lawnmower but will fight tooth and nail before giving an extra $150 in taxes to get his children and his community's children a better education.
And shouldn’t teachers be among the most respected occupations? And with this respect, should not their salaries be the envy of most other workers? The best salaries attract the best minds. To be against teachers earning more money is to be against the improvement of public education. To be against the improvement of public education is to be against a better tomorrow. The antagonists to public education tear apart the fabric of society. The town could crumble around them and they won’t bat an eyelash because they won and didn’t have a tax increase. These people are more than conservatives – they are terrorists.
And if you, Tom Q. Uberconservative, are just running out the clock on yourself, if you’re just looking out for old number one, if you honestly don’t think everyone in a town of 2,000, 5,000, or 100,000 can’t chip in an extra hundred dollars to pass a school or town budget, then I don’t want to know you. You’re a selfish son-of-a-bitch and I won’t forgive it.
As a liberal, I believe in helping those less fortunate. America’s a great land for many people, no doubt about it. It is undeniable, however, that there is a great deal of citizens in dire poverty across this country. Americans die from starvation, from exposure, and from a premature failure of health. I choose to not let them go hungry. And since I cannot give thousands of dollars to the cause, I want to be part of a society that chips in together and helps.
I believe our government should help these people. Don’t ignore suffering. Many prominent Republicans in America today are proud of their faith and in their following of Jesus Christ, but these same Republicans are quick to go to war, become corrupt in order to stay in power, and not help those in poverty in favor of helping the rich. Hypocrisy doesn’t begin... you know what, let's just say it: If Jesus were alive today, he wouldn’t be a Republican.
The fact of the matter is that some children can never battle out of the poverty they were born into…if they survived that childhood at all. Let's remember that there were ways to prevent this from even happening.
Liberals want to teach kids about safe sex, including why our bodies do what they do during puberty, teaching about sexually transmitted diseases, and putting free condoms in the schools. Conservatives fight this, saying it’s improper to teach these issues in schools. They think teaching kids about sex and giving out condoms are ways to get kids thinking about sex.
Surely we know it’s not sex education that drives kids to want to have sex. In the words of Aaron Sorkin via character Toby Ziegler:
Random conservative: “Show the average American teenage male a condom and his mind will turn to thoughts of lust.”
Toby: “Show the average American teenage male a lug wrench and his mind will turn to thoughts of lust.”
Teaching abstinence will not stop the unmarried from having sex. It’s been proven, though, that teaching abstinence makes it less likely that students will know to use contraceptives, thereby not limiting unintended pregnancies.
Ultimately, kids make mistakes, as do all humans. Our imperfection is well documented. From Napoleon’s March on Moscow to Mariano Rivera blowing four straight saves against the Red Sox, even Greatness blunders. What are we to expect of the layman? Sometimes these mistakes are huge. Sometimes they are unavoidable. Sometimes, there is only one way to correct them.
There are a variety of places to stand on this issue, factoring in causes, trimester count, and other extenuating circumstances. But without a doubt, there are two general camps that everyone will find themselves in. Either there are conditions under which you will support an abortion or there are no such conditions. Either you do not what the government to step in (Pro-choice) or you want the government to make it 100% illegal (pro-life).
Liberals are pro-choice. Rape, incest, poverty, health of the mother, health of the embryo, decision made by the would-be parents…these are reasons to support an abortion. Sometimes, it’s just better that the embryo does not develop. Who are politicians to force a mother to have a child if she does not want it? Roe vs. Wade had it right. The woman’s right to control her body outweighs the rights of an embryo.
Conservatives could not in clear conscious think liberals are fans of abortions. We wish there was a world without abortions, but only if it were a world where abortions weren’t necessary in the first place. This is why (cue yet another connection) we wish to teach our citizens while they’re still young about safe sex practices.
In other words, contrary to what conservatives would have you believe, liberals value life just as much, if not more than conservatives. For example...
Again, Republicans who cite Jesus Christ need to run away from him on this one. He did not say eye for an eye, but rather turn the other cheek.
Even if a person kills someone or many people, is it not enough to keep them away from the society they have wronged by handing them life imprisonment? Why is taking their life justice? In a world where a set of circumstances exist that someone wishes to take the life of another, how can we consciously execute someone, even if they took the life of someone else?
Moreover, all capital punishment prosecutions are not on equal footing. If O.J. Simpson were poor, would he have been founded not guilty? No, the evidence was overwhelming. In the words of Chris Rock: “If OJ drove a bus he wouldn’t even be OJ. He’d be Orenthal the bus driving murderer.”
If an innocent man is poor, he will have awful representation. Therefore, he has a worse chance of escaping conviction. In sum, the richer you are, the more likely you will get off for a crime you are accused of. Does this seem fair? I mean, at all? Especially when we’re talking about cases that could involve capital punishment?
Many rape cases have been overturned once DNA evidence was brought in years later. But how did those unfortunate souls get convicted in the first place? Bad representation. This easily translates to murders and other crimes where DNA might not come into play. Who’s to say all of those are convictions are accurate?
Indeed, American society is not fair on this issue at all. Currently on death row are 1,527 whites and 1,411 blacks, making up 45 and 42 percent of the death row population, respectively. Do 45 and 42 percent even CLOSELY resemble the racial makeup of the United States? No, the United States is currently about 67% white and 13% black. There are too many things wrong with the death penalty if the makeup of death row is so drastically deviated from the American demographic. Either a society has been created where blacks have a higher propensity than whites to commit a capital crime (blame lack of welfare, education, and sex education) or a legal system has been created that arrests and convicts blacks at a higher rate than whites, or it’s somewhere in the middle of those two injustices.
Either way, does it seem fair to continue executing before this is resolved? Not at all. I know of a quote, it’s not mine: “A system that will take life must first give justice.”
It’d be grand if we could cut down on murders. I think liberals and conservatives can stand shoulder to shoulder on this one. Then again…
Guns are bought legally in this country. Someone can look for the gun, buy the gun, buy bullets for the gun, take the gun home with them, load it, then step back into society, and they can do all of that legally. Indeed, they can step back into the society where our children go to those dilapidated schools with underpaid and overworked teachers, they can go into the society where families happily attend their religious ceremony, they can go into the society where a single mother is working two jobs to raise her two children. And until this gun owner aims it at someone and pulls the trigger, they haven’t committed a crime.
I am a liberal, and I want this scenario to never happen. Therefore, I am for the most stringent gun control laws possible. We live in a time where a rogue nation or terrorist cell with a nuclear missile could throw the world for a loop. A microcosm of that is an unpredictable individual with a gun and nothing to lose. Because the rest of us have a lot to lose. We have children, wives, husbands, siblings, parents, girlfriends... So much to lose. And it can be taken away with the pull of a trigger by a gun obtained legally.
I want a government that protects all of us, a government that takes care of both the majority and the minority. It’s meant to be that way from the beginning, from the bicameral Congress to the Bill of Rights.
Protection of Citizens
Clearly, as a liberal, I believe in equality and I believe in assistance. This means I want equality for all Americans, regardless of social status, wealth, race, and sexual orientation.This means that I care for the weak. This means children are promised a good education at a safe place. This means the elderly have medical aid whenever they need it, as well as Social Security. This means our collective contributions (taxes) go towards the public good, i.e. public libraries, public transportation, law enforcement, fire fighting, emergency response, street lights, infrastructure, museums, recreation, and so much more. With a conservative no-to-low tax policy, all of those would gradually crumble into the dust of yesterday. And would society be better without those things? No.
What liberals have done for America
In retrospect, liberals continually improved the United States and have acted in the best interest of human rights. They have fought these low-tax, slow-to-change conservatives in order to improve our society and our culture. Thanks to liberals, we abolished slavery. Thanks to liberals, we have cleaner air and water. Thanks to liberals, women have the right to vote. Thanks to liberals, we’ve improved the rights of all voters. Thanks to liberals, we have Social Security and Medicare, meaning our grandparents have assistance for arthritis and a weakening heart, which keeps them happily in our lives longer. Thanks to liberals, we don’t have to inhale secondhand smoke with our bacon cheeseburger at the local pizza place. Thanks to liberals, our bacon cheeseburger is up to code, as well as the rest of our public food and beverage. Thanks to liberals we have Head Start, which gives a much-needed helping hand to low-income children who have done nothing wrong but be born into a poor family.
Conservatives opposed all of those.
Therefore, I like to think liberals are ahead of the curve. We know what is good for the country and for society. History has proven this. I hope you’re with us. Unless, of course, you're a proponent of segregation, poor public schools, suffering elderly, and dirty air and water. Then maybe the liberal ideology is not for you.