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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Proud American also is proud to be a liberal

I found this article recently published in a local newspaper from a local here (of course, I suppose I'm more moderate with Liberal tendencies, but thought this article was good, none-the-less):

Hudson, N.C. - It's unfortunate that in our country, and especially in our community, being labeled "a liberal" is derogatory. I try to take pride in my beliefs and values, but I feel a slight pinch in my gut when I or someone of like mind is described as "just another liberal."
It's unfortunate not only for people like me, who proudly considers myself a liberal, but for the folks on the other side who see liberals as misguided enough to be labeled in a condescending manner.
We seem to forget that we are all Americans first and foremost. Those brave liberals and conservatives who fight side by side on our battlefields all bleed under the same Stars and Stripes, sworn to uphold the same constitution. Our churches are filled with God-fearing liberals who worship Christ with all their hearts and yet yearn for a more progressive and inclusive nation. Liberals believe in God and the idea that each individual should be allowed complete freedom to decide who God is for themselves without social or governmental pressures to fit a tradition or mold.
Liberals have been instrumental in crafting and defending our basic rights and philosophies since the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Paine's radical "liberal" views included a minimum wage, equal rights for all races and universal public education. All these ideas were considered radical for his time, yet it was his ideas that were instrumental in framing the constitution.
As a liberal, I believe we are a collection of individuals, guaranteed a wide scope of individual freedoms to be who we are. I also believe we are truly a "we" and not just a collection of "I's." We are commonly invested in each other's success and bound to every other person by the idea that founded this nation. We have a moral obligation to look seriously at the issues to ensure our fellow citizens are given opportunity, not just for their benefit, but for ours, too.
I'm proud to be a liberal and proud to believe in the first and 14th amendments' protections against government intervention in religious matters. I'm proud to believe in a fundamental right to privacy and a limitation to government intervention in our individual lives. I'm proud to believe that we should treat our enemies with the dignity and respect we treat each other, as I believe when we torture and deny civil rights to those who have acted against us we forsake our principles and embrace theirs.
I believe it's necessary to have a functional social security, Medicaid and Medicare, and low-income protections against need even if it is inevitable that a small percentage of people will take advantage of the system. I also believe it is many hundred times more egregious for a CEO to greedily take advantage of employees and stockholders than it is for a freeloader to be given unemployment, food stamps and health care even if he is not actively pursuing a better life. The events of the past few months have shown the irresponsible behavior of those with immense financial wealth hurt us all drastically more than the irresponsible behavior of those with little financial wealth.
Liberal does not mean radical; it doesn't mean elite or anti-American. It's a slightly different view on the goals and ideas we all share – a better day ahead for our children and our country.
So remember, the next time you call or get called a liberal, what that really means. And more importantly, remember the person behind the label is a proud American first.

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