I am sure that some of you, if not all of you, wonder how your son or daughter, brother or sister, mother or father, aunt or uncle, co-worker, or friend could be a political liberal in the midst of this new swell of conservatism in the United States. The answers to that are all too simple.
I am a liberal because the system originated by liberals called Social Security has made my grandparents' retirement more possible and comfortable than it would otherwise have been.
I am a liberal because the system originated by liberals called Medicare paid for my grandmother to have two knees and a hip replaced at a cost that otherwise could not have been borne by all of her children and grandchildren together.
I am a liberal because Medicare paid for my grandfather's operation to remove a cancerous kidney at a cost that would otherwise certainly have forced them to liquidate their assets.
I am a liberal because of that system originated by liberals called WIC a close relative gets food stamps for cheese and milk and other necessities when she needs to feed her children.
I am a liberal because of that system originated by liberals called unemployment insurance permits people I care about to get some help making ends meet when they lose their job through no fault of their own while they look for another one.
I am a liberal because that system demanded by liberals called company-paid employee medical insurance helps pay doctor bills for me and my wife and our children and most of my other close relatives.
I am a liberal because the idea of autonomy of the individual is a liberal idea.
I am a liberal because the idea of political liberty is a liberal idea.
I am a liberal because government by the consent of the governed is a liberal idea.
I am a liberal because the Bill of Rights is a set of liberal ideas which protect us all. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to worship, freedom of the press, due process of law, freedom from torture, the right to face our accusers, the writ of habeas corpus, and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure are all liberal ideas. Most people in the world do not have those rights.
I am a liberal because those liberal ideas in our Constitution give us control of our representatives from the school board to the Senate and President of the United States, give us the liberal idea of checks and balances, and the liberal idea of no taxation without representation.
I am a liberal because the idea of free and equal access to public education is a liberal idea.
I am a liberal because the idea of free markets is a liberal idea.
I am a liberal because the idea of a five day work week is a liberal idea.
I am a liberal because the idea of a strong, well funded and disciplined military under civilian control is a liberal idea, as is the notion of veterans' benefits and military retirement.
I am a liberal because the idea of public maintenance of roads is a liberal idea.
I am a liberal because almost all the progressive ideas of the last four centuries have been liberal ideas resisted by the conservitaves of their times. Those liberal ideas make this a better place to live for me, my family, my community, my country, and my world.
Repudiate liberalism if you must. Just check off the liberal ideas above you're ready to do without.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
i am a liberal
as i sit here and think on matters political, i'll post something here that was written by warren norwood, an author and friend of mine. i've edited slightly. reprinted by permission. over the next few days i may (hope to) write about some stuff that's been on my mind in the political universe over the past couple months.