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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dear Conservative, You Need Those Lilly Liberals


 

It is obvious that much of the general public considers the center left weak, too trusting, and starry-eyed. Conservatives often view them as the enemy of democratic government for their liberal views. The majority of those on the right consider themselves to be the bedrock of the country. Many actually think liberals intend to destroy the Constitution, the nation and even the Heavenly kingdom.

While people call for uniting America after a close election, it seems that any “uniting” to which they refer means that the “other side” must do all of the compromising. In the waning days of 2016, we find ourselves living in a sick and divided political climate full of uncertainty and distrust of opposing views. With Republican control in the White House and in the Congress, liberal Democrats have become the primary target of conservative wrath. They see their mission as rightful vengeance under Donald Trump.

But …

I must tell you the nation needs liberals. It needs them more than ever. America needs them as a source and inspiration for fundamental, progressive ideas, and it needs them as a system of checks and balances to guard the Washington hen house. With one party in charge, the nation stands in danger of overwhelming bias and cloaked, partisan dealings.

You, the staunchest conservative, must have your liberal comrade by your side as you attempt to govern fairly with utmost equality. You must respect his opinion and seek to compromise while moving the nation forward. The recent record of stalemate and inactivity in Congress is atrocious. The government is for all people, not just for one political party. Control should not dictate singularity of direction.

Let me tell you why you must have the liberal Democrat. That person represents half of your political conscience and half of your concept of true equality. You say you are rock solid in your platform, but let me remind you that recognizing and working with the opposition represents what is good and right. In fact, walking in the liberal's shoes is your elected duty.

Consider the following …

As you say human life begins at conception and all abortion is the murder of a human being, a liberal says a woman has the right to decide what happens with her body and the decision to have an abortion is a personal choice of a woman. He adds that the government must protect that right.

When you point out that people should be hired for jobs based on their ability, and you say it's unfair to use race as a factor in the selection process, a liberal reminds you that minorities have been deprived of the same educational and employment opportunities as whites. She states that racism still exists and minorities still lag behind whites in all statistical measurements of success.

As you say the death penalty is a punishment that fits the crime of murder, a liberal says that capital punishment is inhumane, a cruel and unusual punishment that risks killing an innocent person – the grossest injustice of all.

While you confidently announce that the free market system and private enterprise create the greatest opportunity and the highest standard of living, a liberal says a market system in which government regulates the economy is best because the government is motivated by public interest and this interest protects citizens from the greed of big business.

When you believe school vouchers create competition and improve performance, a liberal states that public schools are the best way to educate students and the government should put additional funds in existing schools, raise teacher salaries, and reduce class size.

As you say it is morally and ethically wrong for the government to fund embryonic stem cell research, a liberal counters that such research is necessary (and ethical). The government should fund embryonic stem cell research to assist scientists in finding treatments and cures for diseases because an embryo is not a human and experimenting on embryos/embryonic stem cells is not murder.

When you defend oil, gas, and coal as good and abundant sources of energy, a liberal reminds you that oil is a depleting resource and that the government should be committed to a national plan for all energy research and production while considering subsidies for alternative energy research and production.

When you state that neither euthanasia nor physician-assisted suicide should be legalized because it is immoral and unethical, a liberal counters with the belief that a person has a right to die with dignity, by his own choice and that it is wrong for the government to take away the means for a terminally ill person to hasten his death.

As you say global warming is nonsense and believe laws to reduce carbon emissions will do nothing to help the environment, a liberal says science proves you are wrong and the government must enact initiatives to reduce carbon emissions because the U.S. produces 25% of the world's carbon dioxide.

While you tout your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and say there are already too many gun control laws that do not lower gun crime rates, a liberal reminds you that the Second Amendment is specific to keeping a militia (National Guard) and that additional gun control laws are necessary to stop gun violence, close gun purchase loopholes, and limit the availability of guns to criminals.

When you believe in competitive, free market health care and denounce free and low-cost government-run programs saying that they result in higher cost and poorer care, a liberal says he believes that every American has a basic right to affordable health care and the government should provide equal health care benefits for all because millions of citizens simply can't afford adequate protection.

While you declare profiling and intelligence data should be used in homeland security, a liberal says using ethnicity is discriminatory, and terrorists don't fit a profile.

When you are opposed to amnesty for all those who enter the U.S. illegally and support mass deportation while wishing to stop birth citizenship, a liberal believes it is unfair (and too costly) to arrest millions of undocumented immigrants, send them back, and tear their families apart.

While you argue that the phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution and God should be acknowledged in schools and public buildings, a liberal reminds you of the Bill of Rights and its implication of a separation of church and state because government should not support religious expression in any way or favor any one religious group.

As you say that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and that sanctioning same-sex relationships violates moral and religious beliefs, a liberal says that same-sex marriage should be legal for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals to ensure equal rights for all and that prohibiting same-sex citizens from marrying denies them their civil rights.

When you say Social Security must be made more efficient through privatization and/or allowing individuals to manage their own savings, a liberal believes the Social Security system should be protected at all costs and a reduction in future benefits is not a reasonable option.

When you state that lower taxes and a smaller government with limited power will improve the standard of living for all, a liberal states higher taxes, primarily for the wealthy, and a larger government are necessary to address inequity and injustice in society. That liberal supports a large government to provide for the needs of the people and create equality. He believes that taxes enable the government to create jobs and provide welfare programs for those in need.

As you say the United Nations has repeatedly failed in its mission to promote world peace and human rights, a liberal says the United States has a moral and a legal obligation to support the UN and the U.S. should defer to the UN in military/peacekeeping matters.

While you believe that terrorists must be stopped and destroyed and that we must remain unfriendly to the Muslim world, a liberal thinks that good diplomacy is also a viable way to deal with terrorism. She believes relying solely on military force to defeat terrorism creates hatred that leads to more terrorism.

When you oppose long-term welfare and believe that it is far more compassionate and effective to encourage people to become self-reliant, a liberal sees welfare as a safety net which provides for the needs of the poor and often acts as a means to bring fairness to American economic life.

Reality of Political Decision

Considering the complexities of any important issue, all pros and cons of an argument must be considered. In the vast majority of decisions to pursue a solution, compromise produces stronger, fairer results. Then, a firm commitment by all parties can be established – a solution that benefits all citizens.

A settled resolution to a problem requires the ability to “agree to disagree.” When both parties are able to truly listen and attempt to respectfully understand the position of the opposing party, they can often come to accept their disagreements. The parties in conflict – in this case, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats – must suspend their anger, resentment and dissatisfaction to reach a solution benefiting the common good.

To be sustainable, resolutions to conflicts must satisfy the community which they serve. Be it a verdict for a town, a state, or a nation, establishing unity under rule requires that consideration for all sides be addressed with equality and justice. Liberals are vital parts of the engine that governs the free.

 

Footnote

Recently, I have entered into argument about the meaning of the word liberal in modern politics. Most people use the term in a very general sense. Perhaps a look at the etymology can be illustrative of the denotations and connotations ascribed to this word.

Liberal was used 16c.-17c. as a term of reproach with the meaning "free from restraint in speech or action." The Enlightenment revived it in a positive sense "free from prejudice, tolerant, not bigoted or narrow," which emerged 1776-88. In 19c. often theological rather than political, opposed to orthodox, used of Unitarians, Universalists, etc.

“Purely in reference to political opinion, 'tending in favor of freedom and democracy,' it dates from c. 1801, from French libéral. In English the label at first was applied by opponents (often in the French form and with suggestions of foreign lawlessness) to the party more favorable to individual political freedoms. But also (especially in U.S. politics) tending to mean 'favorable to government action to effect social change,' which seems at times to draw more from the religious sense of 'free from prejudice in favor of traditional opinions and established institutions' (and thus open to new ideas and plans of reform), which dates from 1823.”

(“Liberal.” Online Etymology Dictionary. 2016.)

“This is the attitude of mind which has come to be known as liberal. It implies vigorous convictions, tolerance for the opinions of others, and a persistent desire for sound progress. It is a method of approach which has played a notable and constructive part in our history, and which merits a thorough trial today in the attack on our absorbingly interesting American task.” 
--Guy Emerson, The New Frontier, 1920
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