There is much about life that I don't get. Politicians and the public perceive being a liberal as bad or even un-American. It's time that someone raises the question, what is wrong with being a liberal? If you didn't know better, liberal and leprosy seem synonymous and both to be avoided at all cost. In America today, the worst thing you can be is a liberal. In politics, voters will accept liars, cheats, and the incompetent, but don't be a liberal.
In one of my college classes, a student of mine commented that he liked my teaching style-even though I was an unabashed liberal. He's right. I'm proud of being of liberal and see absolutely nothing wrong with it. Well, there is one thing wrong with the few liberals that are out there. Liberals have been cowed by the conservatives into silence and timidity. They have allowed the right-wing conservatives to intimidate them into cowering in closets on all the major political issues of the day and of many yesterdays. Liberals have a proud past, but they act like wooses in the present.
Journey back in time with me and look at the long list of liberal leaders of the past. Arbitrarily, let's start with Galileo in 1616. His liberal stand stated that the earth revolved around the sun. The conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church brought down the Inquisition upon this liberal. A short three and a half centuries later, the church admitted that their conservative stance was erroneous-a little late for Galileo and the way the church treated him.
Galileo Galilei and Doge of Venice
The Protestant church had its turn with the Salem Witch Trials and the Scopes' Monkey Trial. It wasn't the liberals that were out on witch hunts and then burning anyone upon whom they could get their hands. Finally, the fires of burning New Englanders burned themselves out only to be rekindled by the scientific Luddites in Dayton, TN. Scopes and Darrow carried the liberal banner of academic honesty and struggled against ignorance and conservatism again.
During the run-up to the Civil War, was it the conservatives that fought for abolition of slavery in America? No. In fact, they were the ones defending treating people like animals. The liberals, on the other hand, like William Lloyd Garrison, Fredrick Douglas, Elijah Lovejoy, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and many others fought for the abolition of slavery and against the stasis quo and the conservative base.
When the Civil War finally ended, blacks in the South soon found themselves living under another oppressive system of discrimination enforced by Jim Crow laws. These laws were the result of the conservatives. It took another century before liberals were able to provide civil rights to blacks. Blacks and white liberals ultimately got the civil rights legislation through Congress. However, there is still the vestige of white supremacy seen in America with the flying of the Confederate Flag or decaling of pickup trucks with the Stars and Bars. Conservatives attempt to dismiss this as a symbol of southern heritage and not racism. If you buy that explanation, then the swastika is a symbol of German heritage.
Then there was the Viet Nam War. Who were the protesters who wanted to end the decade-old mistake that cost America billions of dollars and nearly 60,000 American lives? It again fell to the liberals to call for change while the conservatives wanted to protect us from the godless-commies and the domino effect.
Then there is the issue of religion and the state. Which side of the aisle pushes Christianity as the de facto religion of our country in spirit of the Constitution and the Supreme Court? The issue of school prayer still isn't a settled one for the ultraconservatives. Women's reproductive rights are another conservative hot button item. Liberals have always maintained the right of women to choose and not to allow any particular religious position to be pushed upon them.
In addition to reproductive rights, conservatives often link-up with the religious-right in their attempt to place their theological imprimatur upon not only those sharing their religious views but all the rest of America. However, to be fair, these conservatives do become outraged by theocracies around the world attempting to impose religious views upon those societies-while they do the same thing here in the States.
Then there is the matter of big business and the conservative's laissez-faire attitude toward it. One only has to mention Enron and the case is made against the conservatives of corporate America and their conservative friends in government. Then there was WorldCom, Arthur Andersen, AOL-Time Warner, and the list goes on. And, we can't forget big oil either.
Now, I want you to ask yourself the question that Dr. Phil shouts out his patients, "How's that working for you?" Can anyone really affirm that conservatives now or then got the job done? Liberals made America great, but they need to find again their backbone. Conservatism, compassionate or not, isn't blazing the trail into the future, but they have always been the Luddites of society.
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