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Why I'm A Proud Liberal

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With the United States more and more divided between political leanings between the right and the left, it seems important for a loyal American to take a stand on whichever side he or she resides.

My stand is as a liberal in the truest sense of the word. There are good and historical reasons I embrace liberalism.

The main reason I am liberal is because every political position I hold has a solid base in the United States Constitution. It should be remembered by all that this nation was founded by freethinking, progressive, intellectuals (i.e. liberals), who were formed by 18th-century Enlightenment, and the nation continues to reflect liberal ideology in its Constitution.

The Revolutionary War to gain freedom from Great Britain was the product of liberalism; conservatives of the day ~ then known as Tories ~ opposed the Revolution, even going as far as abandoning America to take sides with Great Britain. Some even served in the British military during that war. The most-famous Revolutionary-era American Tory or Tory sympathizer whose name is remembered today is Gen. Benedict Arnold.

Conservatives opposed the US Constitution when it was written, many at the Constitutional Convention refused to sign the document before it was submitted to the people for ratification. After ratification, many conservatives then opposed the Bill of Rights. Liberals supported both.

Conservatives tried to divide the nation, starting the Civil War to preserve slavery in the South. Liberals saved the union.

Conservatives opposed labor rights in the 20th Century just as they have opposed civil and equal rights, voting rights for all, privacy rights. Liberals championed all those rights.

Conservatives should be resisted because they want:

* Government to regulate reproduction through abortion laws; and when those laws fail in court, right-wingers try other laws to regulate the speech of pregnant women, their care providers and advisors. (Regulation of reproduction is found mainly in Communist China and the Mideast; it is not a feature of Western civilization.)

* To regulate other persons' speech, especially of homeless persons publicly begging for handouts, just as they regulated political speech during the anti-communism hysteria of the Cold War.

* Regulation of matters of thought with silly anti-communism laws and actions that punished people for thinking differently from the majority (i. e. the McCarthy era and its resultant Blacklists).

* To regulate associations or gatherings, as they did during the civil-rights struggles of the 1960s ~ even going so far as implying the Constitution's provision for equal rights is communistic.

* Government in the spiritual lives of Americans by using public schools to conduct religious services. (The political right constantly argues that public schools are incapable of delivering a decent education to children, but then wants the same schools to provide spiritual guidance.)

* Governmental control of some Americans' love lives through regulation of sexual preference ~ most Righties want government to punish homosexuals for demonstrating love for each other. Right-wing politicians regulated personal relationships in the past by outlawing the marriages of blacks to whites (mostly in the South), Caucasians to Asians (mostly on the West Coast) or other mixed-race unions.

* To regulate how we die. Examples are the widespread approval by Righties of Michigan's imprisonment of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who became famous assisting people who decide for themselves they want to die, and the never-ending quest of the right to overturn Oregon's Death With Dignity Act that allows physician-assisted dying for terminally ill Oregonians, and which was repeatedly put into place by the people themselves. (The state government's power to control medicine may be restricted to regulation of commerce, so it is questionable if it has jurisdiction in noncommercial matters such as suicide, assisted or otherwise.)

In 1993, a Righty politician in Oregon claimed she wanted to fight crime by having government compel all Oregonians to have a gun and ammunition in the home, just as Kennesaw, Ga., did 12 years earlier, even though governments usually do not have powers to force citizens to take such actions. The right supported sheriffs in some Western localities in 1996 when those law-enforcement officers challenged the Brady Law's requirement that sheriffs conduct background checks for criminal records of would-be gun buyers but have argued for years that local school administrators enforce federal immigration policies by denying education to children of illegal immigrants, even if the children are United States citizens by birth, and such action would subvert the Constitution's principle of equal protection of the laws for all persons that the Fourteenth Amendment requires of all governments below the federal level.

Right-wingers loved it when a Virginia judge used the power of the state to intrude into the family to take a child from his mother because she was born a lesbian and had never demonstrated any reason to think she was an unfit parent.

Right-wingers in Congress and in state legislatures have tried legislation telling states they don't have to recognize unions of gay persons from other states even though the Constitution says in Article IV that, "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State." (A simple law can't authorize state governments to subvert this constitutional principle.)

The right misused government by having National Guard troops and police and sheriff departments act as goons to try to deny labor rights and livable wages to working-class people ~ many of whom were killed in the process ~ early in the 20th century.

The worst misuse of government power was forcing segregation of the races in society following the Civil War in order to deprive millions of people ~ mostly black ~ the opportunity to participate in the general welfare of society. Many jurisdictions refused to prosecute murderers of black Americans even when the evidence was airtight. Those few that might try to prosecute found their efforts wasted by all-white conservative jurors who would never convict a white murderer of a black person no matter how heinous. The misuse of governmental powers destroyed the lives of millions of Americans. Many problems of the modern nation can be traced to such misuses of authority by right-wingers.

None of these conservative positions are supported by the United States Constitution, indicating the hatred the right held for that document in the 18th Century is as alive and as strong now as it was then.

Right-wingers claim they are opposed to "Big Government," but government is never bigger than when conservatives hold the power. Rather than fear Big Government, we all should fear the Big Brother and/or Bigoted Government that conservatives bring.

What is confusing is that people who call themselves "libertarians" who want to reign in government power usually vote for the right's lies when their governmental philosophy is closer to liberalism than to conservatism. They need to be converted. Americans like to joke about oxymorons, such as "jumbo shrimp" and "military intelligence." Add another: "libertarian conservative."

Conservatism has gained the upper political hand in the past several decades because of its domination of talk radio, where liberalism struggles to gain a foothold. That's because conservatives listen to radio; liberals read.

Some people say the Democratic Party is not a liberal party because they count noses and can't find an overwhelming number of hard-core, uncompromising liberals. The Democratic Party also contains some conservative members who are reluctant to accept change; and under that definition, I have a conservative streak because I refuse to accept change to the meanings of our constitutional principles; but I never call myself a "conservative." Criticism is often leveled at the Democratic Party for being unable to mount a solid front to advance its programs. That is true, because each single liberal thinks for him/herself and is not easily herded into a single mindset as is a conservative in the Republican Party.

Liberalism is the belief in progress, fairness, equality, open-mindedness, justice not vengeance, welfare of the whole not just the few, and restricting government action to those areas in which the Constitution authorizes government to exercise power. The Democratic Party can, and does, represent those ideals even though it doesn't have enough fire-breathing liberals to suit some people. By this definition of liberalism, I am not only a liberal and democrat, but a Damn Democrat.

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***************************************************** Thomas Bonsell is a former newspaper editor (in Oregon, New York and Colorado) United States Air Force cryptanalyst and National Security Agency intelligence agent. He became one of (more...)
 

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