Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I am a liberal
It doesn't really matter what a person says they are; write a few words or in say how you feel about any subject and the recipients will place you in a slot. In Victoria, we only have two slots liberal or conservative. There is that Ron Paul slot, who usually side with the conservatives because it's much more popular. People like to be on the right sides of things. The Ron Paulites are relatively easy to identify; anti taxes, anti government, anti reforms, and spending.
I like to keep things simple, so I can get into the details of the debate. Most of my opponents are convinced that I am a liberal and that's fine with me. It's only when my partisan opponent tries to take the high road when I will call them out for being disingenuous, because we all have a bias and an agenda. It's darn near impossible to convince someone that thinks they are a moderate without any biases. This group thinks they are above the fray. I normally call them the “the mushy middle" or the "Heinz 57," which means that they like to take the good from both sides and apply it to their beliefs.
The ideological labels change their meaning over time and location. Some still think all liberals are the old flower child hippies, tree huggers, war protesters, and are only interested in making this country a nanny state. Others think all democrats are liberals. When we were in Chicago, I remember laughing, when I read a University of Chicago newspaper poll that stated that 95% of the respondents thought Obama was too conservative. I would be a moderate in Chicago. A lot of today's liberals call themselves progressives because the conservatives have done a marvelous job of demonizing the word "liberal" to where politicians usually squirm whenever a pundit calls them a liberal. In Victoria the word "liberal" is always used in a pejorative way. Conservatives are for individual freedom, less government and fewer taxes; while liberals believe that it takes a village, believe in an exclusive government and investing in the future, even if it means more taxes. I think that's a major difference because fiscal conservatives who hate deficits and liberals believe manageable deficits will lead to growth and other immeasurable benefits. i.e. Conservatives will say that high speed rail has failed in the past and cannot support itself. Liberals will counter that saying that relieving the congestion on our major highways and reducing the carbon footprint should be considered in the cost. Liberals have a hard time driving home their message in a struggling economy where everyone is worried about keeping their jobs.
A lot of fiscal conservatives or moderates will say that they are socially liberal, meaning that they accept some form of gay marriage, and are pro-choice when it comes to choose between life of a mother and her unborn child. I think there is a fringe pro-choice group and everyone else is really pro-choice because of the exceptions. I don't know a lot about the subject but that's how I see it.
President George W. Bush threw the word conservatism into the unknown when he borrowed for tax cuts and Medicare Part D (prescription drugs for seniors, bill) and put two wars on the credit card. The Tea Party will also muddy the waters with their version of conservatism. The Tea Party believes in taking a hatchet to the discretionary spending (12% of the budget) but want to leave Social Security and Medicare untouched. They don't mind going after welfare and Medicaid. I think it’s best to leave out these two examples when describing fiscal conservatism.
There it is; I have left myself open for disagreement.