A definition of liberalism sans Bush bashing

“Mommy, what’s a liberal?”

“Liberals are what cause all bad things to happen. Those latte-sipping, wishy-washy, East Coast, tax-and spend, elitist bastards are trying to destroy our country.”

How many times have you heard this conversation? OK, maybe not many, but regardless, this is the view that many people have regarding progressives and liberals.

Too many people view progressives as elite, and too many people view progressives as weak, unprincipled and ineffectual.

As the very popular conservative pundit/author, Ann Coulter, states, “Inasmuch as liberals have no morals, they can sit back and criticize other people for failing to meet (certain) standards.” And Coulter sells millions of books attempting to legitimize this claim.

Unfortunately, there are very few voices out there fighting against this misconception. I would like to offer such a voice.

A liberal is a believer in compassion, equality, democracy, government protection and defense, ethical economics and business, liberty and fairness.

These ideas, these values, may be a bit broad, but I will clarify. As a brief aside, there will be no Bush-bashing here. I simply desire to remind everyone what a liberal really is.

A liberal believes in compassion. Liberal compassion comes in many forms. It can come in a monetary form, lending a helping hand to those in time of particular need. It comes in personal form, as a man or woman helping another rebuild that which has been lost or destroyed.

A liberal believes in equality and fairness; equality in taxes, in education, in job opportunity and in health care. The religion, creed, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, cultural background or any other human-made separator-label should have no influence on the way a person is treated, whether that treatment is by law or otherwise.

A liberal believes in democracy and liberty. Freedom, on which our country was founded, is a fundamental part of liberal values. And fair governmental process is equally important. The freedoms we have should be supported and advanced by our democratic government. A liberal fights if those freedoms are being oppressed and the people who believe in them are being silenced. And if they’re being oppressed by government, then a liberal will fight.

A liberal believes in protection from our enemies! Yes, believe it or not, we do believe in a strong military defense force. But we want it to be a defense force, not a weapon to be used to frighten those who don’t agree with us.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a liberal believes in truth! “Veritas vos liberabit!” The truth shall set you free! Truth, beyond anything else, is the most important aspect of a government for the people.

In order for a people’s government to exist, the people must be told the truth. There cannot be anything more important, more paramount, than this.

These are the values of the liberal. May “liberal” no longer be a slanderous term, one that is spat venomously at those who wish to promote change.

If you follow any or all of these beliefs, please, be proud to call yourself liberal.

Information from – yaf.org, Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate – the Essential Guide for Progressives; by George Lakoff