Lib•er•al—politics; progressive politically or socially: favoring gradual reform, especially political reforms that extend democracy, distribute wealth more evenly, and protect the personal freedom of the individual.
Here we go, when all else fails trot out the label, Liberal, and suddenly the issues don’t matter anymore. When all else fails and you can beat your opponent on the issues, label him a Liberal, because we all know how bad they are. I say Kerry should embrace his Liberal leanings and give speech to that effect.
Here is the Democrats chance to wrest control of the word away from the Republicans and redefine it; make it work for them instead of against them. Make it indistinguishable from the principles upon which this nation was founded, turn it around, and make conservative the label not to be branded with. I have written a little speech Kerry could give, entitled Yes, I am a Liberal.
Yes, I am a Liberal; for I believe in the Preamble to the United States Constitution; that We the People form the central nexus of our government; that liberty and equality are rights ALL Americans should enjoy, that we have come together as a nation to promote the general welfare of the people and society; and that we cannot secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves or our prosperity if we allow fear to dictate our actions at home and abroad.
Yes I am a Liberal; I believe that a leader no matter his stripe should practice humility, embrace integrity, and speak with honesty to the American people and indeed the world at large. A leader should lead with a clear vision of where (s)he wants to take our nation and a wisdom to get us there without violating the underlying principles our Founding Fathers set forth. We are a Republic and because we embrace this form of governance, I believe the President, the Congress, and the judiciary is answerable to you the People; we serve you, you do not serve us.
Yes I am a Liberal; I believe in continually improving the process by which We the People are governed. I believe in an open government that trusts the people with the truth, a government which places the wellbeing of the people above those of the special interests whose sole aim is the furtherance of their narrow agenda at the country’s expense. I believe the business of the United States should not be solely business, but that we as a nation should strive everyday to live up to the principles embodied in our founding documents; indeed they deserve more then lip service and occasional reference for personal gain. And I believe the Pledge of Allegiance should be embraced in its entirety; how can we be One Nation under God, if we do not embrace Liberty and Justice for all?
Yes I am a Liberal; I believe in order to truly make America safe we have to look outside ourselves to other nations and peoples and accept their help in this titanic struggle against the evil of terrorism. We need to embark on a new paradigm one which acknowledges that the enemy is not static; the enemy does not share our principles, nor our values, and that in order to defeat them we must forge alliances that bring to bear not just the might of the U.S. Armed Forces, but the collective will of the world to stop this evil advance. And we must acknowledge that while we embrace the fresh air of freedom, not all peoples welcome it, and while we seek to replace tyranny abroad with the sweetness of freedom, we should ensure that tyranny and inequality remain unwelcome at home.
Yes I am a Liberal; I believe that Health Care for all Americans is a moral obligation, which should not be rationed out like favors, nor held hostage to the whims of the insurance industry, nor the sole responsibly of employers to provide. The government can and should take an active role in ensuring—insofar as possible—that all Americans can count on sound, quality health care for themselves and their families. This is an issue in which all Americans share an equal stake, for sickness and disease makes no distinction between the rich and poor, black or white, city or suburban dweller. And I believe that Americans should not bear on their backs the high cost of prescription drugs; the weight is too burdensome and the cost too high, the stakes for all of us are too severe.
Yes I am a Liberal; I believe that in order to promote the general welfare that those who can afford to pay more should do so willingly, for we are a nation come together to promote liberty and justice for all; I am my brother’s keeper and he is mine. I ask what is more Christian than that time honored principle? And Americans are fond of saying that this country was founded on Christian ethics, but are those ethics being practiced everyday by We the People? Is it moral to allow any American to starve, to go without health care, to live in sub-standard housing, to go to sub-standard schools, to be left behind? I believe that all should work to make their own way in this world, but when a fellow citizen is in need, it is our obligation as a Christian society to offer them a hand up.
Yes I am a Liberal; I have a relationship with God, he is with me when I walk, he is with me when I sleep; he is with me in spirit always. But that relationship is personal, it is my own, and I do not have the right in this free society to legislate my beliefs into law and force you to share them. That is not what a free and equal society is about; that is not the meaning of liberty. The Lord gave men free will, who is man to take it away in his name?
Yes I am a Liberal; I believe that we should pay for our governmental expenses as we go, we should not shift the burden of our reckless spending—and even more reckless tax cuts in this time of war—to future generations. Why should our children and our children’s children be asked to carry a burden we should willingly take upon our shoulders? I believe that in this time of war ALL should be asked to sacrifice, to give back the country that gave us so much.
Yes I am a Liberal; I believe that that man is a steward of this Earth, not its master. And as stewards we have an obligation to preserve the planet and the life that inhabits it in a responsible way, to take only what we need to live, and to leave the planet in better stead than when we found it. Our obligation is not just to the planet but to ourselves and our prosperity. By this measure we must find a balance between robust economic sustainability and responsible environmental stewardship. Global warming, while not exact in its measurement, is sound science and needs to be heeded. All of the world’s peoples deserve clear air, and water; these are not the sole province of Americans. And again, foul air affects the planet as a whole, it will not stop at the border of the United States, and indeed the U.S. is a larger contributor to the whole than any other nation. Shouldn’t we step to the plate and negotiate sound environmental practices with other nations?
Yes I am a Liberal; I believe in International cooperation, I believe in International law enforcement, and I believe in the International criminal court, an organization that seeks to bring to justice those who otherwise escape it. I roundly reject the argument that American soldiers would be hauled before the court and made to answer for transgressions while conducting war. If our soldiers abide by the Geneva Conventions, of which the United States is a signatory, then shouldn’t they be punished? Should Americans be above the reach of International law? How does our unwillingness to discard the failings of arrogance and embrace humility hamper our ability to lead in the War on Terror?
Yes I am a liberal. I believe is it wrong to take this nation to war, to ask our all volunteer military to sacrifice their lives because the President wanted to invade another sovereign nation. It is clear that the President intended to invade Iraq long before 9/11 ever happened, the tragedy was his excuse to invade Iraq, a country he has never proved presented a clear and PRESENT danger to the security of the United States. The 9/11 Commission’s report quashed any credible connection between Saddam and any terrorist organization, and both the CIA, and the recently released Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq’s WMD—the Duelfer Report—made it quite clear that Iraq possessed no WMD in 2001; the sanctions were doing their job in containing Saddam. Who can now offer a credible reason for invading Iraq, a war that resulted in some 1025 American servicemen killed, some 7000 wounded, and untold numbers of Iraqi dead and wounded? Iraq is the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time, Afghanistan is the right war, and it is one we are still fighting because resources were diverted from it to invade Iraq.
Yes I am a Liberal; I believe the conservative movement has done irrefutable harm to this nation and it peoples by seeking to hold on to the past at the expense of the future. Conservatives and the conservatism movement lack vision, and their leaders rule with little if any wisdom. Their policies more often than not fail the American people because they do not hold true to their own values. Conservatives are supposed to be fiscal conservatives and yet the conservative President and Congress have rung up THE largest budget deficit in the history of our nation. Conservatives say they want government out of our lives, and yet they want the government telling us who we can marry, what women can and cannot do with their own bodies, and when we should be allowed to die. Conservatives as a whole as selfish and self-serving, they seek to hold on to their wealth at the expense of the nation as a whole; they champion the individual over We the People, voting for a tax cut in a time of War, when the President calls for sacrifice, but not from rich Conservatives.
Yes I am a Liberal; I believe that a President should be the leader of all Americans not just his base. The President says he seeks to unite and not divide and yet at every turn he speaks the word Liberal as if it were sullied, and the people that subscribe to its tenets as bad. The President said that he wanted to be the President of all the people and yet he has time and again refused to meet with the NAACP and the National Counsel of La Raza despite repeated invitations. And he said he wants to work in a bipartisan fashion and yet he has refused to meet with the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucus’s.
Yes I am a Liberal; to be liberal is to embody what America is supposed to stand for, not what she has come to stand for under the stewardship of the Republicans. To be Liberal is to believe that all people deserve a chair at the table of the American Dream, and not just the folks who can afford the price of admission. To be Liberal is to believe that we need not be isolationist, that we can and must be the leader of the free world, but a leader that leads with humility, intelligence, sound judgment, and wisdom. No we should not cede the defense of the nation to other nations, the very notion is ridiculous on its face, but nor should we rush headlong into War without convincing evidence of a clear and present danger to our nation. Liberals are not the enemy, we are not Godless, we do not seek to rob the rich to give to the undeserved poor; we are Americans who love our country and have and will continue to fight to defend her, against all enemies foreign and domestic.
Having stipulated to the forgoing, my question to President Bush is this: why aren’t you a Liberal? Why aren’t you embracing fundamental American principles? Why are you seeking to divide and not unite Americans in this time of war and shared sacrifice? Why do you not show humility and integrity and tell the American people that you were wrong about Iraq, that it was a war we should not have fought, that people died because the cause was not just and the war was not justified by facts. No man is without fault, and yet you Mr. President are unable embrace yours; is that character trait of a real leader…No