Success and tenacity go hand in hand.
Dave Cunningham / October 22, 2008
I am a liberal and I like Americans. So please stop stereotyping me as some kind of an anti-everything whacko who wants to kill babies, take your money, raise our taxes and wave a white flag of surrender to our enemies.
What is a liberal? I remember a time, back in the 70’s when we thought it was a good thing. Being liberal meant being open to new ideas. It meant watching out for those in our world who have less than we do. It meant being willing to share our blessings with others.
Unfortunately, for too many, it also meant disrespecting our government and our military. For a small minority of “so-called” liberals, it meant inciting riots and fomenting revolutionary ideas way out on the fringes. These fringe flakes exist in any ideology including conservatism. They have a voice in the national dialog only because they live in a free society. Unless they finally break the law which carries consequences of its own, they are free to run around stirring up trouble for their perceived enemies. But they do not represent most of us.
So, I don’t demonize you for your beliefs. How about a little of the same for me? You’re not evil. Neither am I. You’re smart. So am I. You want what’s best for our families. So do I. You want to protect our freedoms. So do I. You want a thriving economy with jobs for all. So do I.
When we choose criticism for ideas with which we disagree, over tolerance and civilized debate, we do ourselves and our causes a disservice because the substance of the argument is lost in the spectacle. Frankly, I learn more from conservatives who state their arguments, convincingly, than from those who rely on exaggerated criticism of opposing thought.
Why, for example is it wrong to be anti-gun or pro-gun? We both agree on being safe from harm and we see it differently. Truth is, I am not pro-gun, but am a paid member of the NRA because I think that Americans should have the right to collect guns and to hunt. Does being pro-gun, for conservatives, mean that they advocate illegal handguns in the hands of street-thugs? I doubt it.
How about abortion? Does being pro-choice mean being anti-life. Does being pro-life mean being anti-women’s’ rights? Of course not. Again, we can agree that we want healthy children growing up in healthy homes. There is moral agreement on this issue.
Yes, we are free, in this country, to make moral decisions for ourselves. Our moral choices are not always in synchronicity, but does that make any of them wrong? Morality is between us and our own religious and/or spiritual standards. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims have differing beliefs about God. Does that make any of the moral choices wrong? It does not.
Obviously, some choose car-bombings or targeting abortion clinics for violence, these are fringe people. They do not act within the standards of any civilized society, ideology or religion.
Conservatives and liberals disagree on some issues. So what? Even in liberal circles, we have disagreements. At the bottom of it all, we are all pro-American.
I am proud of my liberal label. I also like conservatives. We agree on many things. But mostly, we are on the same team. One of the many beauties of being American is that we can disagree. We can debate issues and find common ground on which to move forward. Let’s start seeing our mutual conservative and liberal glasses as half full rather than half empty.