A passing thought

As the primary season is winding down, and I have struggled with some aspects of my own political identity, I stumbled upon this: Defining Liberalism:

Liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man’s ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves. — Sen. John F. Kennedy (>), September 14, 1960

and this

A liberal is someone who strives for individual freedom and liberty. He believes in enforcing laws, free enterprise, and worker protection. She believes in quality education, nondiscrimination, and environmental protections. Liberals try to use the government to improve the quality of life of American citizens. — Amy Schley, The Missouri Miner

This is a small part of what I believe in. I think the Democratic Party is closer to this than the Republican party–but I keep thinking that another party maybe a closer fit for me.

So, Dear Readers, tell me about your political identity.

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17 thoughts on “A passing thought

  1. Why I am a libertarian:

    I believe that our federal government is too large to effectively manage what it has taken on.

    I believe that centralized control of social programs over such a wide area is bad for our country.

    I believe that the states would more effectively and fairly distribute the wealth of their citizens (because they are more directly under the control of their citizens)

    I believe in the power of the invisible hand in a free market (but at the same time, I recognize that the global economy is not a free market and it is stupid to pretend that it is).

    I believe that legislation is an ineffective way to affect social change.

    I believe that it is unconscionable paternalism for elected officials to tell me what I should believe.

    I believe that the government already encroaches too much on our personal lives. (Look at the controversy over marriage. I rest my case)

  2. I would be a Libertarian if I didn’t think so much of the mainstream Libertarian party was bonkers. (Ok, so a large portion of mainstream politics *period* is bonkers…) I generally believe that the government needs to butt out, particularly of people’s personal lives, and that you can’t legislate morality.

    I’d say more, but it’s 11pm, the AC doesn’t work, and my brain is feeling rather steamed.

  3. Sister AG, sing it loud and proud!

    No worries Debpill about the confusion thing. Liberals have been maligned in this country for being selfish, idealistic, greedy, insincere and just plan wrong-headed.

    Personally, I agree with AG in that we are all in this together. Liberals and Conservatives, Bastards and PapaCows.

    I believe that everyone deserves a fair shot, that communities should be empowered to make their own decision–at the same time, I believe that those decisions should not tyrannize a minority.

    I want government to butt out, yet I also want the government to help keep me safe and to make sure that the playing field is even for everyone.

    While I am at it, I also believe in unicorns.

    More sincerely, I know my beliefs are confused and scattered (I’d argue nuanced, but that’s a different post). I do accept a bit of hypocrisy that is inherent in the human condition. I try to take the dissonance created by the hypocrisy and push myself to do more for my community.

    Saul Alinsky wrote how the struggle for social justice, community, sisterhood and brotherhood (he didn’t use the term sisterhood AG, but I added it to update it), is like climbing a never ending mountain. There are a lot of peaks and valleys, and very few plateaus. The world will never be perfect (unless you subscribe to certain religious traditions) but we can strive to make it more perfect.

    tl;dr version:

    Liberals like their neighbors too.

  4. I do not think that thinking that we are all in this together is the sole nuance of the liberals.

    Honestly, I rarely seen any political party in the country want to include everyone. And, while Liberals are maligned, so are conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, Constitutionalists (sp?) and Socialists. If anything, Americans are united in their ability to throw crap at each other. Making us all like chimps.

    But, yeah, I bristle when I see things like this, because it really appears to preclude the idea that other people with other political ideas are dim-witted neandertals, when that is probably very far from the truth.

  5. I did not say, nor have I ever said, that these ideas are solely liberal.

    I also bristle when I hear things like, “The Republican Party is the party of inclusion,” or “So and So is Too Liberal for us.” There is a basic misunderstanding of liberal ideology and it is constantly attacked by various groups: Fox News, our current administration, certain fundamentalists sects and even people who call themselves Liberal.

    At the same time, liberal’s cannot say they are for community and not treat religious communities with the basic respect due to every human being.

    We are being polarized to prevent reaching common ground.

    When I read your question initially, I thought to myself, “If this was anyone but DebPill, I would be a bit miffed. Republicans are the only ‘Party of Inclusion?'” and I stopped myself. It is a valid question, and it should be taken at face value, even if the intent of such question is to incur a divisive debate. I’m pretty damn sure that your intent was not to cause a nasty debate. Because we come from different, yet similarly hard core positions, or default reactions seem be, “the opposition is trying to say i am wrong.”

    That is not what I am trying to do, and I’d bet you an epic flying mount that you are in the same boat.

  6. It is never my intention to be divisive. It is my intention to get people to think about how they talk about the topic.

    And you are right, the field IS polarized (in my view to a ridiculous extent). It disgusts and annoys me at how much this has hurt the way people talk to each other. Religion and politics really do bring out the worst in people. Yet these are some of the two most fascinating topics in the world.

    It is even harder for someone like me, because I tend to side with “liberals” when it comes to social issues (thought usually for completely different reasons) and “conservatives” with fiscal issues. People like me used to be called moderate Republicans, but with the rise of the religious right a number of us grew disillusioned.

    We are the people that McCain is trying to tap now and a lot of us are flocking to him. Personally, I prefer Obama. If nothing else during this campaign season, Obama has proven himself to be a man who thinks at least partially like I do.

    He has not treated the American electorate as if he was some benevolent and wise father (or mother) figure. Instead, he’s been honest. He has expected his supporters to be able to use their own judgement. I can really respect that and, for no other reason than that, I support him.

  7. I try to watch, and think about, what I am saying. It is one of the reasons why I have avoided talking about Hillary’s candidacy as much as I would have liked. I am not sure I could have gotten it right, nor have I spent a lot of time reading about every point for and against her.

    It takes more than one person to have discourse though. Therefore, when playing the role of reader, we have to be aware of our own biases. That’s why I stopped myself before I got miffed at the question that started the thread. It usually silly to get angry at a question.

  8. Me, I’m in full-on cynical mode (to add to my joy, presidential election years play merry hell with craft sales) and am renewing my usual threat to do a write-in vote for Elvis. He’s dead and therefore likely to do less harm than the other two. *tongue oh-so-firmly in cheek*

    I’m feeling rather Doomed no matter what the election results are.

    More or less in Pill’s camp about politics, though; I’d be a capital-L libertarian if 1) they were a wee bit saner and 2) I thought they had a chance of getting anywhere.

    Obligatory conservative moment here: that ideology gets distorted and attacked as well. The standard chant protesting abortion protesters is evidence enough of that IMO. (“Racist, sexist, anti-gay; born-again bigot, go away!” Um, no. Inaccurate on at least 2.75 out of three, kthx.) And several non-crazy conservatives I know are firmly convinced that JFK would’ve been drummed out of the Democratic Party circa 2005.

  9. I continue to debate leaving the Libertarian party and this may be my last year in it. As much as I hate to move to the vast wasteland of a declared independent, I have to say that I have been none to happy with the Libertarian party as a whole.

    They had a chance when a number of the moderate Republicans were looking for a home, but the party stalwarts simply cannot see reality with their heads so far up their butts.

  10. MommaCow:

    Would it be fair to judge your standard Christian on the Pro-Lifer’s similarly nasty chants at the same rally, or lump them in the same category has Hagee, Falwell or Buchanan? Would it be fair to lump the sane conservative with the same folk who want to put “liberals” in concentration camps (Coulter, Malkin)?

    No, it wouldn’t. What to we gain by comparing the extremes?

    Most circles I travel in would not say that JFK would be drummed out of the DNC circa 2005. I am firmly convinced that Teddy Roosevelt would be kicked out of the Republican Party today–and I’m pretty sure my extended liberal family would agree with me.

  11. Not judging, just saying it happens on both sides. Personally, I’m too much of an introvert to go to rallies or protests unless I have no choice in the matter and/or get thoroughly, thoroughly pissed off. So I don’t have too much experience with ’em up close and personal – my Swinging Bachelorette Apartment was ten stories above the Columbia statehouse, so I got to *see* lots of protests, but fortunately didn’t have to hear ’em.

    Really, it’s like the more arcane subsections of geekery; the ones that get the most notice are the ones you really, really don’t want to be associated with. But you’re right on Teddy Roosevelt. 🙂

    (Also? It could be worse. For the longest time, the only thing that would keep Nublet quiet in the car was the soothing tones of Rush Limbaugh. Not My Fault.)

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