A description of a liberal democrat and beliefs making the rounds is a very nice generic start. After posting it to my own Facebook page I decided tweaking to more accurately reflect my thoughts was worth a few minutes. Most credit to the original, unknown, writer.
Let’s break it, down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every Liberal is the same, though the majority of Liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:
1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly face neglect. Period.
2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that’s interpreted as “I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all.” This is not the case. I’m fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it’s impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes “let people die because they can’t afford healthcare” a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. For profit healthcare ruled by for profit insurance agencies must stop. And no, I’m not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen.
3. I believe education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I’m mystified as to why it can’t work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five or six-figure debt.
4. I don’t believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don’t want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist.
5. I don’t throw around “I’m willing to pay higher taxes” lightly. I’m a father of four with years of child expenses ahead. If I’m suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it’s because I’m fine with paying my share as long as it’s actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare.
6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn’t have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live.
7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. By the way, prayer in school is NOT illegal; compulsory prayer in school is, and should be, illegal. All I ask is that Christians recognize my right to live according to my beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate their scripture into law, I’m not “offended by Christianity”. I’m offended that you’re trying to force me to live by your religion’s rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law, something that doesn’t actually exist, on you? That’s how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don’t force it on everyone else.
8. I don’t believe LGBT people should have more rights than you, just believe they should have the same rights as you. I don’t believe women should have more rights than men, I believe they should have the same rights. And no, I do not believe minorities should have more rights that you, I just believe they should have the same rights. Notice a trend?
9. I don’t believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN’T WHAT THEY DO Spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they’re supposed to be abusing, and if they’re “stealing” your job it’s because your employer is hiring illegally or you are unqualified for your position. I’m not opposed to deporting people who are here illegally, but I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc. It is not a black and white issue, it’s complicated to handle humanely.
10. I don’t believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED protections to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It’s not that I want the government’s hands in everything. I just don’t trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products/practices/etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those protections in place, consumers have recourse if they’re harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation.
11. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I’ve spent too many years reading and learning about dictators and fascism to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past.
12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege, white, straight, male, economic, etc. must start listening, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that’s causing people to be marginalized.
13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. Many of us own guns or are sportsmen. What I am interested in is sensible policies, including universal background checks with no loopholes. I’m interested in seeing military-esque and tactical gear stay in the hands properly trained military and law enforcement. I am interested in keeping weapons out of the hands of mentally ill. Some of that just MIGHT save one person’s, perhaps a toddler’s life, by the hand of someone who should not have a gun. (Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine).
14. I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you’re using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person?
15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else. I believe the playing field between fossil fuels and renewables must be leveled, the massive tax incentives for oil reduced or minuscule rebates for renewables increased.
16. I believe that women and minorities should not be treated as a separate class of human. They should be paid the same as men and non-minorities who do the same work, should have the same rights as men and non-minorities, and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be?
17. I believe in our law enforcement agencies and that they are filled with people ready to put their lives on the line daily. These same agencies are also plagued by more problems than most allow themselves to realize. Example: This year at current rate, over 1,200 people will be killed by our police forces, over 1/2 of them unarmed. This is unacceptable and deserves time and attention to fix. We must remove the stigma that mentioning these problems means you are anti the men and women of law enforcement.
18. I believe for profit prison systems, with promised occupancy rates, and underpinned by a for profit bail and bond system is wrong. These mechanisms produce incarceration rates unequaled in developed nations and result in people not convicted of any crime sitting in prisons for days, weeks, even months and years. Prisons are a necessary evil, massive profit driven motives make them vehicles of greed and corruption.
19) Can we just legalize marijuana already? It is less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. It is less addictive than alcohol or tobacco. There is not one recorded case of marijuana overdose ever. Legalize it, tax it, and immediately release every person in prison on a marijuana only charge. The economic windfall can go towards actual addiction programs and other social causes.
20) Last, but certainly not least, not one liberal democrat, NOT ONE, wants babies killed. We live in a world where pregnancies are unplanned, not all are viable or healthy, not every woman has equal access to healthcare, the foster system is broken, adoptions are expensive and difficult, drug addiction exists, woman live in abusive relationships, sexual assault is a daily terror, contraception access is unequal, and social assistance systems are inadequate. We want to end the reasons women would seek abortion, and let that end the debate in a positive, socially advantageous way.
I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I’m a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn’t mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don’t believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.