When Did Being Liberal Become A Bad Thing?
I am a self described Liberal. I believe in the power of government to do good without infringing of individual rights. I believe in protecting our environment, regulating the market and defending a woman's right to choose. I believe in equal opportunity for all and believe our public schools should be like cathedrals and our teachers should make six figure salaries. So, when did these views, classfied as liberal, become such a bad thing in America?
When you look back through American history, Liberals have been at the forefront of change in America. Our founding fathers were liberals in the classical sense. Washington, Adams, Madison, Jefferson and the other founders were moving away from a centralized government to form a government of the people. Sure, they weren't perfect, but their ideals were liberal and the liberal values that formed America changed the world.
Lincoln was a liberal. Yes, he was a Republican. But Republicans in Lincoln's time were considered the liberal party. Despite Lincoln's upbringing and the world around him, Lincoln put forth the ideals of equal opportunity for all and his legacy lives on today.
Teddy Roosevelt was a liberal. How do we know? Because one of his greatest legacies was the busting up of corporate monopolies. TR took down this country's greatest corporations in order to help the common man. Need more evidence, TR was the first political environmentalist and is the reason why so much of America's natural resources are well preserved today.
Franklin Roosevelt was a liberal. FDR guided this country through the Great Depression and the Second World War, all from the seat of his wheelchair. FDR's policies lifted millions of the elderly out of poverty and provided healthcare to millions as well.
Throught American History, it has been Liberals that have brought real change to America. Liberals founded this Country, ran the Underground Railroads, fought for civil rights, fought for woman's rights, protected the environment and fought for the common man. It was liberals that created the middle class and it is the liberals who defend the middle class today.
So I will ask again, when did beng a Liberal become a bad thing? I have to give the Republican Party credit here. The Republican Party has spent the better part of the last thirty years branding the term "liberal" as weak, anti-American and elitist. Liberal has been branded the same as a "communist" or "socialism."
And it has worked. It has worked so well that even many liberals today are running away from the term and themselves. They are trying to call themselves "progressives" or portray themselves as moderates. In doing so, they are leaving the very values that used to be at the core of the Democratic party and is perhaps the greatest reason that the Democratic Congress today is full of hapless leaders with no guts. It is hard to fight for something you are trying to run away from.
We need Liberals to stand up once again and fight for true American values. We need to protect the environment. We need to bring real change to race relations in this Country. We need real change in the Healthcare system. We need to fix entitlements so that they work for all Americans. Only a true liberal can bring these changes and the Republicans genuinely do not believe in these policies and the "progressives" are too busy trying not to upset anyone. Where is my FDR? Where is my JFK? I hoped that Obama would have been this leader and still have hope. But the progressives are driving him away from himself. Stay strong Mr. Obama. Remember the example set by Jefferson, Lincoln, TR and FDR. If you stay true to core liberal ideals, you will make change we all can believe in.