Monday, January 19, 2009

liberally speaking

perhaps no term has been as maligned over the last thirty years as the term liberal. it is a term i embrace with equal parts of accuracy and defiance. it became trendy to blame the nations problems on liberals or the liberal elite. painting a political opponent with the liberal brush assured success, particularly in the south. liberals emerged as the whipping boys of conservative talk radio. liddy, north, limbaugh, hannity, o'reilly, et al. used the term as a slur that would never have been tolerated in any other context.

what does it mean to be liberal? the latin root word liber means free. traditional dictionary definitions focus on such things as generous, broad-minded, not literal, favoring progress. words listed as synonyms include: generous, munificent and bountiful.

in truth, the rabid partisanship that has characterized the political debate in this country for the last several decades has served us poorly. a healthy democracy needs intelligent, respectful debate and input from both sides.

the eagle, that magnificent bird that is the symbol of our nation, is not a one winged bird. when the lord god drew up the blueprints for the eagle on the celestial drafting board, part of the design was a left wing and a right wing. an eagle with only one wing could not fly and would, as a result, starve to death. in the same way, a nation which lists to one side or the other, can never thrive. some fear that our next president will push us too far to the left. those on the left worry that president obama will do too much to appease the right. he must, in fact govern from the center, with support and cooperation from both sides.

that being said, sign me up for the left wing, please. there’s a lot of work to be done to bring us back to the thriving democracy we once were.

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