Thursday, 02 October 2008 19:00 Nancy Pofahl Editorial Dept - Philosophy

I am a Liberal. That’s right, a bona fide bleeding heart liberal. The question is - are you? You’re a Liberal: ”If you represent the largest of nine typology groups (2005),” of the Pew Research center typology test groups.

If your political affiliation is largely Democratic or Independent. If you believe in peace over war, free choice and would like to rid the earth of the environmental hazards.

If you believe the Bill of rights and the US Constitution are more than pieces of paper.

If you believe that all Americans, regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation AND sexual persuasion are entitled to the same rights under the Constitution.

I grew up during one of America’s most troubled and extraordinary times, the 1960’s and 1970’s. I saw two brothers march off to Vietnam, and I would lose one from quite likely, "Agent Orange" contamination - Cancer.

I sang the protest songs and marched and went to rallies. I also stood beside Black Americans and argued for their right to the American ideal and with just a few exceptions; I hold the values of this ideology close to me. What does the word liberal mean? According to WikiPedia, the free online encyclopedia,(2007) ”Liberalism refers to a broad array of related ideas and theories of government that consider individual liberty to be the most important political goal. Liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity. Liberalism has its roots in the Western Age of Enlightenment”.

I believe that most Americans are at least a little bit liberal. Who in America would not profess to believe in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution? Yet over the last several years, it has been decidedly unpopular to be classified as such. During the Presidential elections of 2000 and 2004, the liberals were demonized as being somehow un-American and unpatriotic by their GOP counterparts. The Pew Research Center’s, Typology test (2005) defines the values that comprise liberalism as” pro choice on the abortion issues, a strong preference for diplomacy over use of military force, gay marriage and strongly favor environmental protection.” Yet the conservatives of America attacked these values believing they would make America weak.

On September 11, 2001, America came under attack from militants belonging to Osama Bin Laden’s group, a self professed enemy of all things in the western culture. The Al Qaida organization had its base in Afghanistan at that time. In the days following the attack, pro-American sentiment was at a high point around the world. In this country, people carried flags and gathered together to mourn our loss and to re-establish our sense of community as Americans. The United States attacked Bin Laden’s forces in Afghanistan with the support of both conservative and liberals alike. America was truly a united nation.

In 2003 President of the United States, George W. Bush and his administration ordered the attack on Saddam Hussein’s forces in Iraq. Using the excuse that Hussein’s army had amassed weapons of mass destruction, America went into another war. The Angus Reid Global Monitor (2007), reported the president as saying; “ If we were to abandon the Iraqi people, the terrorists would be emboldened, and use their victory to gain new recruits. As we saw on September the 11th, a terrorist safe haven on the other side of the world can bring death and destruction to the streets of our own cities. "This time, however, the United States did not have the good will around the world. Almost every country in the world with the exception a few were totally against this action. In the United States, we became a divided nation.

Politicians who spoke out against the war in Iraq were branded as anti Americans and unpatriotic. Any criticism of the war was met with angry denouncements from the Bush Administration and the Republican House and Senate.

No weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq and four years and over 3000 American war fatalities later, the people of the US finally grew tired of the war that went on and on. Investigations discovered the US went to war using faulty CIA information. Al Qaida, who we learned, was never in Iraq in significant numbers before the American invasion, now had a strong foothold in Iraq. They continue even now to wage attacks on America and any allies still in Iraq.

America wanted a change so in the 2006 elections, the Democratic Party, made up of largely liberals took back control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The people had spoken. According to the latest Gallup poll, President Bush’s approval rating by the American people was at 33.5 percent for the last quarterly rating, the lowest of his presidency and the lowest of any president. And with the Democrats coming off their big victory in 2006, have control of the administration within their grasp. It’s theirs to lose. Unfortunately this party also has become divided. Though unlikely, the possibility of an Independent candidate taking control is very real.

Yes, I am a liberal I my belief system is ingrained in me almost from birth. I believe in the Bill of Rights and I will never feel comfortable with war, unless it is to defend ourselves. I will always see all people, regardless of race or sexual orientation as I see myself. All are equal under both moral and written law. I am in the greatest country in the world, one where people can be liberal, or not. We are free to believe and follow any ideology we feel is right for us. I have many disagreements with many conservatives but I would lay down my life for their right to believe as they wish. I am a Liberal, and I am a patriotic American.

1. The Pew Research Center For The People And The Press, Typology Test, 2005
2. Agent Orange, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
3. Liberalism, P. 1, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
4. The Pew Research Center For The People And The Press, Defining Values, 2005
5. AngusRied Global Monitor, September 12, 2007
6. Gallup News Service, October 19, 2007

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