Sunday, July 31, 2011

Political identity crisis....

I have called myself a liberal for as long as I can remember - ever since I figured out that labels in politics are like a jacket and tie at a fancy restaurant - required. Sometimes I even spice it up a bit and call myself a "conservative liberal" - even though my Dad says there is no such thing! Up until about a week or so ago, I was sure I knew what being a liberal meant. As such, I believe:

  • No one is better than anyone else.  
  • My body is mine. 
  • Love is love. 
  • Although environmental stewardship is important it should be balanced with economic realities.
  • Religion and government don't mix, but I don't really care if there is a creche at City Hall and I won't complain until my beliefs are represented there too. 
  • As long as you don't physically hurt or take anything away from others, you can live your life the way you see fit.  
  • What's fair is sometimes the right choice over what the market will bear. 
  • "Takes too long" or "costs too much" are not valid excuses for ignoring the process to US citizenship. "I was born here" or "my parents brought me here when I was a kid" are. 
  • I believe in a flat income tax - for individuals and companies - no loopholes, and no inheritance taxes.
 The list goes on, but I think you get the idea. Big on personal freedom and fairness, not so big on government regulating "morality".

So imagine my surprise when I received a blog via email from my Dad that espoused an entirely different definition of "liberal"! The author had the gall to claim liberals are more close-minded than conservatives. As I huffed and puffed my indignance to my fellow cube-dwellers, I was met by a quiet yet firm voice of dissent that said "oh yes they are!".

The ensuing conversation with my "office Dad" - as I will call him (protecting his identity and the fact that he is not nearly old enough for a forty-something to call him that) - went on for about 30 minutes. The most surprising thing is that it didn't result in my walking away, shaking my head and mumbling about how out of touch this guy is. It resulted in me smacking my forehead and asking myself if maybe I am the one that is out of touch!

Am I so enamored with my own definition of what I think it means to be a liberal that I have ignored what everyone else thinks it means?  Is there a larger group of liberals that represent all sorts of other crap that I don't believe in/care about/support?  This certainly called for some research and a blog post.  So I fired up my bff Mr. Google to see what the rest of the world thinks I think -  and HOLY CRAP if it's not all effed up!! 

According to,  I: "reject logical and biblical standards, often for self-centered reasons",  support "income redistribution, usually through progressive taxation" and teach "acceptance of promiscuity through sexual "education" rather than teaching abstinence from sex".

At, I found out I believe "violence in the media does not really have a deleterious impact upon how children behave"

Over at, I discovered that I "believe that undocumented immigrants have a right to all educational and health benefits that citizens receive (financial aid, welfare, social security and medicaid), regardless of legal status" and in general, all "the same rights as American citizens".

Um, no - I'm just not feeling it.  These are not the things I believe in, they are not the ideals I support.  So where does that leave me?  Am I destined to the ambiguity of "independent"?  Is there such a thing as a liberal independent?  What's the party of common sense and individual freedom without persecution called?  Really - somebody help me out here, because it's glaringly apparent that - at the very least - I have on the wrong tie.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still thinking about this, but, until then, I came across this:

    "To accept things-as-it-is looks very difficult, but it is very easy. If you don't find it easy, you should think about why it is so difficult. "Maybe," you may say, "it is because of the shallow, selfish understanding I have of myself." And then you may ask, "Why do I have a selfish understanding of things?" But a selfish understanding of things is also necessary. Because we are selfish, we work hard. Without a selfish understanding, we cannot work. We always need some candy. It is not something to be rejected, but something that helps you. You should be grateful for your selfish understanding, which creates many questions. They are just questions and they don't mean so much. You can enjoy your questions and answers; you can play games with them; you needn't be so serious about it. That is the understanding of the Middle Way."
    - Shunryu Suzuki