In a firefight with several conservative types, I woke up this morning and sent this off to a friend (a liberal) who edits a newspaper out in the world to get his/her feedback and maybe help me sharpen it up a tad:
I am a liberal because I believe that every child should have a childhood filled with learning and school days and the endless days of summer while conservatives opposed the child labor laws which make that possible.
I am a liberal because I believe that women are equal human beings capable of independent thought while conservatives in the past opposed a woman's right to vote and now to have any say in her destiny.
I am a liberal because I believe no one should be the property of another while conservatives fought a war in this country to preserve slavery and the proposition that people should be property.
I am a liberal because I believe in equality under the law while conservatives worked to preserve "Whites Only" drinking fountains, lunch counters and restrooms.
I'm a liberal because I believe the richest nation on the planet should provide a safety net for its citizens; that it should protect those disadvantaged by social or economic factors or who have been subjected to the ravages of age from the starvation we see in so many other places in this weary world - while conservatives take the position of Cain, who, when asked by God, "Where is Able?" replied, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
I am a liberal because, in spite of failures along the way, liberals have never failed to look for new solutions to old problems while conservatives have never failed to embrace the causes of the problems and label them virtues.
I am a liberal because I believe that by working together we can make a better future while conservatives believe the best future we can hope for looks exactly like the past.
I am a liberal because, throughout history, liberals have consistently supported these ideals while conservatives have, with equal consistency, positioned themselves on the wrong side of history.
In response, I received the following from my editor friend:
Perhaps you should share this with your liberal brethren, because they seem to be lost these days, unable to work up a moral high ground.
The real reason you're a liberal is that you're not afraid, not in the bone-weary sense that the right is. Fear of change, fear of "others" and fear of oneself create the state in which all things conservative can fester.
I have seen some extraordinarily liberal individuals turn into cowering conservatives when their sense of safety is shattered.
Right now, we have an entire nation of people whose fear outweighs their security. Somehow, the liberals have to push the notion that an open, free nation is not just our imperative, it's necessary if we want to become secure.
That ain't an easy sell. Good luck.