reply to post by vtr99
I think the first thing we need to do is establish some mutual understanding and respect. Let me explain where I'm coming from and why you should not
view all people plastered with the label of "liberal" as part of the cancer you perceive to infect our nation today. This is the kind of discussion
we desperately need in my opinion.
Most people would probably classify me as liberal, in the sense that I'm anti-war, support gay marriage on a 14th amendment equal protection basis,
etc. But I also oppose, for example, moves to restrict gun ownership rights. I didn't vote for Obama, nor do I support his policies. I don't agree
with the continual growth and spending of the government. I do believe that its growth and said spending are a recipe for eventual disaster if not
brought back into focus and balance. And although I do believe strongly that certain entitlement programs are necessary for some people's survival, I
believe in a balanced approach, like welfare to work. (i.e. welfare for those who absolutely need it, but substantive steps to move them from welfare
back to work or to work for the first time as rapidly as possible if they are capable of working.) And I don't agree with resenting people because of
their success or wealth.
Let me offer just one example of where I'm coming from. I can't stand guns. I don't want to be around them, I have never fired one (unless my
grandfather's rifle at a can when I was about 6 years old counts.) My best friend died at the hands of a gang member with a gun. I feel like they are
designed to kill and that's just completely not in my nature. If I could change reality with a magic wand, I'd eliminate guns from the face of the
But... and here's the point... that doesn't matter. Because I believe in a higher ideal than what I personally would like to see, and that is
freedom and inalienable rights. I believe you have a constitutional right to have a gun. I believe there are people with needs - hunting, self
defense, etc. - hell, even just desires (enthusiasts, collectors,) etc. who have need of these weapons. And while I never want to hold gun at any
point in my life and I do think more should be done to keep them out of the hands of the mentally unstable... the mentally unstable have always
existed, and will always exist, and I have a big ethical problem with the premise of telling you that you can't have a gun because of those
individuals. Whether I like guns or think they serve a good purpose that I personally can see or not. And I will defend that right that I believe you
That's called mutual respect. It's called equal rights. It's called compromise. I have zero interest in stripping you or anyone else of their
constitutional rights, and I oppose those who are trying to do exactly that. I opposed those trying to do so in the Bush administration, and I oppose
equally those trying to do so in the Obama administration.
And yet, as I've said and as I'm sure my many posts on ATS about peace, love, and all the other admittedly hippie-ish things that emerge from my
consciousness in text form here have demonstrated, I'm probably what most people would label as a liberal (whether I want to be so categorized
personally or not.) So my question is this: am I part of this "liberal cancer" you describe? Even though I'm willing to compromise, even though I
respect your rights, even though I defend your rights, and even though I may not agree with you about absolutely everything under the sun about how
our country should be run? Because if I'm not, then you have to consider the possibility that "liberal" and "conservative" are too broad in how
they paint both me and you equally.
I don't hate conservatives. Conservatives are my countrymen. My brothers and sisters. As far as I'm concerned, my blood. I may disagree with them
about some things, but that's what a plurality and a democratic republic is about. Plurality and disagreement synthesizing a single outcome. Not
about one side destroying or disenfranchising the other until it has no choice but to see the other not as its countrymen, brothers, and sisters...
but as its enemies. I REFUSE to see you as an enemy. Because once we do that, then we all lose in my opinion. I truly believe that.
So when a "liberal" talks about stripping the rights of a conservative (guns, for instance,) or a "conservative" talks about stripping the rights
of a liberal (restricting relocation on political ideological grounds like this topic advocates,) I say no to both. Because if we are so divided that
we openly and enthusiastically advocate cutting off our own noses to spite ourselves, then we are doomed.
Never since the Civil War have the words "divided we fall" held more meaning in my opinion. And I am only now beginning to realize the magnitude to
which they are true.
That's all I'm trying to say. Peace.