Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On being a Liberal

Until the last presidential election, I'd always considered myself to be a political moderate (even though I'd always voted Democrat). The year or so preceding the election, was the first time I'd ever really engaged in any type of serious political discussions with people who both opposed and/or agreed with my views. This really helped me to reflect on my ideology and reasoning, upon which, I discovered that I'm about as liberal as you can get, (A fact that my Republican mother is patiently waiting for me to outgrow).
With all the talk about the (lack of) direction and new emerging (and desperately needed) definitions of Conservatives and Republicans, I thought I should explore what it means to be a liberal.

Here is the American Heritage Dictionary definition of "liberal"

Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.

I think I like my new label, how can you go wrong with not being limited by orthodox views, being free from bigotry, tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others, and being broad minded? Of course, this isn't to say that not being liberal means that you are bigoted and intolerant, but I do need more time to craft a description of conservatism that doesn't sound overly negative.

Living in the South, I do find myself with the need to seek out like-minded people, which isn't isn't necessarily difficult, but I'm not going to win any popularity contests in my small suburban town. Even among the liberals I have found on the Internet, I haven't always been met with tolerance and broad-mindedness. There are still a lot of sweeping generalizations and finger pointing that goes on amongst even the most liberal people, and I'm just not sure why. There are accusations of snobbery and elitism that go along with Liberalism, that I can't always defend or explain. Nevertheless, I'm still proud to be a liberal, and much to my mom's chagrin, I don't think I'll be growing out of it anytime soon!


Ashley said...

You know.......Austin is a very liberal city. Maybe you should consider moving here. :o)

Jen said...

Welcome to our club!!!
It's good to have you.