Time To Elect A Liberal - Yeah, I Used The Word

Nov 01, 2008 | Updated May 25, 2011

John McCain tells us that Barack Obama is the most liberal senator in the United States Senate. That's debatable, but more important, when did being called a liberal become an insult?

We've tried conservative rule for the last 8 years and for 28 of the last 40 years and where has it gotten us? In every single area of American life: the economy, foreign policy, the environment, civil rights, we are worse off today than we were before conservatives took over.

So I'm putting in a vote for liberalism. Yep. It's a word I am not ashamed to use. You can have "progressive." I'm a liberal. Here's Webster's definition.

Liberal - from the Greek word eleutheros and French liber, meaning free.

Liberalism - a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of man, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.

Liberal shares its root with the word Liberty, as in "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Liberalism is the very definition of our American way and we should be ashamed that we've let talk show hosts and politicians use extremist language to denigrate it. Our founders were, after all, revolutionaries. In an 18th century world dominated by monarchy, the very concept of our democratic republic was liberal. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin et al? Liberals!

Conservatism - the tendency to prefer an existing situation to change.

Conservatives are ruled by and rule by fear; fear of change. Had our founding fathers been conservatives, we wouldn't be here. We wouldn't have fought for our independence, ended slavery, given women the right to vote, guaranteed civil rights for all regardless of race or religion, risen from the Great Depression, or even expanded our nation from sea to shining sea. We wouldn't have Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance or the FDIC.

Liberals have been historically stronger on both the economy and national defense. The GDP of the United States has grown twice as much under liberals as under conservatives and the stock market has out performed by an even larger margin. Under liberal leadership, not only have the wealthy prospered, but workers have gained more rights, higher wages and lower unemployment. And lest you buy into the nonsense that liberals are weak on defense, it was liberals that led us to victory in both world wars, while conservatives resisted entry into World War II, preferring to ignore the threat of Hitler and Mussolini.

The liberal agenda you've been warned about? A strong economy and national security, civil rights, public education, worker's rights, equal opportunity, voting rights, environmentalism, retirement protection, health care. Far from being scary, it's a list of all we hold dear.

Barack Obama's a liberal? So what. McCain's old ideas do not work. He and the conservatives "prefer the existing situation" and want us to continue the failed "trickle down" economic policy of Reagan and Bush. Continuing failed policies? Insane. If John McCain wins on Tuesday, it will be because fear once more seized the day. We must remember, as a great liberal president once told us, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

So stand up and be proud, liberals. Liberals believe in the individual's boundless ability to achieve and, throughout history, liberal leaders and scientists have given us the tools to do great things. But, no need to look back. As always, we liberals are focused on the future! Fearlessly.