I've recently been referred to as a liberal, not that being called a liberal bothers me, but what does bother me is that being called a liberal was meant as an insult.
Conservatives like to paint liberals as lazy, greedy people, looking for a handout and intent on taking away their freedoms and money.
That's not what being a liberal is about. Being a liberal is about making sure everyone gets a fair shake. Being a liberal is about sharing our good fortune when our neighbor is in need, or getting help from our neighbor when we are in need. Being a liberal is about pulling together to help each other.
Liberals believe in a level playing field where every man or woman who wants to get ahead and provide a better life for themselves and their family, can do it. Liberals believe in the importance of individual responsibility, it's up to each person to take the steps necessary to move forward. Nonetheless, liberals also support equal opportunity; an individual shouldn't be held back because of their gender, race, religion, ethnicity or what side of town they're from.
Liberals believe that all children need to be brought up in safe households with enough food to eat and access to quality schools and medical care. We believe that government must set limits and proclaim that all Americans have inalienable rights that must be guaranteed.
Liberals believe in government as a force for good. It is the U.S. Government rather than the corporation or the church that guarantees our human rights. It is the government that levels the playing field. And it is the government that protects us against the excesses of capitalism, against those who engage in fraudulent business practices, charge excessive interest, abuse their employees, or pollute the environment. Liberals believe the government must provide a safety net to protect Americans' human rights.
Liberals believe in neighbors and friends rolling up their sleeves and pitching in for the common good. One of the early mottos of the United States is E Pluribus Unum "out of many, one".
Liberals believe in citizens working together to better our communities: To ensure workers' rights, quality schools, safe streets, comprehensive transportation and energy systems, and clean water and air.
While liberals emphasize individual responsibility, we also promote collective action. We believe in labor unions and cooperatives have the same rights as individuals. Liberals believe that all Americans have the right to a decent job paying a living wage with healthcare. When the market fails, liberals expect the government to intervene.
The next time you hear someone refer to liberal as a bad thing, or some dirty word. Keep in mind that is was liberals who got women and African Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly Americans out of poverty. It was liberals who created Medicare and Medicaid. It was liberals who ended segregation. Liberals who passed the Civil Rights Act. Liberals who passed the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Minimum Wage and the National Labor Relations Act, giving workers collective bargaining rights. Liberals passed the Clean Air and Clean Water Act. What did conservatives do? They opposed every single one of these things.
Every single one