Openness to Change

Are you open to new ideas?  Do you celebrate change, or do you fear it?  Are you willing to sacrifice some of your cultural heritage and history if it means that other people gain greater justice and freedom?

Depending on how you answered those questions, you might be a liberal.

The word “liberal” is a fighting word in many households.  It’s often accompanied with the descriptor “bleeding heart.” Maybe that’s the old way of insulting liberals.  What I usually see now is “libtard.” Or worse, “cuck.”

Looking around the internet, the political definition of liberalism is usually defined as the opposite of conservatism.  That strikes me as strange, since “conservative” these days is so often synonymous with Christian.  The greatest irony of the day is that Jesus Christ, the religious figure at the head of conservatism, is the perfect example of a bleeding heart liberal.

I personally strive to be like Jesus.  I believe in the message of love and forgiveness, and I’m not ashamed or afraid to admit that.  Based on that, do I consider myself a liberal or a conservative?

That’s a tough question for me to answer.  Not because I fear retribution for picking a side, but because there are parts of liberalism and classical conservatism that I agree and identify with strongly.

The whole idea of picking sides and joining the fight bothers me.  I don’t like either extreme.

Are there things about liberalism I don’t like?  Yes.  Once you get far enough into either extreme, things start to get a little bit strange.

One trivial example: food.  Is free range, organic, non-GMO food a conservative or liberal ideal?  If you said liberal, you’ve been paying attention to society.  But if you said conservative, you’ve been reading ahead and know what I’m about to say.

If you look at how organic, non-GMO food is grown, you’re looking at old models of farming and food production.  Holding to traditional methods is part of the definition of being conservative.  Being open to new ideas and technology is supposed to be what it means to be a liberal.  From what I’ve read, there is no real benefit to getting food that is organic, and no real harm eating genetically modified food.  So why is that part of the liberal ideology?

Not all liberals are so picky about food.  And like I said, it’s a trivial matter.  But there are other nuggets floating in the stew that is liberalism that I don’t want to consume.  Fortunately, we can all pick and choose the things that we agree with.  The things that align with our personal code.

I consider myself a moderate that leans left on a lot of issues.  If I was looking at myself from the outside, I would label myself a liberal.  But if that label would interfere with my ability to reach out and talk to people, to listen to them and hear their views and opinions, then I’d rather do without the label.

I think that our country is wounded right now, and I’m not just talking about Trump and the Republicans.  Emotions are running high enough that I fear neither side of the isle is prepared to listen and compromise.  There are a few liberals I follow on Twitter that speak loudly about not forgiving Trump supporters.  That kind of behavior is as bad for the country as anything the right wing has done lately.

We need to unite as a country.  Put the “U” back in USA.  For us to be healthy nation, we need strong liberal voices that are brave enough to look for new ways of achieving our goals.  We need liberals to continue to push progressive ideas, so that those with a smaller voice can still be heard.

Being a patriotic liberal American is about supporting freedom for those that are not strong enough to defend themselves.

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