There was a time when I was a liberal
There was a time when I was a Liberal. There was a time when I was a Democrat. I have not changed my values. I have not changed my philosophies. I was taught that each human being has value. I was taught that each human being has a contribution to make, a purpose on this earth. I was taught that each human being is to be nurtured to allow them the opportunity to make that contribution. I have never wavered from those principles. Unfortunately, they are no longer the principles of Liberals or Democrats.
The welfare state is an abomination to anyone sharing those values. It enslaves people, makes them dependent, degrades the individual human being's feeling of self worth, of motivation, of dignity. It discourages people from making their unique contribution to society, turning them from contributors to unmotivated takers. Incentive is stripped from those trained to accept whatever is handed to them rather than to strive for so much more. Initiative becomes a faded memory. Individualism becomes an anachronism. This is a nation that was built on the contributions of the vast majority of its citizens, of all ages, of all political persuasions, of all religions, color, economic levels, marital status, occupations. It is a nation that flourished and grew faster and better than any in the history of civilization, because it recognized that everyone had a contribution to make, and that everyone needed to make that contribution.
This was never a nation in which everyone sat back and declared that everyone else needed to carry the burden. Successful enterprises are never built on that dynamic. Neither are successful nations. Today's version of Liberalism; today's Democratic Party, has eroded that foundation, that fuel that fired America's success. True Liberalism strives to increase the quality of life. True Liberalism worships opportunity. True Liberalism optimistically believes that the great majority of our citizens are capable of meeting challenges and overcoming obstacles to join in the continued building of this nation. True Liberals do not define themselves as Liberals today -- a philosophy anathema to these values. True Liberals rarely define themselves as Democrats whose policies generally do not support the Jeffersonian notion of bringing out the best of every citizen, guiding each to fulfill his or her individual promise.
This remaking of the "Liberal" wing of our political spectrum sees its latest rendition in the discussion on gun control. Last year, like the year before and the one before that, more people died of gunfire in Chicago than soldiers in Afghanistan. Every year more school children die from gunfire in Chicago than died in Newtown. Every year. Many of these deaths in Chicago are from semi-automatic weapons. They are illegal in Chicago. They have been for a very long time. In fact, Chicago has one of the strictest gun control laws in the country. In 1982, almost 31 years ago, Chicago became the first American city to ban handguns. And yet, the Liberals scream for more gun control. True Liberals would look at the human cause of these events, not a quick fix that makes headlines, that make it look as if politicians are accomplishing something when they are doing no more good than Chicago did in 1982 when it banned handguns. It is not a revelation that most of these shootings are gang related. It is not a revelation that if we broke up the gangs, we would drastically reduce the violence. But legislation enabling enhanced enforcement procedures against gangs is nowhere to be found. Al Sharpton says not a word about providing law enforcement agencies with extra enforcement powers to bring this travesty to an end after decades of misdirected pseudo-liberal "solutions." Mayor Rahm Emanuel's strategy is to tear down empty buildings, as if the gangs would dissolve because they would never figure out where to gather and store their illegal weapons if the city's empty buildings were torn down -- leaving massive scars on the Chicago landscape, empty, bottle strewn, drug gathering "parks" throughout the City rivaling Bryant Park in its "heyday."
True Liberals understand that the most successful strategy is one that eliminates obstacles to people's achieving their potential. That strategy would require steps to eliminate the gangs, not play games by changing their meeting places. Why is it that today's pseudo Liberals cannot get their hands around the idea that going to war against evil people is what allows the others to achieve their potential, to thrive, to grow? Every seven year old, even in Chicago, has the right to grow up. A civilized society protects that right, even if it means taking harsh steps against those who would deprive that seven year old of his opportunity. That doesn't mean taking guns away from good people, or tearing down abandoned buildings to create vacant eyesores. It means recognizing that there are bad people, people without empathy, people without a respect for human life. This is the case in Chicago. This was the case of the shooter in Newtown. This is the case with Islamic fundamentalists. True Liberals understand this. The pseudo Liberals who have hijacked the label "Liberal" do not.
The pseudo Liberals want to stop crime without eliminating the criminals. They want world peace without challenging those who are committed to hegemony, caliphates, and domination. They want prosperity without encouraging each and every citizen to contribute to that prosperity.
There was a time when I was a Liberal. There was a time when I was a Democrat. I have not changed my values. I have not changed my philosophies. Someday, maybe the pseudo Liberals will adopt Liberal values. Someday, maybe Democrats will not just quote Thomas Jefferson, but understand what he intended for this great nation.