For certain elements of society the word liberal has become interchangeable with such words as communist, socialist and fascist.
While liberals such as myself choose to associate themselves with such historic figures as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, those same elements of society would suggest that each of us tree hugging "ne-er do wells" have a secret room with a secret wall painted red and devoted to displaying pictures of Hitler, Mussolini and Lenin.
On a day when we should all celebrate our nation and some of us recount historically accurate stories of our nation's birth, there are members of society who find it difficult to imagine that it would be possible for self-styled liberals, progressives and Democrats to find cause for celebration on the Fourth of July.
This all too common charge that those like us are unpatriotic and un-American is an allegation that I take great umbrage with.
By definition conservatives and liberals do not think alike and that is just fine. The idea, however, that liberals are unpatriotic is absurd. Those who say such things are guilty of one of two things, they are either ignorant or they are lying with the intent of influencing your opinion so that it more closely represents their opinion.
Liberals do find it difficult to stomach the assertion that our founding fathers believed that there is an inherit bias toward discrimination in the documents and actions produced by those very same founding fathers.
I will allow that the 3/5 compromise which allowed for slaves to be counted as 3/5 of a white man for the purpose of determining a states representation in Congress, and the lack of a provision guaranteeing women the right to vote were monumental fails in regards to discrimination. The need to compromise to achieve a bigger goal allowed for these fails to exist.
Time, acquired wisdom, and progress would eventually fix these wrongs. Liberals respect, honor and cherish the Constitution as an evolving document capable of being changed when we as a nation are ready for change.
We believe that the founders had it right when they said in the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." We believe this to be the very worthy intent of our founding fathers.
We acknowledge conservatives love the Constitution as well. Well, they love certain parts of the Constitution. Different conservative groups would love to repeal a variety of amendments including the 8th, the 14th, the 16th, the 17th, the 19th and possibly the 26th amendment.
Liberals do believe that children born in the inner city or poverty stricken rural areas deserve the same access to health care as blue bloods spending the holiday on Martha's Vineyard. We are not unpatriotic because we believe this. Perhaps you could call us compassionate, but not unpatriotic.
We understand that we pass on more to our children than just budgets and balance sheets. We also pass on the environment and the planet to our children and grandchildren. Regardless of whether or not we feel that global warming is real or a myth we still value clean water and clean air.
We may not appreciate the wars we are currently fighting in the Middle East, but we love and respect our soldiers. After all they are our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, wives and husbands.
We believe that teachers, policeman and firefighters should be paid and paid well due to their value and service to our community.
We believe that all of our children deserve libraries, gym class, and the opportunity to star in their school play.
We believe our country is great because we are a melting pot, not in spite of it. We value diversity. This is the American Way. This was the American dream.
We pay our taxes, but think that the wealthiest amongst us and the most profitable industries can share in bearing a little extra burden to fix our government's mistakes.
We believe that our senior citizens are people who have served our countries and their families well. They deserve not just our respect, but the ability to retire with the reasonable assurance that their health needs and financial needs will be met.
No, we do not agree with everything and most of the time we do not agree with anything, but it is not necessary to call each other unpatriotic or un-American. Liberals do not think conservatives are evil, we just think they are wrong. Perhaps some of the name calling conservatives out there will learn that liberals are Americans too.
What will I be doing this 4th of July?
More than likely my children will wake me up early so that we can go to the local parade, but before we leave for the parade I will hang our flag outside.
I am assuming and hoping the day will be filled with at least two Italian sausages smothered in onions, one elephant ear, and multiple lemon shake-ups. At the parade I will shake hands with a few elected officials, but reserve my support and encouragement for those politicians that are Democrats. In my part of Indiana, they need all the help they can get.
I will conclude the day by watching the local fireworks display right before rushing home to put the kids in the tub so I can clean off the cotton candy that has become caked on their faces. With any luck I will not have to get out the tweezers to remove a roasted peanut from my youngest daughter's ear.
We will go straight from the tub to the bedroom where we will sing songs and the kids will say their prayers before being tucked in and given strict orders to "sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite".
So what do liberals do on the 4th of July?
Pretty much the same thing everyone else does.
Happy 4th of July and God Bless America.