In the attacks on Cindy Sheehan and anyone else who is daring to disturb the real Texas rattler down in Crawford, it has been entertaining to hear their dismissiveness. Besides betraying a desperation to stop the political damage Ms. Sheehan's words and presence are doing to the president, the language of the TV attack monkeys is too predictable for anyone to actually hear. The major criticism has been that Sheehan is, (gasp,) "a far left-wing liberal." Is this supposed to be a bad thing when compared to the "far right-wing conservatives" who took our country to war, cost us billions of tax dollars and precious lives, for no discernible reason?
I am a little weary of the term liberal being used as a negative brand. Every one who is a liberal ought to stop cowering and apologizing. I claim the label like a badge of honor. Every great advance our country has made has been prompted by liberal, progressive thinkers who realized change was necessary. Liberals stood at the front of the civil rights movement and they stopped the war in Vietnam. Liberals led the women's suffrage movement and they were the people who gave our country its conscience in the fight to end slavery.
Liberals are people who believe, like Jefferson, that our country and our culture are best judged by how we treat the least of our citizens. They believe in a tax code that is progressive enough to help families and puts a greater share of responsibility for funding government on the corporations that are making huge profits. Liberals prefer to spend money on programs that give the disadvantaged a chance in America instead of buying and building tanks and guns that are outdated in the war on terrorism. We want a strong defense but demand accountability from the Pentagon and defense contractors.
Liberals think that curing disease is more important than protecting the rights of a few cells created by the joining of a sperm and an egg. A zygote is not a sentient being. If a fertilized egg can be used to find cures to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and regenerate spinal tissue, liberals think that is more important than the rights of the sperm and egg. Liberals want the government to devote less money to Halliburton and more money to stem cell research so that great scientists don't leave America to do their research in foreign lands. Liberals think this is the kind of endeavor where America is supposed to lead. We believe that the life of an an 18 year-old soldier called up to Iraq is more important than the viability of a fertilized egg. We think it is impossible to be pro-life and pro-war at the same time.
Liberals believe in the Constitution and do not believe that religion ought to be included in any of our public institutions or laws. We know a vast number of people who founded our country were running from despots who tried to tell them how to worship. We do not believe America is a Christian nation. We believe it is a nation where people can worship as they want and the predominant religion happens to be Christianity but we don't want to force those beliefs on Jews, Muslims, Hindu, or anyone else. Liberals think the conservatives ought to go back and re-read the founding document if they feel they need clarification. Liberals think it is wrong to seek an activist judge when you are trying to get a favorable ruling for Terry Schiavo and then complain about activist judges who rule against allowing the Ten Commandments in public facilities or diminishing the rights afforded women under Roe v. Wade.
Liberals believe in protecting the CIA operatives and agents who put their lives at risk to protect our country. We think anyone who exposes them or even talks about what they are doing needs to be held accountable; especially if they speak to reporters. We trust the intelligence gathering professionals of our country to deliver unvarnished information and analysis and we do not think intelligence data ought to be "fixed around the policy." Liberals think all presidents ought to explain their actions in a forthright manner to the people who put them in office.
Liberals believe in self-determination for all nations. We think that Iraq's problems are not worth one American life. We believe that if the Iraqis wanted true freedom and democracy that they needed to get it the way Americans did; they should have fought for it and taken it and they would have loved it as dearly as we love it here in America. We do not believe they can be given something they don't want.
Liberals also believe that any American parent who has lost a child in the Iraqi war has a right to protest and speak his or her mind without fear of personal attack and physical intimidation. If the parent of a fallen soldier does not have this right, then who does? Liberals believe this right is what needs protecting more than any other in our country.
I am a liberal. And I am proud of it.