I listened to an interview this morning with John Moe, the author of Conservatize Me; A Lifelong Lefty’s Attempt to Love God, Guns, Reagan, and Toby Keith – which of course made want to rush out & buy the book immediately!
But it also made me wonder; what am I? Synonyms for “liberal” include open-minded and broad-minded. I like to think of myself as being very open minded. But maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m just as closed minded as everyone else, just centered in a different school of thought. I have very little patience or tolerance when it comes to ideas that I don’t prescribe to. Which by definition would be very closed minded, wouldn’t it? As an example, I believe that gay people and couples should have the same rights and privileges that I, a straight white dude, enjoy. But if you disagree or think differently, I think you’re just dead wrong, homophobic & closed-minded. I don’t want to hear your argument. You’re not going to change my mind anyway… How closed-minded can I be?
According to WordNet, a Liberal is: “1. a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties [ant: conservative] 2. a person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets.” Progress? Reform? Civil Liberties? You bet your ass I’m a Liberal! But I’m not even going to pretend that I understand self-regulating markets, or economic theory in general for that matter. But, in big broad general terms, as many understand it, there are many things about me that most people would consider pretty darn conservative. So, in general, I am capable of contradicting myself.
But then again, maybe we all are. Perhaps both schools of thought have been so diluted that we all kind of blend and mingle into one. Take the presidential candidates for example; McCain considered switching to Democrat a while back and many of his ideas contradict and even anger some of the more staunch Republicans. Obama made these statements, “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America – there’s the United States of America” and “We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States.”
Maybe I’m just sick and tired of labels and brands and people trying to squeeze my beliefs, ideals, religion, and politics into too small of a box.
Maybe I’m tired of the walls and barriers that divide us and keep us from being a unified, cohesive nation – and world.
Or maybe I’m just me. Conservatively liberal me.