A friend of mine sent me one of those handy-dandy quizzes: ten questions which determine whether you are a liberal or a conservative.
I have always considered myself a moderate, but the quiz says I’m a liberal. I think it’s a matter of where the middle is; sometimes the person stays the same and the middle moves. I don’t think the odder ideas of the left make sense, any more than do the odder ideas of the right . I am equally uncomfortable with radical lefties as I am with radical righties.
I would have happily voted for Ike, I voted for Richard Nixon, I voted for Claude Kirk and farther down the ticket I have voted for many a good Republican because they were the better choice, seemed reasonable and practical but also had a sense of compassion for the little guy. They saw government as a tool, not “the enemy.” I believe that science is a fact, not a fantasy, that the Constitution is a living, breathing document that adjusts and adapts brilliantly to the realities of the 21st century, written by men with a genius for knowing when to be specific and when to be vague.
If in fact that makes me a “Liberal” I’m not unhappy. Liberals tend to move forward, not back. They tend to make life better for everyone, not more brutish.
They err to the side of kindness, not cruelty, to generosity not selfishness. Liberals strive for more freedom, not less, encourage a marketplace of ideas, rather than patrolling people’s thoughts with an eye to preventing them. Liberals encourage enterprise by creating a law-abiding marketplace where good ideas and products can flourish. Liberals created the eight-hour workday, the forty-hour week, abolished child labor, created Social Security and Medicare. I cannot think of any similar achievements of conservatives, who tend to oppose anything like these ideas. Liberals wouldn’t be caught dead demanding, “We want our country back.” They might not like the result of an election, but they understand that thing about “We the people...” It isn’t “Me, the people…” They grouse but that’s about all.
As a practicing, though failed, Christian I find my faith matches my political inclinations, if I am in fact a Liberal. I am inclusive. I try not to judge others who are different or assume I am better. I do not “cross to the other side.” I understand, “Inasmuch as you have done this to the least of these my brothers…” I support a world where we live this out, not a world where we say one thing and do another.
If the little quiz is right, I’m a Liberal. You can call me a grilled cheese sandwich if it makes you feel better. I don’t give a hoot about labels and I’m too old and independent to frankly give a rip.
No matter the label, Polonius was right: “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” So long as I’m true to me that’s all that matters; label me any way you want.