I've been watching a lot of Glenn Beck and Fox News recently. Or at least I've been watching a lot of the coverage that the Daily Show has of Glenn Beck and Fox News, which I'll be the first to admit likely doesn't show me the whole spectrum of their opinions. But I've been trying to keep up with the health care debate to find out if I might actually have some when I go back to the states, and a lot of what has been said well and truly pisses me off.
I've been a card carrying Democrat since I registered to vote for the 2004 election, and anyone who was surprised I registered as a Democrat clearly hadn't been paying attention. And at not one point in the time I have been a member of the Democratic party have I ever woken up in the morning and said 'Golly, you know what I hate? Liberty. And freedom can suck my balls.' Not once.
I love freedom, and when it comes to liberty not only have I had the Kool-Aid but I've made some to share. I believe whole heartedly in a Government that cannot restrict my right to practice whatever religion I want, that cannot tell me what I have to believe, and that cannot tell me who I can or cannot get married to. I believe in a government whose right's extend to my bedroom or my body only in circumstances where I am trying to set them on fire or the rough equivalents, because dammit that's what freedom means. It means if I want to have gay sex up and down the states of California, Louisiana and Mississippi I can damn well do so; if I want to marry someone named Roger and adopt a child so long as we promise (the same as any other adoptive couple) not to screw the kid up substantially more than we individually are screwed up that Roger and I can have our chance to give that child years of therapy the same as everyone else. Not, to assuage my mother, that I'm planning on marrying someone named Roger.
It is not a contravention of liberty for the government to say 'Hey, if you can't afford to keep yourself from dying of the common cold every year, we'll pass a buck or two'. Do you think for a moment that a majority of Americans would choose to have their health care run by the government if they could help it? I wouldn't take a government issued piece of toilet paper if I could help it, since I'd probably have to sign for triplicate and wait in line for an hour, by which point the issue likely would have resolved itself in any case.
And I'm sorry, it isn't a dire Nazi-esque abrogation of your rights to have to pay five dollars a year to make sure fifty million Americans can afford to get a freaking flu shot and some preventive maintenance. While the GOP is railing about how much this is going to cost, let's remember how much a 500 million dollar and unto this point entirely defective missile defense program could buy at RiteAid; do you think we could get some chicken soup with all that money spent on wiretapping phones so the FBI knows exactly when I'm calling a phone sex line, dirty g-men that they are? I bet we could get at least a bowl, how about you.
We're accused of trying to force everyone to walk in lockstep with our morality, but it is the Catholic church in D.C. that is saying they will be unable to provide shelter and services if that city passes laws allowing same sex marriages as it has been talking about. Because paying for up to 1/6th of the U.S. population to be able to stop from getting the Herp is clearly the work of Lucifer, but holding tens of thousand of people hostage to your close minded morality simply because thinking about gay marriage makes you uncomfortably tingly is fine, Archbishop? Way to turn the other cheek you sanctimonious prig. Do you think Jesus is up there in heaven going "Way to go, that is exactly what I meant by 'turn the other cheek' and 'love thy neighbor'. When I talked to the Samaritans, who were pariahs from Jewish society for a difference in belief they were born in to, I totally would have just pimp slapped em if they had been gay."
But two things really get me. One of them I've been arguing for years, and as always one of the best views on it comes from the West Wing, which I will crib from heavily and without notation, MLA or Chicago style (haha, suck that liberal arts education). Liberal. When in the course of our history did Liberal become a bad word, and why in the hell did we let it happen?
Liberalism has been the driving force behind this country since day 1. Liberalism is challenging the status quo when it doesn't work to make it work better, and not just hanging on to something because it's how we've done it for a while now. Liberalism took a group of people in the British colony of America and made them say 'What if we actually had a say in the governance of this land we're on, and the people writing the laws have only seen in paintings'. Liberalism passed the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act when the industries that were poisoning our world had no desire to change the way it was. Liberalism gave women the right to vote, gave the same Medicare to our seniors that they love while going to town hall meetings and saying they don't support government health care.
And liberalism freed the slaves.
Yes, I went there. And yes it was a Republican President who freed the slaves, but under no definition ever set forth at the time would Abraham Lincoln have been conservative on the issue of slavery. Abraham Lincoln may have said some things that we scratch our heads at now but he was miles to the left of a majority of the country for a long time on his beliefs of slavery.
The Republican party was founded by liberals, by men who saw the status quo sucked musket balls and wanted to throw it out the window if that is what it took. It was founded by Democrats who were sick of the South's stagnation and control of the party, by Whigs who were tired of nobody wanting to even talk about slavery, and by Free Soilers who wanted the whole thing to stop. Men of conscience and character who were not afraid to look at the way things were and loudly say 'Bollocks'.
So by God in Heaven I am a Liberal and I am proud of it, because time and time again when there is a need for men of conscience and character to lead the country in to a new age, to say 'Hell no' to an outdated system that no longer protects the freedoms and liberties of our citizens, it will be the Liberals leading the charge. Because we are at the vanguard of rights for all citizens regardless of their race, their gender, their religion or their sexuality. Because we are willing to examine ideas from outside our experience and judge if they have merit, rather than dismissing them with a knee jerk ideological reaction. A true liberal can be in favor of sensible gun ownership, gay rights, small government where applicable, universal health care, and supporting the troops. And I am proud to be all of those things, I will always be proud to support those things, and I will no longer allow men of small mind and smaller character to take what I am and turn it in to a curse word.
And God Dammit if I see one more person comparing health care (universal, intergalactic, socialized, antisocial or otherwise) to the Nazis I am going to declare a Jewhad on their asses and just go sixteen different kinds of crazy, got it?