Thursday, January 22, 2009

A good set of questions... good that I wish I'd thought of them.

I'm shamelessly stealing this from a Massachusetts blog, "Speak Out Southbridge!" (a conservative/Republican blog, BTW).

The questions asked in this post are extremely timely, given that both the AZ Democrats and the AZ Republicans are holding their biannual reorganization meetings this weekend.

From Speak Out Southbridge! -
Conservative or Liberal

These are honest questions, because I am sincerely past the point of being confused. I hope that those who respond will speak from their hearts.

Do you consider yourself a liberal or a conservative? Why? What do you think defines you as a conservative/liberal?

To what do you most object about those who identify themselves as liberals if you are a conservative or about conservatives if you are a liberal?

Again, to both sides, what could the other side say that would make you listen to them and open a real conversation?

I hope that we can, indeed, “put away childish things” and start a conversation. Perhaps our differences are not as great as our aspirations.

Kenneth M. O'Brien

Like Mr. O'Brien, I'm not confused - I'm a liberal and proud of it. I'm curious, though, about why other people are liberals/conservatives/whatevers. Please feel free to respond in a comment. It doesn't have to be a complete answer, in fact, a complete and honest answer would probably be too nuanced and long to fit in this forum.

And even if you the reader don't respond in writing, this sort of question and the introspection it provokes is wholly appropriate as our state parties and indeed, our country, try to chart a new course as we enter the Age of Obama.

Oh yeah - and as we enter the 2010 election cycle. :))

Oh yeah2, try to keep it civil. :)



Thane Eichenauer said...

Even though it expands the question a bit I will lay out why I am a Libertarian. Government can't do anything without a 10-90% overhead. Government can be misused (very badly). Taxes might be used for the purpose given (if you are lucky).

I most object to conservatives and liberals using government to socially engineer people and pay for a US Empire.

The News Writer said...

I'm a liberal because I believe the Constitution is a living document created to guide the evolution of our form of government. I am a liberal because I believe the mark of good government is how it treats its people -- and the people of its enemies. I am a liberal because I believe in cooperation, promotion of humanitarian ideals and leading by example, not at the barrel of a gun. I am a liberal because I don't believe government is the problem -- I believe bad government is the problem. And I am a liberal because I favor freedom from religious and political dogma and don't believe that everyone has to think as I do -- they just have to stop telling me how I should believe and trying to force me to believe that way by legislation.

I object to social conservatism. Period. Nothing good has ever come from it, or ever will. I object to conservatives cooptation of American values like "freedom" and "liberty" as if they own the franchise. I object to the conservative penchant for clinging to outmoded ideology for the sake of clinging to the ideology. And I object to what modern conservatives have done to conservatism over the last 40 or so years, in particular its union with religious extremism.

Here's what conservatives could say: I reject and repudiate my divisive past. I apologize for forcing my religious values on others by attempting to write them into law, ignoring the Founding Fathers of this great country, who took great pains to keep religion out government. I believe that the strength of this country lies in its people -- all of them, no matter what their religious, political or other views. I will not allow extremist propagandists to give voice to the vilest and most base of thoes who think as I do -- I will denounce those statement quickly and decisively.

But then, of course, they'd have to mean it.

cpmaz said...

Thane, TNW -

Thanks for taking the time to write your replies. I suppose to be fair, I should post my reply to the original post.

Next comment...

cpmaz said...

I'm a liberal, and it's not because one day I looked around and decided to be a liberal.

No, I'm a liberal because most of the political positions that I think are right are called 'liberal' by others.

Those positions include, but are not limited to:

...Leave freely consenting adults alone. You or I don't have to like what those adults are doing with each other, but so long as they don't hurt others, it's nobody else's business.

...Public education isn't just a right, it's a necessity to ensure our future vitality as a country. If you want a small scale example of what happens when a community has only contempt for its schools, look at Southbridge. The school system is one of the worst in the state and has been for at least two or even three generations. As such, any kid with the smallest opportunity to get out leaves as soon as they can.

...Government exists to serve the people, not the other way around. It also must serve *all* of the people, not just those rich enough to pay bribes...errr...'campaign contributions.'

...Freedom of Religion means freedom for all religions, not just the most popular one; it also means freedom *from* imposed religion if that is what someone wants (this is the "no 10 Commandments displays in courthouses" clause).

...Public service is just that, public service. Not ideological propogation, not personal aggrandization, not anything but serving the needs of constituents.

I grew up in Southbridge but live in AZ now. Here, the Republicans are in the majority (a shrinking one, but it's still there).

In many ways, they represent everything that I can't stand about so-called conservatives - smarmy, nosy, hypocritical, sometimes outright loony, and worse.

Many of the one elected to the state legislature proudly declare that when their constituents' needs conflict with their personal ideologies, ideological concerns take precedence.

While they haven't made me become more liberal, they have certainly influenced my decision to become more active (from loudmouth to blogger to campaign volunteer to elected Democratic PC to Democratic state committee member).

Having said all that, there are "good" conservatives/Republicans - intelligent, hard working, concerned for their constituents, and willing to talk. They want what is best for their communities; they just have different (wrong! ) ) ideas on what "best" is.

Unfortunately for them (in AZ, at least), extremists from their own party call them "RINOs" and try to purge them via primary challenges and worse.

BTW - good post. It makes people think. I think I will 'borrow' this one (with attribution, of course) for my own blog.

BTW2 - Apologies for the length of this comment. As long as it is, however, it could have been much longer and more nuanced.