“Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed.”
That’s from 1 Corinthians 15:58 of the Bible. And it’s entirely true. My Republican brothers and sisters will not care for this op-ed column of mine one little bit. I know that in advance. It is what it is. I say what I mean – and I mean what I say. And what I’m saying is this: when you get right down to it, we Americans are all the same. We’re all human beings. We all have our values, we all have our own favorite things and pet peeves, and we’re all liberals.
You already know I’m a Democrat, a progressive, and a liberal. I’m actually very proud to declare it. Here’s the thing: you, too, are a liberal. You’re at least partially liberal regardless of your age, party affiliation, or gender. Need proof?
The United States was the Promised Land for those British citizens who wanted to escape what they considered tyranny. They came here to practice their systems of faith without fear of persecution, to establish a sound government, to ensure the liberty of the people. This is the home of the brave, the land of the free. Anyone who loves liberty is a liberal. The only real question is to what extent. Here, we’re all afforded the luxury of subscribing to the political ideology of our choice. There are many nations throughout the world where citizens do not have a choice.
Everybody wants their own way. We want what we want, how we want it, when we want it. It’s not evil, it just is. That’s one of the unintended consequences of American exceptionalism. Liberals – or Democrats – are about inclusion. We pretty much want equality across the board. Conservatives – or Republicans – are also about inclusion, but on a much smaller scale. They want equality restricted to their friends, family members, colleagues, peers, and the Republican base. Everyone else is on their own.
Take war for example. Republicans want American boots on the ground in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc., etc. Several of the 2016 Republican presidential candidates – including Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Rick Perry, and Ted Cruz – are expressing their desire to again place our brave soldiers in harm’s way in the Middle East if they win. No one really knows why. You might try asking them, but I truly doubt they’ll answer you coherently. They want America to return to the good old days when we spoke softly and carried the biggest stick. They want the freedom to impose our military might globally – and they want that yesterday. That’s a textbook example of liberalism writ small.
How about immigration? Republicans seem to somehow forget that the United States of America is a nation of immigrants, and has been since 1776. Unless you’re Native American, you’re not from here. Your ancestors came from someplace else, just as my ancestors came from someplace else. It’s so strange that the political party which was once the driving force for inclusion is now the primary source of exclusion – especially as it relates to immigration reform. Do you honestly think that any Republican Senator or Congressman or Governor would want their relative to be treated as callously as any of the 11,000,000 undocumented immigrants who want to begin the long, arduous process of legally becoming an American citizen? The GOP wants the freedom determine who’s smart enough, important enough, or fortunate enough to be an American. Whether we’re talking about becoming a citizen of this country or joining the GOP, its members only – unless they invite you. That’s situational liberalism.
Conservatives are gleefully going about their voter suppression efforts. In red state after red state, they’ve spent the last 2 years or so making it harder for certain Americans – young millennials and minorities – to vote. You’d think that both political parties want all Americans to have unfettered access to polling places, but you’d be wrong. The right feels like it needs gerrymandered district maps. Voter suppression. Fake outrage about voter fraud. Congressional gridlock. Even an assist from a Supreme Court with a conservative majority gutting the protections from the Voters Rights Act of 1965. Conservatives want the liberty to decide who’s worthy to vote in this country. If you’re not with them, you’re against them. Friends, that’s bias-based liberalism.
Republicans also want low taxes, free trade agreements, an end to labor unions, no regulation of Wall Street, climate change denial, the ability to define religious freedom in America, and the subjugation of women. Sounds like big government with a touch of totalitarianism.
My next op-ed piece is entitled “We’re All Conservatives.” Wait until you get a load of that.
Despite their passionate denials, Republicans are liberals. We are all. Wake up. It’s no mystery.