Thursday, March 19, 2009
I Get Now Why I Am a Liberal
My last two blog entries have been rants of sorts on the subject of the omnipresent anger in the hearts and minds of conservatives. In the past three years I have written several times about conservatives in the context of trying to understand just what it is they believe. At the end of the last decade, before the Bush administration, I felt comfortable about the differences between liberals and conservatives. There were several; liberals loved big government and thought that government should do all things for all people. Conservatives favored small government and expected that if people wanted something, they should work to get it and not expect to get a handout from the government at someone else's expense. The essence of the distinction between the two was conservatives believed that one should be able to keep what he earned and not give it to the government in the form of taxes so that others would get it. I refer to this as the "I am not my brother's keeper" viewpoint which appears to be the lifeblood of conservatism. Liberals, on the other hand, think that people who have certain innate disadvantages, such as being born with black skin in an inner city ghetto, deserve a reasonable opportunity to rise up and improve their lot, albeit with assistance from government like Clarence Thomas, as an example. Then, along came George W. Bush and the Republican Congressional majority in 2000 which inherited a governmental structure running in the black and turned it into a trillion dollar-plus deficit in a short eight years. Along the way the do-nothing-for-people conservatives passed a Medicare drug program for everybody over 65 at an estimated annual cost of 465 billion dollars a year. It is unclear to me at the present who benefits most from this program, the pharmaceutical industry who can sell their drugs while the government is prohibited by the law from negotiating prices or the users of these drugs. But it is clear that , one way or the other, it is a massive handout at government expense; i.e., hardly a conservative enterprise. This is one of several examples which have blurred the practical distinction in my understanding of the difference between conservative and liberal. The fake asserted upper hand on morality, spurned by the irresponsible under the desk act of liberal Clinton, was revealed for the charade it was by conservatives Foley, Gingrich, Vitter, Church, Hagarty and others who seemed to fail to understand that the zipper goes up, not down. Bottom line; conservatives do not have the market on morality and liberals are as likely to be spiritual creatures as conservatives. So let me get to the big questions at the moment. What is fanning the fire of anger in self-designated conservatives? In personal discussion with conservatives, I find myself in agreement with them on a lot of issues. One good friend, Dennis D., claims that we (he and I) have a libertarian streak running through each of us. However, I notice one key difference in that conservatives watch and listen to Fox and Bill O'Reilly as well as Rush Limbaugh. Dennis Miller, a comedian, appeared on Bill O'Reilly's show the other night and ranted and raved about the New York Times. This is a campaign that has gone on for a long time. Cheney insisted that in every hotel room he stayed in during his veep that all TVs in the rooms had to be turned to Fox. In watching the Fox programs (and I do watch them regularly), I do note one singular characteristic in that every piece of news or opinion is presented in a manner critical of liberals. The derisive tone is never specific, but all-inclusive. Code words are used; Pelosi is a trigger word which is used to depict unbridled irresponsible spending and advocacy for nonsensical liberal positions without specification. A trial lawyer (since the days of Reagan) is a mockery of a system symbolizing greed, avarice and nuisance lawsuits. Some of my conservative friends use the term Democrat as a code word for African American citizens of our country. The net result of all the deep thought and study efforts is that I have come to the conclusion that I am apparently a liberal because I am a trial lawyer who reads the New York Times. Doesn't my suscription to the Wall Street Journal count for anything?