Thursday, February 21, 2013

What liberals have done.

It comes from a fictional character running for office, but it is nice to remind ourselves and others just what it means to be liberal, and remember just what liberals have done in the history of the United States.

(Sometime I'll have to write out what I thought worked and failed in the last season of West Wing, but it was interesting to watch that very fantasy based election.)

Still, it is an interesting point made. Lincoln, the Republican president, was a liberal.

There is importance in that. Liberal. Conservative. They aren't supposed to be defined by a party allegiance. They are conceptual. Philosophies.

The Republican brand once was to change things. They were a sprightly new party full of ideals and vigor. They opposed slavery, plantations dominating land ownership. It is interesting how time and power can change and shape any group. And the once Northern and Western party becomes the party of the South.

Still, at the same time it is possible for a Republican to have liberal values. People like Theodore Roosevelt proved it could be found in the party, and then accidentally end up in the presidency. Even Nixon had a willingness to take steps to act positively on the environment.

The trouble now is that people like Roosevelt and Nixon (people that would agree with his positive acts) never get into office. One needs to charm the NRA, then to Rush Limbaugh, then financial interests, then Religious Right. Once you've pleased all of them, their isn't much left for the rest of the country, or for the committee conferences. Every senator and representative is placed in a bind. Step too far out of line and their will be a challenger with money and ads.

I would love to see a return of the liberal Republican, open to change, open to working to help Americans put under duress by society or business. But I just don't see the current system welcoming or accepting them back. So, I wish those left would see that and migrate to something new, where they would be allowed to actually make a difference and have a voice.

Republicans like to talk of being the party of Lincoln. It's funny. They are a party that has no place in it for his liberal thinking. And the power base it relies on now would be quite happy if he was blotted from the history books.

But don't worry. We liberals love our history, and we love being sure everyone gets a good education.

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