Thursday, September 02, 2004

Could I be a liberal?

Here's where I agree with liberal politics (at least what I think are typical liberal beliefs):

1) International relations: I see myself as a world citizen, not only as a citizen of the U.S.

2) War: You don't just go around declaring war on other countries and killing scads of innocents (let alone your own soldiers) without a *really good reason*. (Note: There aren't that many good reasons.) You certainly don't give passionate speeches about "the sanctity of human life" once you've done this!

3) The Downtrodden: I very much want to end (or at least reduce) oppression of all forms, and I want to create equal opportunities for all people as much as possible.
I'm especially concerned about:
- Institutionalized &/or "subtle-but-deadly" sexism.
- Institutionalized &/or "subtle-but-deadly" racism.
- The deep hostility in U.S. culture against homosexuals. (Also, I support same-sex marriage.)
- The deep hostility in U.S. culture against other marginalized groups: fat people, mentally ill, physically/mentally disabled
- Children growing up in poverty (people in general, also, of course, but especially children)

4) Economic Policy: Should primarily focus on creating the foundation for people to live decent, productive lives, and to provide equal opportunities. It should NOT focus primarily on GDP growth or efficiency for its own sake.

5) Political Correctness: So often and easily maligned, but usually one could substitute the phrase with "politeness" or "consideration for others". Not saying outrageous examples of political correctness don't exist. But often something that seems silly to one person makes sense to someone else, or the thought behind the "politically correct" idea is not well known or understood. (I read something once which listed the word "chairperson" as an example of out-of-control political correctness. But "chairperson" sounds perfectly normal and reasonable to me.) Sometimes simply agreeing to terms someone else would prefer, out of kindness, makes the most sense on many levels. If it seems difficult to use "politically correct" terms (whether they're offensive in themselves or cause undue hardship with little obvious benefit), it's a good occasion to discuss this with the person making the request. Not just dismiss their concerns while feeling smug and satisfied with yourself!

6) Crime: I'd like to see crime prevented with money spent on community development rather than prisons. I'm horrified by the imprisonment rate in the U.S, especially when compared to other countries.

7) Lifestyle (these are meant to be silly):
- low meat diet
- shop at "Whole Foods" market
- enjoy sushi
- cohabitation before marriage (without feeling guilty about it)
- UU as a religion
- teach a jr. high sex-ed class (not abstinence-only) at my UU congregation
- split household chores evenly with spouse (we are equally lazy...)
- kept birth name upon marriage (among many other "card-carrying feminist" lifestyle choices)
- watch (and enjoy) "The Daily Show"
- lots of reading (I could be viewed as an intellectual if one squints hard enough)
- long, "hippie" hair style
- liberal friends

I sure seem liberal! But then, see the next post.


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