Personal Credo: An Offering of Liberalism
I knew the election was lost and the Liberal cause further confused and damaged by the bumbling of Michael Dukakis back in l988. The pivotal point came when just a few short weeks away from election, in an interview with Ted Koppel on Nightline, Koppel asked point blank to the then governor from Massachusetts- What is a Liberal? The governor hesitated and scrambled for some way to put into words the Liberal cause. All he could do was stammer away about following in the traditions of FDR and JFK. He failed to define Liberal ideals and the basis for what would constitute a Liberal mind and a Liberal hand at governing. Dukasis not only predictably lost the election, but lost a tremendous opportunity to define in plain and simple terms what a Liberal is.
The L word began a slow retreat from that time, and in spite of the successful election of Bill Clinton four years later, Liberals have appeared to be shrinking away from an assertion of their own values. And what these values are so often remain ambiguous and obscured. This Liberal person will attempt to speak about the very nature of the animal itself, and will do so with complete pride and satisfaction.
In my mind, the L word can be equated with another L word: LOVE. For the loving and caring about others is the basis for all Liberal thought. It is also a love of one’s self. This translates into understanding, tolerance, and respect for all individuals despite differences of any form- social, religious, or political. The Liberal mind understands that differences do exist among people, beginning with their background and belief system. The Liberal further accepts such differences and will not interfere by imposing another belief system upon other people. It is a live and let live philosophy pure and simple.
Life however, is not a simple affair, and in today’s world things can perhaps be made a bit easier for people by simply allowing everyone the freedom to live as they choose within our constitutional framework, which is our inherited right in a truly democratic society. People do choose different lifestyles, even different gods to guide them, and never should any governing body show partiality or preference toward one choice or direction over another. The Liberal is often accused of having a bleeding heart. This is very often the case, as this Liberal’s heart oozes with concern for others who have less and need assistance from those who have more. Since when did displaying human concern constitute something to be ashamed of? As if the bleeding heart expression has become something to poke fun at or even show contempt for. Compassion is the innate emotion that drives the liberal cause. Let us compassionately make laws that will honor and protect the whole of society and not favor any group large or small.
The late Edgar Cayce spoke of having a simple mission here on the planet, and that was to be of service to all that he could. His example (and there have been many others), should arouse the giver in all of us, for it does exist in all people. Giving does not mean we shall have less, rather more will come from such individual and community action. This is our true moral obligation, to help others and be of service to all that we can, rather than judge and condemn differences.
Liberalism is often associated with one political party, but should transcend beyond such party lines to continue a dialogue of views. Issues can be addressed on the basis of a simple notion: how will the people benefit most by a particular action. We must re-ignite the “melting pot” idealism on which this country was built. It takes many people from all backgrounds to make the richest society. We should never fear differences, but rather embrace them. All groups have an offering to make and let us honor such gestures as contributions to our nation and planet. Such an environment of openness makes for the healthiest situation of sharing, learning, and gaining. We should never forget our own arrival here or that of our ancestors, and the difficulties of adjustment that follows all groups. We need not compete, but rather sensitively act, to assist those who have come to this place after us.
Liberals do not intend to dictate to anyone and that’s the whole point: to listen and learn from, and then act in the most understanding and respectful ways, in ways that always reinforce the dignity of the people, the dignity of the planet.
There are methods, solutions of government that can satisfy the needs of the many, and perhaps we should re-examine policies and laws before we make judgments to change and abolish programs of creativity or human assistance. It is not naivete to believe that we all have some social responsibility as we make our place in the world. Can we proceed to work cooperatively together at this?
Change will be positive only when we look at the larger picture of how we will be affected. We must look to change the causes of problems, rather than address only the symptoms. Helping others to ultimately help themselves is the direction to take if we truly are interested in improving the world. And helping others to restore a sense of pride in their lives is really the solution. A Liberal mind with a gentle hand can work and need not be viewed as something weak or threatening. Rather, the Liberal view requires great strength and conviction, ruled by an open mind and an open heart. It’s time for all Liberals to stand up and reaffirm what we believe in, and offer what we can to building a better world for everyone.
The social world as I describe it is an inner one acting outward. This is all about relatedness and connectedness with all beings, human and animal. The physical world cannot be overlooked or ignored. The same attitudes as I previously described pertain to our outlook toward the planet. The responsibility here is enormous: to sustain and support the vital life resources of the planet is absolutely obvious and essential. Our connectedness to the planet and greater universe is the very truth in which we all depend.Safeguarding the resources of our planet is fundamental. We all can and must share in being custodians of the planet. Social responsibility, civil liberty, and geophysical awareness and inter action are the mainstays for us all. May we all participate.