Since I intend for this blog to facilitate some form of intelligent discussion, I think I should start out by explaining a bit of my ideology. The foremost question, I anticipate, would be: liberal or conservative? My answer: neither.
I considered following that with Webster's or Dictionary.com's definition of the two terms, but you can do that for yourself. From those definitions I could easily determine which term more adequately describes my beliefs. However, I feel that using one of these two terms to describe someone (please pay careful attention here) hurts America. Yea, I said it, it hurts America.
Firstly, the definition for these two terms as layed out by America's leading definographers (sp?) is simple, comprehensible, and generally positive if one were to ascribe them to one's self. However, in our day and age when these two terms are thrown around like poo against a wall, there meanings become cloudy, and stinky. Society has moved to the point that wearing one of these titles will have you shunned by another wearing the opposite. You will be stigmatized (is that a word?) as either a bleeding heart liberal who has nothing better to do but smoke pot and hug trees, or a closed-minded conservative fearful of change and determined to kill as many innocent lives necessary to accomplish your goals.
There was once a time, many many moons ago, when being a conservative or a liberal meant something. Describing yourself as one or the other conveyed a clear and concise message as to, not only your political beliefs, but many of your social, economic, and, potentially, religious beliefs. At some point during the late-mid 1900's these definitions swapped, and since then, no one has been able to get a firm grasp on the exact meaning of either.
Secondly, what happens when we as individuals begin abusively throwing around these terms, we end up generalizing an entire group of people. We become bigoted. We have reached an era where it's unacceptable to be racist, or sexist, but it has become the norm to be an "ideologist," if you will.
Let's say Bob and Joe are friendly co-workers. One day, around the water cooler, Bob says to Joe, "Hey, Joe, can you believe that? Peggy in accounting is gonna have an abortion. Murdering wenchbag." In response, Joe says,"You conservatives are all the same, what if she was raped?" And Bob says, "You liberals just don't get it do you? Murder is murder." And both parties storm away in a huff. Now, both men have been labeled by the other and any conversation heretofore will result in one filtering the words of the other in light of their blatantly obvious political alignments.
However, before today, Bob and Joe have been very similar in many of their beliefs concerning social security, homosexual marriage, gun control, etc. Unfortunately, they have been irreconciably divided due to the fact that one is obviously a liberal and the other, obviously a conservative.
I'm not saying it's always this menial, nor am I saying this is always the case. But, more often than not, we, as a society, become divided over a solitary issue and your stance on it will immediately determine which end of the spectrum you sit.
Thirdly, we have gotten to a point where, as a whole nation, we have allowed the media to wash our ears with these terms without ever asking them to define either. For the last decade + we have heard on the television and read in the papers that this candidate is liberal, or this candidate is conservative, without ever knowing what their actual platforms are. We take this information and we make our decision about the people who will potentially govern our lives and our childrens' lives without ever fully knowing what they intend on doing once elected. Subconsciously we have made up our own definition, we have already predetermined that we don't like individuals of this ideology, or individuals for this issue or against that one. We fail to see the bigger picture, and instead, narrow our eyes down to one meaningless word and go from there.
I challenge you, go out and ask people (both people you consider liberal, and those you consider conservative) to define these terms. Ask them what they mean to them. Compare these answers. There is no uniformity. There is no clear understanding. There is no definition. The majority of the time there answer will be filled with animosity, ignorance, and cliches.
So I beg the question: who are you? Liberal? Conservative? Progressive? Communist? Or just another citizen with an eclectic set of values hoping to find the best of a bad bunch?
Stop pigeon-holing America...
Holla@ cha Daego