First I think you have to define what a Liberal is. To me a liberal believes in these fundamental truths; that it is the government’s duty to provide equal opportunity and equality for all of its citizens. That the government can alleviate many economic and social ills.
I believe that productivity should be rewarded. It’s not. I believe that rules designed to make the wealthiest of us even wealthier are immoral. That the government should protect us from rampant corporate greed. That greater economic equality will cure many of our current social problems. That quality healthcare is an obligation of government. That the government should ensure affordable education.
Ronald Reagan once said that the scariest nine words in the English language were” I’m from the government and I am here to help”. If that is the case, our government has failed us. And rather than accept that, we should replace those governing. Because the basic tenets of a good government are to protect and provide for its citizens.
I have been heavily influenced by the writings of Thomas Paine, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke and most of all Bruce Springsteen.
I grew up in a housing project that was almost exclusively black. I watched people play by the rules, do the things that we have been told would make you succeed in America. And I saw those people fail to move forward. And I realized that those were not truths, but myths. I listened to Republicans extoll the virtues of free market capitalism, while interfering in the markets at the expense of the working class.
I came of age during the Reagan years. During Reagonomics: The theory that if you gave wealthy business owners more money, they would share it with their workers. What happened was the reverse. It started a trend that resulted in the greatest economic disparity since the robber barons. The working class moved backwards. And we continue to move backwards. And until Democrats focus on using the power of the government to even the playing field, we will continue to fall farther behind.
And lastly, I am a Liberal for the same reason that baseball players are superstitious. They know that while they have the skills needed to be in their position, that they are lucky. They know how many guys they have seen that have worked just as hard and have as much talent to be where they are, that things just haven’t worked out for. They know that many, many things had to fall into place for them to be where they are at. And that many people worked just as hard to get into that position and because of sheer bad luck, failed. In my life, I have seen many talented people work hard and fail. I know that I am one bad break away from needing the safety nets that a good government should provide.
At a time when corporate profits are greater than ever in America, I have seen things like profit-sharing, 401k matching and healthcare contributions disappear. While wages remain flat. There is a huge gulf between the American Dream and the American reality. And we need to shorten the gulf.