Somewhere along the path from conservatism to moderation I got labeled.
I got labeled with the “L” Word. no, not the Lesbian one, the other less socially acceptable one, the Liberal label…and to tell the truth though I consider myself a moderate I actually fall on the Liberal side of the political and religious spectrum.
It actually surprised me when I figured it out. To tell the truth I don’t know how it happened. I cheered the demise of Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Mike Dukakis and even Al Gore. I listened to Rush as much as I could. Not even 8 years ago I was defending “W” against what I thought were unfair assaults from the left. I enjoyed liberal bashing. It was fun.
But a funny thing happened between 2004 and now, I think it was a place called Iraq, where I began to question the unquestionable questions of conservative orthodoxy in a number of forums. I became a moderate and a passionate one at that, although truthfully I am probably better described as one of those nasty liberals.
I think being a moderate, for those who really are moderates, is really a tricky thing. Back when I was in seminary during the pre-Fundamentalist takeover of Southwestern Baptist Seminary I remember hearing a big name Fundamentalist preacher say that “middle of the road moderates were only good to be run over.” One of my professors who would be a casualty of the takeover of the seminary said that for many in the Southern Baptist Convention of the time that “Liberal means anyone to the left of me.”
Now I do have to confess, unlike a lot of people when they get older and become more conservative I have become more “liberal” in that I am more accepting of people different than me. I am also more willing to tolerate things that back when I knew everything I would attack without exception. When I worked up the guts to openly state that I questioned political conservative orthodoxy almost four years ago I got thrown out of the church that I was ordained. But despite that I still believed that I was somewhere in the middle of the spectrum but I was obviously wrong. My mom even thought so and she used to think I was a right win germ but I guess today I am a pretty liberal moderate.
I think that racism is still alive and well and that Jim Crow lives, thus the job of the Civil Rights movement is not done.
I think that gays and lesbians should have the same right to marriage and civil rights that heterosexuals have.
I think that the bankers and the Wall Street people who practically destroyed the economy back in late 2008 should be in jail.
I think that multinational corporations that enjoy the benefits of all this country offers and that the taxpayers provide should pay their fair share of taxes instead of being allowed to make their money here and shelter it offshore.
I think that the environment matters and that we should do all that we can to protect it.
I believe that the poor, minorities, the elderly and others with no power need the help and protection of the government from predatory businesses, banks and others that would seek to impoverish them even more.
I think that there is a place for strong organized labor to protect the rights of people who either produce the goods or provide the services that make others rich and this nation prosperous.
I think that the leaders of the Bush administration who took us to war in Iraq are war criminals and would have hung at Nuremberg if Justice Robert Jackson had had them in the dock.
I think that we need to take a hard look at our foreign policy and as Ulysses S Grant told us:
“As the United States is the freest of all nations, so, too, its people sympathize with all people struggling for liberty and self-government; but while so sympathizing it is due to our honor that we should abstain from enforcing our views upon unwilling nations and from taking an interested part, without invitation, in the quarrels between different nations or between governments and their subjects. Our course should always be in conformity with strict justice and law, international and local.”
I think that Fox News lies when it calls itself “fair and balanced” and that much of what it airs is nothing more than political propaganda designed to help its political allies and keep people riled up against that black man in the White House.
I think that the crass social Darwinism of the followers of Ayn Rand is evil, needs to be called what it is and condemned by those who call themselves Christians.
Likewise, speaking of Christians I think that many American Christians have sold their faith to political hacks that call themselves pastors or religious leaders while pocketing the money of their followers laughing all the way to the bank.
Finally as a Christian I don’t think that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. I think that we as a society have a responsibility to care for the least, the lost and the lonely.
I think that makes me a liberal who still wants to be a moderate. I am okay with people that disagree with me because it is a free country but I won’t be bullied.
Where did I go left?