Ok, I’m sick and tired of […..] columnists using the word “liberal” and “liberals” in a cravenly insulting manner. According to the Oxford American Dictionary, liberal means “giving generously…not strict or literal…broadening the mind in a general way…tolerant, open-minded especially in religion and politics…favoring democratic reform and individual liberty, moderately progressive.”

 

None of these definitions are inappropriate, disgusting or worthy of disdain! And, certainly not undesirable! If there is a “liberal agenda,” it naturally aligns itself with these principles.

As a liberal, these values are precious to me.

Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. These freedoms are guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution. I am opposed to anyone or anything which threatens these freedoms. I am deeply disturbed by people who contribute to false or “fake news” or suggest the “media is the enemy of the American people.”

Liberals believe that every American has a right to quality education at all levels. We support public education fervently. Personally, I believe the time has come for all students who maintain high standards of achievement to receive tuition-free education–at a minimum through community college levels.

Liberals believe that every American has a right to medical care. No American should be turned away or refused treatment in a hospital. Medical care should be equally applied, across the board, to everyone. Unfortunately, although several ways to afford this type of medical care have been proffered, I do not have space to go into detail. I personally support a single-payer, graduated system based on family and/or individual annual income levels.

Government must be of, by and for the people and large enough to provide for the general public what it cannot provide for itself, i.e. adequate infrastructure; police, fire and military protection; Social Security; and care for the indigent.

Liberals accept, appreciate and support all races, creeds, nationalities and sexual orientations. This liberal “belief” includes the axiom that whatever is acceptable for any homogeneous group is acceptable for all other homogeneous groups. As human beings “made of one blood,” we are in fact one huge homogeneous humanity.

Liberals welcome immigrants and believe our nation has achieved greatness because it is a melting pot of languages and cultures.

Liberals, in general, disapprove of despotism, bigotry and bullying; that is, one individual “lording over” or implying that he or she is innately better than others because of his/her social, political or financial status.

I wrote this column to suggest that part of the discontinuity that proscribes (“rejects as dangerous”) and separates political parties (liberals, independents, conservatives) is a lack of understanding of the basic values of opposite points of view. But, also, lack of understanding of the basic value of diversity.

One might get the impression from reading some opinion pieces that liberals are bad people–that they are people who have purposely set out to destroy everything that is good and right in America. Nothing could be further from the truth!

(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins. [This article first appeared in the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch.]