Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The "L" word and other social taboos

So as not to place blame where it is not due, anyone reading this blog should be aware that there are multiple authors contributing. If you look at the bottom of a post, you should see the affiliated authors name or initials. However, I feel that for the most part you will find a significant level of similarity in our ideas. If we do have a different point of view, I'm sure a worthy debate will emerge. That's what is beautiful about our country.

Enough on that. Let's move onto the dreaded "L" word.

When I told my Grandma that I was a liberal, she almost passed out. Literally. She held her head in despair and wondered out loud "I never thought I would see the day..." I have tried to rationalize with her, and many other friends and family since then, mostly to no avail. What makes so much sense to me, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually is also the hardest thing to help others understand. I will continue to try anyway.

If you haven't hit the link to the definitions of "liberal" I suggest you do so before moving on.

Let's take a journey back to the beginning, where there "were many of the noble and great ones." One plan, and on plan only, was proposed to "prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them." (Abraham 3:25) The fundamental component of the plan of salvation is choice. It is the free agency to follow the guidelines and example we have been given. If God had sent the second that raised his voice on that monumental day, all would have won the prize, but only through absolute order and elimination of choice. Our religion values the freedom of choice, and I feel we must award to others, the same rights we demand. In other words, if I want the right to worship how I want, and live the way I want, should I not grant that same privilege to others, especially if their ideas differ from my own?

In the political gradient between freedom and order, most of us inherently sit somewhere in the middle. We can't accept complete freedom, that would be anarchy; and we can't accept complete order, that would be prison.

I value individual freedom more then about anything else, and so I am a liberal. I favor the freedom of action with respect to matters of personal belief or expression, and so I am liberal. I encourage progress, representation, tolerance, generosity, and freedom to act upon the dictates of my own conscience, and so based on both connotation and denotation, I am liberal.

I admit that some of my motivation for embracing freedom, is a fear of being forced to obey. Maybe Huxley or Orwell got to me, but I would rather live in a country that gives people the choice of guiding their own future, than live in a place that all are forced like cattle to follow. Of course that means that I must also accept that people might choose a direction that I disagree with, but it also means that I maintain the ability to live the way I want too.

Now back to the present. I look at Obama and I see the prospects of a better world. I may not agree with every aspect of his campaign or his individual character, but we share the hope of a more tolerant world, where two very different people can sit down and talk about their differences before unleashing war. We share the hope of breaking down the racial divide that penetrates through generations despite denial, and the political divide that is propogated by money and greed. We share the desire for the United States to regain its prowress as the world leader in invention and inovation, so that "we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of "peace on earth, good will toward men."" (JFK)

And that is why I am a liberal.

Careful. If you agree, then you might be a liberal too.


Shannon said...

Hey, I loved your post. Just finished listening to Obama's speech. I'm just so grateful/proud to be an American tonight. I know we all need to temper our expectations, but I feel like good things lie ahead.

Sheldon said...

Hey Shawn,

Just found the blog. I think it is pretty cool that you're putting some of your more taboo thoughts out in the blogosphere.

Just from reading some of the posts authored by you, I'm not sure if "liberal" is the correct term to describe your political views though. At least from my take on it.

But maybe that's because I'm coming from a "Libertarian" perspective. Especially your comments on agency and allowing the individual the freedom to act for himself. As I've come to understand it, "Liberalism," today is too closely associated with the primacy of State, and not so much the individual.

Too many people think that when it comes to politics, you can only be one or the other. I abandoned party ties years ago, and am a registered Independent. This isn't because I lack direction. It's just, In my view, the two-party system is corrupt and vary only in degree. This is intentional. The so-called Republican party is Republican in name only.

I am a Libertarian Constitutionalist. I agree with your statements on agency. This is the core of all arguments. It always goes back to this. From the war in heaven to the wars in our homes (between family members), it always deals with agency.