Instead of defending their own values and policies, conservatives often prefer to attack liberals. They use such epitaphs as extremist, elitist, representing special interests, socialistic, and weak in defending our nation from violence. We should not respond defensively as whinny victims. We should respond aggressively as proud mainstream liberals.
We liberals are mainstream. We represent the best of our American traditions expressed by our declaration of independence; constitution; and victorious struggles to abolish slavery, protect farmers and other workers from railroad and other trusts, protect consumers from unsafe products, guarantee the rights of women to vote and own property, provide safety nets to protect people from economic cycles and other misfortunes, eliminate legal discrimination against blacks and other minorities, provide opportunities for our poor, provide equal freedoms and opportunities for all people of whatever sexual orientation, and provide legal pathways for immigrants to obtain work in our United States. Public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans agree with our liberal values of liberty, equality, responsibility and community.
We are not elitist. Just compare the composition of the delegates to the 2004 Democratic and Republican Conventions. We are inclusive, including all of the various groups cited above, whom the conservatives have attempted exclude from rights (freedoms and opportunities) enjoyed by the rest of us.
As liberals, we support the public interest which consists in enhancing freedoms and opportunities for all, and especially people who have fewer freedoms and opportunities for the rest of us. The conservatives are the ones who support special interests by corruptly granting huge benefits to the powerful and wealthy. Unfortunately some liberal supporters do have special interests which they demand our liberal politicians cater to in return for their support.
Some examples are labor union protection of their health care benefits has been a major obstacle to securing universal health coverage; automobile workers have joined their employers in resisting raising vehicle mileage standards; teachers and other public employees have sometimes placed a high priority on job security at the expense of competence; senior citizens have resisted taxation of social security benefits even for wealthy seniors.
Legislators whether liberal or conservative vote themselves benefits far beyond those they provide to their constituents and exempt themselves from laws that apply to others. They use legislation to create government program empires. Some are bribed by campaign contributors. Catering to these demands is not liberal and should be strongly resisted. Loyalty to our friends and supporters should not extend to allowing them to take advantage of others.
We support competence by people and by government. We believe that within their capabilities, people should be self-supporting and supportive of others. We want to provide help to people who are attempting to help themselves. We find it difficult to help people who irresponsibly refuse to do their share. With limited resources, we want to help others where our help will make a difference. In so far as our institutions reward those who help themselves, we don't want to help others who don't need our help. Nor to we want to waste our resources trying to help those who refuse to be helped. We recognize that it is often difficult to distinguish who belongs in which triage category.
We have always supported free private and public enterprise, only resisting the capitalist premise that the only bottom line is that top decisions should be made by and returns from production mostly accrue to the providers of capital. We believe that where necessary to stop external costs imposed by unfair, unsafe and polluting practices upon workers, consumers, suppliers and others, effective regulations should be imposed. We also believe that powerful businesses should be stopped from corrupting legislators through lobbying and campaign donations to obtain benefits at the expense of our public.
We believe in strongly defending our country against violence, including finding cures for diseases, protection from drunk drivers, reducing the availability of guns primarily used for crime, effective responses to natural disasters, and attacks by domestic and foreign terrorists. We believe that such treats should be countered legally through research and police action, with military force only rarely necessary and then conducted through international auspices. We believe that these threats should not be used as an excuse for extra-legal or legal extreme government secrecy, invasion of personal privacy, unnecessary military procurement of weapons suited only to conducting wars against non-existing technologically advanced militarily powerful enemies, or for partisan attacks on the loyalty of opposition politicians. We strongly believe in strengthening our police and other first responder resources.
We believe that our present Bush administration and Republican-controlled congress is deceptive, incompetent and corrupt, beliefs now shared by 2/3rds of Americans. We strongly favor open transparency in government, competence for both our people and our government and honesty.
George Lakoff and others have suggested that we must reframe misleading conservative frames. We should aggressively promote our beliefs while disclosing the deceptive attacks and frequent hypocrisy of our opponents. This particularly applies to our Liberal name. If we won't defend our century's long name, what will we defend. By bringing it back into public favor, we create an apparent miracle which will surprise and attract attention. It will show our prowess as happy warriors. Let's whip those whinny losers.