Our Liberal Creed

Recently someone asked me, derisively, what we liberals even believe in. Last night over drinks, my sister and I answered that question:

  • We believe most people have good intentions, no matter what country they were born in.
  • We believe in bootstraps. We also believe no one pulls them up on their own.
  • We believe in faith—in gods, in trees, in the sun…whatever floats your boat.
  • We believe in the scientific method.
  • We believe intelligence is a good thing. We view this as formal education + street smarts + a good amount of reading the newspaper.
  • We believe in the fundamental importance of journalists to a republic.
  • We believe conspiracy theories are conspiracy theories.
  • We believe family tradition is good for stuff like Christmas pajamas, cookie recipes, and Sunday night dinners, but born-and-raised gets you only so far. At some point, you have to step away and decide what you believe on your own.
  • We believe in hard work.
  • We believe “the common man” is all of us, whether you are a white rancher in Montana or a black nurse in Baltimore.
  • We believe Real America includes the coasts.
  • We believe in the dignity of the presidency.
  • We believe people deserve second chances. But not many.
  • We believe in the gray areas.
  • We believe in the 2nd amendment. We also believe no private citizen needs a military-grade weapon and that people who buy guns should be vetted, just like teachers, politicians, and babysitters.
  • We believe in hunting. By this, we do not mean: trapping, using dogs to corner an animal, using a guide to lead you to an animal on a reserve so you can shoot it and hang its head on your wall, sitting in a blind waiting for an animal to cross your path while you drink beer, or anything else that is not hunting.
  • We believe people who work 40 hours a week should be able to feed their children, support an ailing parent, pay their bills, and have something left for popcorn and a movie. If not, then the minimum living wage should be raised.
  • We believe government can’t solve all our problems but it should also be judged by how well it treats its weakest members.
  • We believe sick people should have the medicine that will help them get better, chosen by their doctor based on need and not the insurance companies based on cost.
  • We believe in quality childcare and support for new parents. This includes paid maternity leave that is on par with the rest of the civilized world.
  • We believe college graduates should be able to afford groceries and their student loan bill.
  • We believe the world isn’t always fair, but you change what you can.
  • We believe in helping others. We don’t care if the beggar on the street is lazy or an addict. He is on the street and we are not.
  • We believe in renewable energy. We could power up this whole country using the sun. And it’s just sitting there, free.
  • We believe in the entire Shakespeare quote: “To thine own self be true, and it must follow…thou canst not then be false to any man.” And when you get to the top of the ladder, whatever ladder you’ve climbed, lend a hand to the person below.
  • We believe in contraception and teaching people how to use it. We would love to believe our children will remain abstinent until 25 but that’s not the real world.
  • We believe women should have the choice whether or not they want to become a mother, and whether or not it is safe for them to do so.
  • We believe in life, including the hundreds of thousands of U.S. children waiting to be adopted.
  • We believe love is an emotion that should be celebrated no matter who is doing the loving.
  • We believe in freedom of speech but we also believe that comes with the responsibility to not be an idiot. Or a racist.
  • We believe political correctness is synonymous with kindness.
  • We believe we are connected, irrevocably, to the natural world. As the most intelligent creatures at the top of the food chain, we have a duty to Manage. This. Shit.
  • We believe jails should contain violent offenders and the people-with-more who screw people-with-less on purpose. Everyone else needs either traffic school, rehab, mental health care, or a living wage.
  • We believe our Irish immigrant ancestors, who were spit upon and denied jobs (“No Irish Need Apply”), were just as American as we are today, seven generations later.
  • Finally, we believe in the words of Benjamin Franklin, who, upon exiting the Constitutional Convention, told gathered citizens that the founding fathers had just created a republic, “if you can keep it.” Being an American citizen is a privilege and a responsibility. Don’t complain; do something. Don’t ignore the news; read it. Don’t stay home; vote. Honor America. Keep it.

11 thoughts on “Our Liberal Creed

  1. Well, good. That’s what most conservatives believe in too. We place more emphasis on personal responsibility and accountability, but realistically we are not that far apart. One thing we probably disagree on most, is the amount of government intrusion into our lives. It takes away really the bootstraps you talk about. They’re actually hindering the ability of people to get ahead. It’s disrespectful trading these folks like they were children incapable of doing for themselves. And finally, working full time and raising a family is great, but you’re assuming all employment stats stay the same. I don’t believe they will. That’s already been proven in Seattle. So you’d have to deal with the unintended consequences of increased unemployment especially among youth, and worse, minority youth employment, which is already abysmal. Where will they get their first work experience? How old will they be when they finally get one? . And what do they do in the meantime? Just my 2 cents worth. Ideals are one thing, but these ideals need to be seriously thought through before willy nilly implementation. That today is unfortunately a lost art. Because it’s all politics. Sad. Really sad.

    • I agree liberals and conservatives are not far apart. I think government enables some and let’s others get away with murder. You can’t win every fight 100%, there’s no perfect answer, but we can hold to our ideals.

  2. Beautiful! People always give me a hard time when I give homeless people money. I always say, no one knows what they have gone through!

    Keep your words coming!

  3. You really don’t want to fairly discuss any of this, do you? . I mean the collective you. Not any individual. It’s so important that you get nothing but like and good feelings together and it makes everyone feel great. But we get nowhere. Loved your writing Jessica.you are a smart woman. But intellectually, and in the interest of moving us ALL forward, I’ve realized, again, that it’s only a one sided viewpoint. I realized it when not one response to my commentary, yet warm hugs for your one sided views. Fine. Really no big deal. I learned something so thank you. But unfortunately not enough to have a relationship in communication. I truly wish you well. Now, and in the future. Mark

      • Actually no. I’ve removed myself from the conservative sites as well as they are the same self congratulatory sameness of thought. And what it boils down to, on both sides, is an I’m right, they’re not, viewpoint. And there’s no listening or real hope of understanding much less acceptance of another pov. No real looking for places to agree. .

        But I guess that’s what binds people to a particular article and thought process. It’s really not a big deal. You’re a good writer, and those who resonate with that, as I did for your writing, just not completely with your perspective, will continue to have followers who think the same. Which is why I’ve divested myself of the majority of conservative bloggers as well. It was really not you, Jessica. It’s the nature of the beast. Thanks for the wishes back as well.

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