What Made Me a Liberal or: How I became uninvited to Thanksgiving

Often times I feel a hollow in my gut when I hear or read something that has been taken under the political umbrella. Most of the time it’s a brief reaction to something that was shared on Facebook that is either ill-informed or flat-out false. Sometimes it’s someone’s story that they’re willing to share with the media that I want to play on loudspeakers everywhere for people to hear so we can try to understand.

I firmly believe that righteous anger is not an inalienable right. You can pursue righteous anger just as you can pursue happiness, but that does not mean you automatically achieve it. Anger, yes. Everyone has the ability to get angry, but righteous fury must be earned. It takes more than a third-removed Facebook friend of a friend’s poorly-constructed meme to qualify. One must be informed to be able to be unequivocally passionate about a subject. Talk to any geek. They will confirm this.

I was taught to consult no less than five sources of information on a daily basis. Two of those must be from a source that does not follow your political ideation. That is, if you are a New York Times addict, the Wall Street Journal needs to be one of your other sources. Multiple sources provide multiple angles from which to view a topic. It’s like standing on a mountain to view the sunrise as opposed to peeking around a corner in case the sun is a monster. Being a parrot for one source is worse than myopic, it’s blind.

This habit of consuming stories and data is what made me a liberal.

I see people shouting from the rooftops that they are pro-death and anti-choice. Their position is that It’s immoral to choose not to have a baby but equally immoral to bring it into the world and need help to raise it because working a full-time job at minimum wage does not provide enough to even meet the poverty line. It’s okay to believe in small government except in the case of family planning or marrying who you choose.

It’s fine to flaunt an interpretation of the second amendment and yet upholding the first one that says that our government will. not. establish. a. religion. means nothing because revisionist history says that a bunch of slave-owning, white men may or may not have shared that version of Christianity.

I don't abhor homosexuality, transsexuality or anything that requires checking an “other” box on a demographic form. These are real people with real struggles who don’t need the help of people with their own boxes to make life that much harder. Support for this says the Bible calls it an abomination, but All-You-Can-Eat shrimp at Red Lobster is a heck of a deal. Then you can go straight home to put on your polyester jersey and support your favorite pigskin-throwing team.

I see people who want to keep what money they earn and yet expect schools to be great, roads to be paved and water to be drinkable. I do not think $836 billion is too much to care for our senior citizens and our poor to have health care benefits, food on the table and roofs over their heads. The person talking on their iPhone with an accent at Wal-Mart paying with a SNAP card does not mean that the lot of them are cheaters and should use their government benefits to buy a nice pair of boot straps.

This especially applies to those who have tried to escape the violence and poverty of their own homes in a hope that they can build a life for themselves and their children in what should be a great country. The fact that these asylum-seekers are barred from working or receiving benefits by law should not be irrelevant.

It’s time to take the five loaves and feed the five thousand, even if every one of them is taking advantage of our generosity. Why? Because we can.

This way of thinking is what made me a liberal. Does that make me a better person? I don’t know, but I try to be better than I was yesterday.