Why I am a Liberal

I've been a life-long Liberal...by circumstance, by environment and by birth...although, lately, I have started to label myself more and more as a traditional progressive. What I take that to mean is that I do believe that ongoing reform is necessary for a healthy democracy. Maybe not to the extent that our two parties argue for but there definitely has to be change.

That's why I supported Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. I wanted something different. Unfortunately, once again, it does look like politics as usual. The visionary that many of us saw from 2006 - 2008 has been muted by the Washington DC machine. While I still like him as a President, I am bewildered by how drastically his positions have shifted on several fronts. He has definitely made me more cynical about politicians in general although all things being considered, I do believe he was our best choice and I am still proud of many of his accomplishments.

Part of me believes that an anti-incumbent movements like the Tea Party and OccupyWallStreet are healthy for our political environment. Maybe several anti-incumbent political cycles would be good to refresh the entire establishment. [That being said, I do, find Tea Partiers who are only supporting Republicans to be hypocritical of their own message and I find it amusing to hear them justifying this obvious partisan behavior. Thankfully this movement is nearly dead.] With a Presidential Election year nearing, I've now (once again) found myself supporting Democrats. This time, however, it's not because I'm for them but because I'm against the others. It's a horrible and paralyzing position to be in as a voter and I'm trying to inform myself more so that I feel like I'm voting for someone and not against someone else. A defensive vote is almost as bad as not voting at all.

I agree that many of us on the left can be anti-corporation. For full disclosure, my anti-corporation attitudes come from growing up in a lower middle class Mexican/Black/Polish neighborhood in Chicago. Unlike stereotypes would like to dictate, I was surrounded by some of the hardest working people I've ever been around in my life. Smart and kind (and legal) people who would work 2-3 jobs a day to put food on the table...and then would do it again every day of the week.

For as long as I could remember, these individuals worked hard, paid their taxes and played by the rules (again, unlike how some of that horrible political messaging out there would like us to believe). However, despite that, they were mistreated. They were underpaid, laid-off or were left with no recourse when their employers unexpectedly moved elsewhere. All for the almighty dollar.

The above just fed into a vicious cycle that I think many lower class neighborhoods find themselves in. After years of hard work you get laid off and have no other option. Loyalty and sacrifice means nothing. As a result, your son/daughter sees the family in desperation, sees no other way out, joins a gang or finds another questionable habit just to have a sense of belonging and ownership. There were many gangs in my old neighborhood and many of my once promising friends fell into that cycke. A bright young kid was reduced to defending his "territory" over the color of his bandanna...because once the poverty machine chewed him out, that's all he had.

I know many Americans that are fair employers but living through the above until I had a chance to move out influenced my early ideas on right and wrong and is why I'm seen as a "moonbat lefty", a semi-Socialist and maybe even cautious of Capitalism. I believe that this is why many other minorities become liberals as well. You want government to intervene because you sure as hell can't trust the corporations or people with power to help. You want the government to help provide services to help you at a time when your employer just up and left you and your family with nothing.

On a side note, what I don't understand is why the Right continues to berate and isolate immigrants. If you want America-loving, hard-working, faith-oriented, free-market believing, conservative individuals, there is no larger group that adheres to these ideals than immigrants. I firmly believe that Immigrants are more American than Americans. Yet, conservatives continue to step on them and show no compassion for this important voting block.

My mindset and politics have evolved over time and I'm always open to new points of view. I still , however, believe that voting unilaterally across a party or a movement is dangerous. These people are still politicians, whether they're Democrat, Republican, Progressive, Tea Partier, whatever. If we think that voting unilaterally across any mindset would solve anything, it won't. I try to keep my mind open and want to be challenged. I want to be enlightened. However, until I can be shown that Republicans or conservatives are genuinely compassionate and/or curious about co-existing with their fellow Americans, I will be forced to vote against them instead of for anyone.