Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Why is "liberal" a dirty word?

In recent years, specifically since the Reagan years, "liberal" has been a word of contempt. Republicans have wielded it as a club and Democrats have shrunk from it.

Well, I'd like to set the record straight on this word and the people whom it describes.

It was the liberals who brought us the minimum wage. As a result, businesses are more prosperous and people have more leisure. More income means more money to spend at local businesses which brings prosperity to every community. Recent studies have shown that small business growth is higher in states whose minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum. And, since I have been in the work force some 40 or so years now, every time--EVERY TIME--the minimum wage has gone up, unemployment has gone down.

It was the liberals who brought us voting rights, first for women, then for African-Americans. This has expanded democracy in our country and set an example for the world. Is our country not better off by far for the diversity of voices in our public life? From J. C. Watts to Barak Obama, from Hillary Clinton to Condoleeza Rice, the diversity of voices makes our public life richer.

It was the liberals, working through labor unions and others, who brought us the eight-hour day and the forty-hour work week. This has meant more than one new industry arising to serve people in their leisure hours and a great boon to the economy.

It was the liberals who ended child labor. Now children are able to go to school, and our economy is stronger for that.

It was the liberals who brought us emancipation of the slaves. It took a bloody civil war to do it, but no thinking person would want to go back to limiting our economy by reinstituting that institution.

And no one mentions it, but it was long-haired liberals who brought us the American Revolution.

The conservatives of the day opposed every single one of these changes. Indeed, the Bush Administration is trying to undo each one of these advances. If anyone ever reads this blog and wants a bill of particulars, I'll provide it.

A character on a TV show once said, "The Republicans want to stop the clock at 1890." His Republican adversary countered, "And the Democrats want to stop it at 1932."

They are both probably right. Although I think the Bush Administration wants to go all the way back to 1770.


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