In many circles, the term liberal has a negative connotation. “You’re just a nasty liberal.” “All liberals want to do is tax and spend!” “You must have had a liberal college education.” The last one is the one I find the most flabbergasting. Is it really a bad thing to be educated? Should I hang my head low because I managed to obtain a JD? I fail to understand how education is a bad thing.
Liberal is not a bad word. Liberals have accomplished wonderful things for this country. Liberals got minorities the right to vote. Liberals created social security and lifted millions of people out of poverty. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. One day, liberals will create marriage equality. Conservatives? They opposed each of those accomplishments and continue to oppose and hold back marriage equality.
President Kennedy said it best: “If by a ‘Liberal’ they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘Liberal,’ then I’m proud to say I’m a ‘Liberal.'”
People hurl the term liberal around like it’s something I should be ashamed of, much like my education. I do no such thing. I am proud of my education just as I am proud when someone calls me a liberal. I don’t see how one can argue that progress is something to be ashamed of because it’s not. Moving forward is something to be embraced. We are supposed to be a society of inclusion not exclusion. Liberals work hard to include those that have been purposefully excluded for no other reason than the fact they are different and misunderstood. Ignorance leads to fear and fear leads to exclusion. If everyone had a solid education, they would be more informed and more enlightened as to the differences between themselves and someone else. If they understand, there’s no need to fear and, thus, no need to exclude.
Call me an educated liberal? I’ll accept that title with honor.