Daily Planet, 5/2014
I never called myself a “progressive.” It seems contrived by liberals to avoid being liberals. I’ve been a “moderate” in recent years because liberals push private issues as fiercely as right-wingers push theirs.
But in fact, when I examine my deep beliefs, I’m definitely a liberal – in the historic sense.
I’m a liberal like Abraham Lincoln. I think if I had been around in the 1850s, living in the South, I’d have worked against the stupid idea of leaving the great United States over slavery. Maybe I’d even have ridden with WNC’s 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry in the Union Army.
I’m a liberal like Theodore Roosevelt. I’m with him in preserving wilderness for future generations and making selfish corporations think more of the public good.
I’m a liberal like Woodrow Wilson. I argue that America must lead the world – not like McCain interventionists want but as a shining lamp to the world for peace and humanity.
I’m a liberal like Franklin Roosevelt, who gave us Social Security, minimum wage, weekends and so much more. He was not content to watch working people and the elderly be treated with disrespect.
I’m a liberal like Woody Guthrie. I like to think I’d have joined with factory and field workers, singing myself hoarse on “You can’t scare me, I’m stickin’ to the union!” As Woody said, “I made up songs telling what I thought was wrong and how to make it right.” A man for today.
I’m a liberal like Harry Truman. He took on the corporate war profiteers, integrated the military – and turned back the tide of world Communism. He had a sense for what is right, and he did it, no matter what.
I’m a liberal like Earl Warren, the Eisenhower-appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court. He went individually to the justices and challenged each one to do the right thing on school integration. The decision was unanimous. He was a leader when leadership was needed.
I’m a liberal like Lyndon Johnson, who strong-armed the Civil Rights Act through Congress, even though he knew it would mean the South would be Republican for decades.
Don’t call me a bleeding-heart. That says I’m a sucker for a sob story.
I’m in the long tradition of liberalism, dating back to the Old Testament law and prophets, that says people should treat other people fairly and justly, honoring the poor. And I have no question that I’m on the right side.
And I don’t doubt that right will prevail. The rich and powerful control North Carolina now, but the people cannot be deceived for long. North Carolina’s government will side with working people over the privileged. We will take on our role once again as protectors of the earth. Our sick, elderly, children and mentally ill will be cared for. Elections will be fair once again. Our schools and teachers will have what they need to prepare our children.
Until then, we must work. This year we must work to elect candidates who favor people like us, not the rich and powerful.