Am I turning into a liberal?

As people who read this blog regularly know, I identify myself as conservative. This is because I hold traditional social views, I don’t trust our government to be able to do much of anything right, I believe that culture and individuals are more important and powerful than anything the government can do, I tend to be a “law and order” type of gal, and I believe that our country is unique and our values and way of life are worth protecting. However, as I sat down to write my last post, I said to myself, “Oh my goodness, I’m starting to sound like a liberal.”

I mean, my last post was about “Global Citizenship”. In the last week or two, I have written about race repeatedly (and not in typical conservative terms), issues which touch on global and social justice in government and in the church, and now about global citizenship! Liberal issues, every one. What gives?

I have come to the conclusion that because by their nature, conservatives tend to resist change, they are probably particularly bad at seeing ways that the world could (or should) be different than what it is now. Liberals, on the other hand, frequently seem to have a hard time appreciating what is good about they way things are or why we would like to hold on to anything traditional. So they are probably better at seeing
ways that the world actually needs to change.

The problem, from my point of view, is that although liberals do seem to do a better job at grasping issues which need to be addressed (think health care, the environment, race, gender, the use of power, etc.), they often seem to be utterly incapable of coming up with reasonable, much less practical solutions. What has been motivating me in my thinking lately is a desire to try and apply what I see as more practical, reasonable, workable conservative thinking to the problems which liberals seem to be so much better at identifying.

So basically, I have devoted myself to being ignored. Of course, as a mom and a wife, I’m used to it! Kidding, kidding.

(And for my liberal friends, the picture is a joke, not what I really think of y’all. 🙂 )

5 thoughts on “Am I turning into a liberal?

  1. You know Rebecca, the problem, in as much as there is one, isn’t with your thinking or beliefs. It’s with the how our society likes to pigeon-hole everyone. For most of my adult life, I’ve identified as a “liberal”. Reading Rod Dreher’s book “Crunchy Cons” was eye-opening to me because it made me see that some of my core values were really quite conservative, either in practice or ideology. I was also shocked to see what Rod, a self-described conservative, called to mind when he thought of a “Liberal” — it didn’t describe me at all! What’s more, my mental picture of a “Conservative” didn’t seem to describe him at all — or you, for that matter.

    Could it be that we have been manipulated by the hype-driven media (even a little bit by my beloved NPR and PBS?) Could it be that the squeakiest wheels are on the extreme ends of the spectrum and are drowning the rest of us out?

    Don’t get me wrong, I line up on a different side than you and other conservatives on some key issues — reproductive choice and gay marriage being two that come immediately to mind. But it might surprise many conservatives to know that I am uncomfortable with abortion beyond the very early weeks and am willing to consider certain restrictions. (This is a very common view if polls are to be believed.) Likewise, I suspect that many conservatives might find it curious and surprising that my support for gay marriage comes as much from my belief in Marriage and Family as the foundation of a society as it does from a civil rights standpoint. I take my religious faith very seriously. I find the ACLU just as maddening as conservatives sometimes. (Other times, I admire their willingness to stand on principle — depends on the issue.)

    In any case, there seems to be much more room for conversation than it would appear on the nightly news or in the political blogosphere. (In the personal blogosphere, these lines are blurred quite a bit, I find.) I think you and I, though we may define ourselves differently politically, have many, many values in common. Some of them lead us to the same conclusions, some to different conclusions, but we are by no means on “opposite” ends of anything.

    I’ve decided that if calling myself a liberal may be cutting off potential relationships with people I might really like, then perhaps I’d better stop using that label. In our polarized culture, labels have become stumbling blocks.

    I’m keeping my Obama ’08 sticker though, until he’s either elected or out. Is that hypocritical? ;o)



  2. I went through that same transition in the last few years. A false dialectic (right vs. left / democrat vs. republican) has been psychologically imposed on us by our government, the media, and other nefarious entitles. Their agenda is to perpetually sub-divide into warring factions so nothing gets accomplished. Religion, politics, race, gender, class, and national origin have been the tools used to destroy us. When we recognize the shared universal traits, beliefs, and aspirations of our fellow man (and reject arbitrary distinctions), we will evolve.

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