Why I Became A ‘Liberal’

I am a registered independent because I believe it’s premature to align yourself with a party before you’ve seen any of the candidates. However, I understand why people do it and I in many ways I do it. Molly wrote about being a Republican and discussed how she gets backlash from her peers because they hear the word “Republican” and associate it with “close-minded” which is, of course, wrong. Democrats get a different kind of flack for being “sensitive” or “elitist.” The reality is there are close-minded Democrats and elitist Republicans. People are people and they are fallible. Dismissing someone because they have certain beliefs or ideas, without really talking to them, isn’t helping anyone. So, I’d like to share why I became a liberal.

My Mom Had An Abortion

My mom had to have an emergency abortion because the baby was growing in the wrong part of her body. My mother would have died other wise. This is part of the reason why I am pro-choice. Providing access to women who need abortions is important because the issue maybe life threatening and because statistically speaking when safe abortions aren’t accessible women will still get abortions, they will just be illegal, unsafe and incredibly dangerous.

Pro-Choice Is Inclusive, Pro-Life Is Not

If it’s important to someone that they never abort for religious beliefs then that should be honored. I don’t have a problem with it and from every person I know who has had an abortion, it was an extremely difficult decision to make. In my opinion, pro-choice allows for both beliefs: that you keep your baby or you do not. Pro-Life, to me, takes away the option for the people who need it. We all saw what happened even after Wendy Davis’ courageous filibuster, the strictest anti-abortion law in the country was passed in Texas.

I Saw Too Many LGBT Friends Get Bullied

The proverb that children can be cruel is there for a reason. I witnessed too many harmless people in my life get pushed around, teased and made fun of to not take same-sex marriage and LGBT rights seriously. A friend of mine in high school was regularly berated with questions about his sexuality and called slurs just for the mere fact that he existed. I’ve had other friends who have attempted suicide because they didn’t think their families would accept them. I know others who impose so much self-hate on themselves—it’s difficult to watch people unravel through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen very many Republican representatives (not necessarily the Republicans I know, personally) who have endorsed or embraced the LGBT community.

Things are changing. 81% of Republicans under 30 support same-sex marriage and 52% overall support it as well. There are a growing number of Republicans in office who endorse same-sex marriage like ice President Dick Cheney, former first lady Laura Bush, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former GOP national chairman Ken Mehlman  and party figures including: Jon Huntsman, Jr.Rob PortmanMeg WhitmanTom RidgeWilliam WeldJane Swift,Paul CellucciChristine Todd Whitman, and Theodore Olson.

I Believe In Religious Freedom

My parents are Catholic but my brother and I are atheists. I’m never going to diss my parents’ beliefs or anybody else’s. America was the first country formed based on citizenship and not religion or ethnicity. I believe in a country where Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Atheists, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and everyone who falls anywhere on the religious spectrum can get along as long as they abide by the laws upheld by the constitution. I am not implying that Republicans don’t believe in this too, what I am saying is that empirically, Republican representatives in power don’t uphold this belief. Many of them assert that the [insert religion here]  way is the best way, which can be alienating to our citizens who are not of that faith. Not to mention, religion is constitutionally not allowed in politics. On the flip side, I readily acknowledge the fact that we have only had ONE President, Democrat or Republican, who was not Protestant, John F. Kennedy was Catholic. It appears Democrats don’t mix religion and politics as often, and I say appears because Democrats are less explicit and don’t usually run campaigns based on their religious notions, although it must be inevitable that any politician’s decisions are based on their personal system of morality.

I Believe In Universal Healthcare

I’ve known people who would have died without Obama Care because their health insurance would not cover their cancer treatments. Without Obama Care, I would not have health insurance. Universal healthcare is a staple of modern, post-industrial nations and has been effective, cost effective and coverage effective, just about everywhere it’s been implemented.

If you notice most of these beliefs are social beliefs, they don’t have anything to do with the economy or military. Regardless of what the President’s party is most of them will almost always support expanding the military and supporting Big Business no matter how much those things cost the country and endanger its citizens. The reason I am liberal is because the issues I listed above are still in progress of being resolved. Most of the issues directly affect people in my life that I love and care about. How could I look a gay friend in the eye and say I voted for someone who doesn’t believe they are a real person? I just can’t. How can I look my friends, MANY OF THEM, who have been put on the ‘No Fly List‘ because of their ethnic last names and say, I voted for the administration (George W. Bush administration) who implemented that policy (it should be noted that Obama’s anti-terrorism policies aren’t much better in terms of this kind of thing!).

Republicans and conservatives believe in a lot of the same things I do. There is no doubt in my mind that that is true. The two parties aren’t that different. I happen to personally believe that these human rights issues are incredibly important right now because they cost people their lives, opportunities and safety. I also believe that they are close to being resolved, so I vote in ways that I think will make the big push. When Republicans in office start talking about making same-sex marriage legal, then you best believe I’ll be listening. When they stop making choices about women’s bodies and enforcing policies that exclude women from the conversation, then I’ll be there fist pumping. Right now I can only root for my conservative friends.

When Republicans in office stop using their religion as a marketing tool to appeal to other religious folk or use things like the Southern Strategy, I’ll be listening. My issue is with conservatives in office not the conservatives I meet in real life, the ones who I call my friends or the ones who read this website. We all have different reasons for upholding our  beliefs and we should not be punished for them. Right now, and I mean, at this moment in history, it’s hard for me to consider supporting a conservative in office when they don’t support so many of my friends. I have faith that this will change, very, very soon.

[Image via Shutter Stock /Ryan DeBerardinis]

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  1. steph37xx says:

    I couldn't agree with this more.

  2. Amanda says:

    As for Obamacare, we are giving the government the power to decide who gets treatment and who doesn't. Say your parent gets cancer. If they are over a certain age, they will be denied treatment. If the doctors think they don't have a good chance of surviving, they will be denied treatment. It's all about money. The government isn't going to use money if they think they are wasting it. I am vehemently against this, everyone should be given the chance to survive!!! But thanks for this article, it provides a lot to think about.

    1. emeraldgritty says:

      I haven't heard that but if you're correct that's terrible! Obama care certainly isn't the ideal model of universal health care, I'm hoping we'll continue to get better/more efficient with it as time goes on. Thanks for your comment!

    2. Katie says:

      Amanda, you obviously know nothing about universal healthcare. I live in Canada, and although our healthcare is far from perfect NOONE DENIES YOU CARE. If you don't like your doctor, you go to another one. If you don't like one opinion, you get another one. If the doctor says that it's probably useless to get treatment because you are going to die anyways, you can still get treatment. Your medicare card works everywhere, for everything (not perscription drugs, but all treatment and drugs while in the hospital). There is no limit on your medicare card and no one has the right to deny you treatment, ever. Now how about you actually get educated about issues going on in YOUR country. kthanks

  3. anyesha says:

    As a Northern European, it seems incredible to me that any country does not provide universal healthcare! it seems like it should be one of the most basic functions of the state, ensuring the lives and health of its people – and also in terms of ensuring equal opportunities. If a state does not work for the people to improve their quality of life, why should it exist?

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  5. Pass the Popcorn says:

    The military does not need to be expanded or even supported anymore (note that this is NOT the same as supporting our veterans). We haven't really NEEDED to go to war since WW2. Every other "war" has been for profits and imperialism, including the various "wars" against amorphous concepts or actual people: war on terror, war on drugs, war on poverty, war on sex, war on women, war on communism, war on piracy… The money we've wasted on all of this could have been much better spent on infrastructure, jobs, the environment, healthcare, education — you know, important things that don't involve enriching the various "complexes" that control this country. Syria is involved in a civil war, tragic as that is, we can't save 100% of people 100% of the time, to paraphrase Lincoln. We don't belong getting into Iraq-Afghanistan 2.0 or worse, WW3. I am a "liberal" because I believe we need to clean up the mess Bush I and II and Reagan made here at home rather than frog-jump to this country and that country blowing up things when we really don't know why we're doing so.

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