- one who is open-minded, not bound by authoritarianism or strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional, or established forms or ways
- a passionate advocate or adherent to individual rights and freedoms
- one with ideals of the individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives.
- one who demonstrates excessive or blind patriotism
- having undue partiality or attachment to a group or place to which one belongs or has belonged
ell I for one am proud of my late in life conversion to classic liberalism. Of course these days the word 'liberal' has been hijacked by the pit bulls of the far right and redefined as something less than redeeming. That is unfortunate as it reflects a wanton mischaracterization of the rise of western capitalism, democracy and religious freedom in general. I suppose some would prefer a sort of aristocratic theocracy akin to Saudi Arabia instead. One never really knows.
Frequently I am stopped and asked if I would consider returning to the U.S. now that Barack Obama (and the icons of evil for wing nuts, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid) are in control. Sadly, I have to say, "No." I would never consider living as a second class citizen in my own country. The United States is still a country where the Federal government actively discriminates against homosexuals under the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell policies. Several U.S. states have recently sanctioned referendums against same-sex marriage and in favor of protections for employers and private landlords who choose to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. There is certainly nothing liberal about that. I could never expose my family to the capricious injustice of such home grown American chauvinism. The electoral groundswell that swept Barack Obama into office in states like California also rolled back state protections for homosexual families under Proposition 8. The battle for liberalism in America is far from over.
In fact, I think it is fair to say that liberalism in America has really struggled over the past 20 years in the face of the once powerful coalition of country club Republicans with religious right extremists. Before Obama, Liberals were paralyzed by their academic "soft" banners in the face of a GOP parade of pseudo-Christian populism (i.e., less than 50% of Americans believe in human evolution). Liberals are resurgent now only due to the self-destruction of the GOP as it lapsed into an ever tighter death embrace of anti-intellectualism, rejecting the arts, humanities, science and both Keynesian and Monetarist economic principles. Republican chauvinists have literally choked on their own brand of ideological Koolaid--greed (i.e., tax cuts and welfare for the rich) laced with militarism, simplistic patriotism and cultural intolerance. In the process they have alienated huge swaths of the American electorate as well as virtually all of our international allies. Let's be honest. There is literally no way you could have an African American named 'Barack Hussein Obama' as President of the United States today without the apocalypse that was 8 years of George W. Bush.
And yet I am hopeful--hopeful that Americans will once again demonstrate the optimism, innovation, civility, generosity, tolerance and indomitable human spirit that have allowed us as a people to move beyond guarantees of freedom and justice only for a narrow group of slave and property owning aristocratic white males to a broad based social economic democracy with protections for the poor, workers, ethnic and religious minorities, women, indigenous people and almost everyone who has come to call these shores "home". Let us remember that the job is not done. And until America is truly free, I will not rest, I will not sit down and I will not be silent.