This is the first in a three part series that discusses the differences between Liberal, Conservative and Independent voters and the implications as we head towards the 2020 presidential election.
During this era where there are such polar opposites, I’m trying to understand why one side chooses the other. The differences are stark and they occur even with those raised in the same family, as mine was. I am the “black sheep” of my family; a Liberal atheist in a family of Christian conservatives. I’ve explored our differences and arrived at these conclusions.
First, I will begin with what I understand.
I am a Liberal. I believe in a government that works for the people. In my past, I have benefitted from federal assistance when our family was going through hard times as my mother attended nursing school. I’ve eaten from blocks of government cheese and drank from powdered milk. I also was able to attend college through Pell Grants that allowed lower income students, like myself, to take advantage of a college education, so I’m a bit mystified at Democrats who want free college for all.
However, this is what drew me to the Liberal mindset. I appreciated what my government did for me, and I wanted to return the favor, as well as offer the same opportunities to others.
Make no mistake, I do not agree with everything Liberals want. As a matter of fact, there are actually two factions who consider themselves Liberals. The first faction, and the one I support, is the one I stated earlier. The other, more radical, faction is the one that embraces far left policies. It is also the one Conservatives hold up to represent all Liberals.
The Liberal philosophy I embrace is one where the government exists, “for the people”. Government agencies are there to support the will of a majority of Americans because that is who they represent. Government regulations are there to safeguard the American public. Tax dollars are collected to provide services that will benefit everyone. A strong central government is in place to coordinate these actions and the president and Congress work together to ensure they are enacted to the benefit of all.
Then there is the far-left. They are the ones many on the right label Socialists, or even “Commies” because they believe government should provide even more. Medicare for all, free college tuition and allowing those in prison to vote are among the ideas embraced by this faction. They propose paying for these plans through increased taxes on the wealthy.
There are areas of agreement between the factions. Both support stronger gun control regulations, LGTBQ and marriage equality, a woman’s right to choose when it comes to abortion, and several other areas, which is why they unite under the Democratic banner.
The more radical ideas of the far left are what Republicans are using to demonize Democrats. By painting them all with the same brush, Republicans hope to hold on to power in 2020.
CJ Waldron is a retired English teacher from upstate New York. An adjunct instructor at Horry Georgetown Technical College, he lives in Conway, SC with his wife, Donna.