Publishers Note; What follows is the unedited text of a letter by contributor Jeff Brown on political labels and, I think, their rather disruptive influence on our democracy. Not all the politics match, but the tone of this letter is a perfect fit for The Rational Middle.
I have been asked what my political belief is (R, D, I, Liberal, Libertarian etc) and either been criticized or praised depending on the audience since the ’08 campaign started. Until a few years ago you could have asked me what my political beliefs were and I would have proudly stated “I am a Republican!” A few years ago I would have answered “conservative”, within the last year “libertarian” and most recently “libertarian-conservative”. The more divided that the country has become the more I have spent time studying the differences between all of the different “labels” in a failed effort to more clearly define myself. What I have found is that my current belief structure falls into so many different categories that I couldn’t really pick one that fit. Some examples follow after the break:
Across the nation tonight, millions of armed Liberals lurk in the shadows, waiting for unwary Tea-Partiers to cross their path. Their Socialist agenda advanced, the liberal hordes look next to the guns and values of American Conservative families. Glenn Beck’s doomsday is upon us all!
What the heck is going on with our nation? For the last nine months, a series of bills have been debated that would attempt to resolve a problem that better than 75% of the citizens believe needs to be solved. The bill signed into law was consistently opposed by 45%-50% of the nation that hated it, and the 10%-15% of the nation that felt it wasn’t LIBERAL enough. Do not take my word for it; go to this poll, and this poll. A majority of your neighbors wanted something to be done along the lines of what was signed into law by the President. If you are one of the many who believe that this bill is wrong, for any reason, then you can be thankful that you live in the United States. There are a number of democratic avenues for redress of grievances available to the citizens of this proud nation; many of which I will cover below. I would also note that most of the items in the bill that anger folks the most, don’t take effect until 2014.