Reading up on media feedback to the current crop of US presidentiables, I note that the outraged response to McCain’s primary frontrunner status from the Coulter/Malkin/Limbaugh/O’Reilly set isn’t a reflection of McCain’s relative liberalness so much as it is a sign of the increasing marginalization of that particular brand of fiery right-wing, pro-war, anti-immigration, security-radical politics. McCain’s rise among Republican voters seems to reflect a shift back to something resembling moderate conservatism — and the fact that someone as right-wing as McCain represents “moderate” to conservatives is evidence of just how far towards the fringe the Republican mainstream has shifted through the course of the Bush administration.
But my saying this also signifies to me my own personal political shift. In 2002 I would have described myself as a socially conservative, fence-sitting moderate. Five years of being surrounded by a disenfranchised urban population which went 90% for John Kerry in 2004 and has never voted Republican, and working with smokefree nonprofits actively opposed by free market think tanks in DC — combined with reading Breathed and Tomorrow and Trudeau while watching Iraq and the economy go the way they have — have had an effect. More and more over the last few years I find myself swinging left on issues like war, health care, environment, taxation, welfare, net neutrality, civil unions, and other political wedge issues.
But have I swung left, really? Or was I already a liberal convincing myself I was still moderate? That I once favorably linked this Lileks entry on Michael Moore and President Bush back in 2004 says that my sympathies were friendlier to Bush, while my thoughts on “my antiwar environment,” in retrospect, held conceptions of “liberal” which were more in line with the caricaturish sloganeering of a much-farther-left. The conservative “higher-ground” principles which I appealed to for defense have since shown themselves to be not quite as high-minded as I had thought, especially in light of such issues as faulty intelligence, torture, wiretapping and telecom immunity, the massive slave-built fire-hazard embassy-city, unscrupulous defense contractors, and the price of oil.
War issues aside, I’ve decided that being liberal is consistent with my values as a Christian and a Baptist: peacemaking, compassion to the poor and oppressed, sharing for the common good, liberty of conscience in the Lord, defense of human freedoms and rights, and a loving testimony of Christ’s love to the world. I find that in this day I am far more equipped spiritually to uphold these values by more fully committing myself to a liberal position, especially when I contrast my perception of the USA as one raised overseas to that of one living and working among the people of DC.
“What about abortion,” comes the angered cry. Well, I didn’t say I agreed with the Democrats on everything. (That’s one reason I’ve kept my Facebook “political views” set to “moderate” for as long as I have.) And yet, I think a woman should be able to choose and talk to a doctor about it when life and health are at stake, or in the case of a rape pregnancy — and I can hope and pray that such situations never happen where a woman has to make that choice. I think that by standing for a peaceful and just society we can help to eliminate some of the social and economic pressures which can drive women to want to terminate unborn children.
(Oh, and I am also in some disagreement with certain Democrats on the topic of video games.)
- Why Mommy is a Democrat
- Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal’
- Government is Good
- Yes We Can / John.he.is
- Church, Culture, Cause, Effect
- Times are Changing for the Religious Right