Is Being Liberal Really a Bad Thing?

Anyone who knows me or has read my posts knows I’m fairly liberal. I’ve never thought of being liberal as a bad thing. Usually, I don’t give it much thought at all. That’s why I found former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s statements so interesting.

Cuccinelli was criticizing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for statements he made last week. I criticized Cuomo’s statements in a previous post myself. Cuomo’s message that extreme conservatives have no place in the state of New York offended many people. It was a douchebag thing to say.

Cuccinelli didn’t stop by condemning Cuomo’s statements though. He went on to say “most of the left” shares Cuomo’s views. Then he let us know how he really feels about everyone who is liberal. “They do not view us as worthy of respect because we hold traditional, thousands of years of principle-based views. Their radical, society twisting and altering and destroying views are the only ones that they accept,” Cuccinelli said. “Nobody should make any mistake, the most intolerant people in America are leftists, bar none, it isn’t even close.”

Intolerant Liberals Destroying Society

I can’t talk about ALL people who are liberal, and I won’t even talk about the many liberal people I’ve had conversations with, read articles by, and listened to in the past. I can talk about myself, not as part of “many liberals,” but simply one liberal person. My feelings. My beliefs. My tolerances. My intolerances.

I respect other people’s beliefs, but I expect to have that same respect in return. My beliefs shouldn’t  take away other people’s choices. My beliefs aren’t better than anyone elses, they are simply better for me. My beliefs evolve as I learn more, experience more, and grow as a person.

At first I wondered how anyone could possibly think I was intolerant at all, let alone one of the most intolerant people in the country. After self-examination, I discovered some of my own intolerances.

  • I am intolerant of other people’s views being pushed on me.
  • I am intolerant of closed mindedness.
  • I am intolerant of people using their religious beliefs to dictate laws.
  • I am intolerant of people’s rights being stripped away.
  • I am intolerant of people not discussing beliefs, but instead stating what they think and plugging their ears to the other side of the issue.
  • I am intolerant of people dismissing me simply because I hold liberal beliefs.

Damn, maybe I am really one of the most intolerant people in America.

Cuccinelli says my liberal views are “radical, society twisting and altering and destroying.” That seems both harsh and judgmental.

How can views that encourage people to use their brains, think for themselves and make their own choices, really be what’s destroying society?

How can not taking away rights and freedoms be what’s twisting society?

How is my personal attitude of “as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, I don’t really care what you do,” be so society altering?

If someone can explain that to me, I would be happy to listen. Mind you, I’m not asking someone to be an asshole and jump in my shit, but I do have a sincere desire to understand how being open-minded, liberal, and accepting can be considered destructive.

I understand what works for me may not work for everyone else, but Cuccinelli (and the people who agree with him) feel the beliefs, morals and values that they embrace must be embraced by others. If those beliefs aren’t happily accepted, they want to outlaw all other options. A “my way or the highway mentality.”

As an adult, why shouldn’t I have the freedom to make my own choices? As a parent, why wouldn’t I teach my children to reason things out, think for themselves, question what others say and don’t rely on someone else to tell them what to believe? I would be failing them if I didn’t teach that.

Are these the very thoughts and feelings that Cuccinelli is referring to? Is this what is tearing down society? Is my unwillingness to blindly accept and follow “thousands of years of principle-based views” really just scary to him?

I don’t believe all conservatives, or even that “most conservatives” share Cuccinelli’s beliefs. It would be foolish to group so many into one person’s foolish statements.

Cuccinelli condemns Cuomo, but what’s the difference between his statements and the statements he was condemning? Both men stereotyped a group of people and made offensive statements.

There are radicals in any group. Radical “Christians” like Mat Staver the homophobe or Richard D. Land who thinks all single mothers should put their children up for adoption. To group “most christians” in with those extremists would be as ridiculous as Cuccinelli grouping “most liberals” in with Cuomo’s outlandish statements. It would also be as ridiculous as making the statement, “the most intolerant people in America are leftists, bar none, it isn’t even close.”

In Cuccinelli’s state of Virginia and around the country there are hate groups such as the White Nationalists, the Ku Klux Klan, the Black Separatists, and many others. Groups known to encourage hate and discord, intolerance and segregation. Even with those groups around, Cuccinelli really believes the “leftists” are the most intolerant people in America? With that for perspective, it seems Cuccinelli has a skewed view on intolerance, or at least a very different view than I have.

Whether you are liberal, conservative, or anywhere in between, do you agree with Cuccinelli? Can you see his point at all?

 

 

21 Thoughts on “Is Being Liberal Really a Bad Thing?

  1. What baffles me is that people like Cuccinelli fail to realize that at one point (even “thousands of years ago” ) the beliefs and traditions he holds so dear were the radical liberal ones – they went against the societal norm and every attempt was made to destroy the current views and replace them with new ones.

    Couple of examples here – at one point in the Roman, Greek, Anglo Saxon, Egyptian tradition it was socially acceptable to take a same sex lover, or maintain a same sex partner (http://bit.ly/1dGEbso). In nearly every pre-christian society in Europe, Mediterranean, Near East, Middle East, Far East – it was the social norm to terminate an unwanted pregnancy through the use of drugs or more barbaric means (http://bit.ly/1i0TDVx). Drugs? It was cool to be high as kite throughout most of history. Owning a weapon? In most large societies it was forbidden (out of fear of rebellion) and in small societies – encouraged out of fear of attack.

    My opinion aside… my point is at some point in time, Cuccinelli’s views were the liberal ones “Stop abortion”, “Stop homosexuality”, “Stop recreational drug use” those thoughts were society destroying views.

    My opinion is that people like Cuccinelli have forgotten their roots – there is no such thing as a “Conservative” there are simply two types “Liberals” those that have forgotten what that means and those that remember.

  2. I don’t really get that categorization of an entire group based on the extremists thing. Politicians / people dealing with politics seem to do that more than most in an effort to polarize. While they think they’re solidifying their base or position, what I think it really does is make them look bad. Imagine if we did that in every profession. We’d never get anything done … oh, wait ….
    Real Life Parenting recently posted…“And that was all.”My Profile

    • Sweeping generalizations are just a bad idea in general. If people, especially people in the public eye, can’t see that, then there are some major problems. Even saying “some” doesn’t seem as bad, but when people say “most” it seems like it takes it to a whole new level. I don’t understand why they would want the bad press.
      Rhonda @Bitch & Whine recently posted…Is Being Liberal Really a Bad Thing?My Profile

  3. David Heller on January 26, 2014 at 7:28 pm said:

    Stopped reading at the sentence about liberals using their brains and I take it conservatives don’t? I have beliefs in both sides of the fence but can’t stand it when anyone with some conservative beliefs is accused of not using their brain. That’s why I stopped reading the DB of the week. I know you support calling them the name but I like to focus on the positive in people. Not mad, but just giving my opinion. It looked like you were asking for replies.

    • Hey David. Actually, the sentence was referring to my personal beliefs that everyone should use their brains, whether the person considers themselves conservative or liberal. I wouldn’t want to indicate that only one group or another is capable of that. I respect Anyone with thought out beliefs, whether I personally agree with those beliefs or not.

      Speaking of DB of the week, I don’t know if you read last weeks, but I actually called myself out for DB of the week – I’m not always down on conservatives. And the “runners up” had both democrats and republicans. I try to be somewhat impartial, although I know I lean (way) toward the left, I’m not totally blind :)

      I always appreciate comments and opinions of others, so thank you!
      Rhonda @Bitch & Whine recently posted…Is Being Liberal Really a Bad Thing?My Profile

    • Actually, David, I really wish you’d read the rest of this particular post. I think you’d see that I did actually have a point beyond that. I went on to say I wouldn’t group all conservatives in with Cuccinelli’s views and I just don’t see how liberals are the most destructive to society with all the hate groups out there.

      Not a personal attack on you…just thinking part of my point was missed if you stopped reading before finishing. I appreciate other points of view…just wanted to be sure you saw that I try not to group all (or even most) conservatives together and don’t dismiss other opinions.
      Rhonda @Bitch & Whine recently posted…Is Being Liberal Really a Bad Thing?My Profile

  4. David Heller on January 26, 2014 at 8:29 pm said:

    I just can’t stand political talk. Sorry I didn’t give it the full read. Pretty much gave up talking politics a few years back and can’t stand it at family gatherings cause I’m surrounded by liberals. I just think at the core you are not going to change anyone’s beliefs over the age of about 30 so I rarely say mine anymore. As I said I do lean mostly right but my true belief is treating people equally and getting things through hard work and helping yourself through perseverance. Thanks for not excommunicating me. Lol

  5. Would never excommunicate you! LOL I think only churches can do that or something, right? ha! I’m glad you don’t consider me a lousy liberal that is ruining society…at least, I hope you don’t really believe that.

    I know many people don’t buy it, but I actually do enjoy hearing other peoples points of views. I talk a lot, but am not so full of myself that I don’t realize I can learn from other people – I really enjoy learning why other people hold their beliefs. I love debating – but usually as a mental stimulus to learn others thoughts. Sometimes people can point out things I missed :)

    No matter what people believe, I think there is always some common ground.
    Rhonda @Bitch & Whine recently posted…Is Being Liberal Really a Bad Thing?My Profile

  6. These people are frightening. Are the ultra conservative’s voting Neanderthals into office in order to maintain the strict values set forth during prehistoric times? I am neither conservative nor liberal. Mostly, I am just embarrassed that these are the folks representing us on the world’s playground. We are quickly becoming the nose picker in the yellow shorts.
    Robin recently posted…Hello, my name is Robin and I am a motherMy Profile

  7. Well…if being liberal is wrong..then I don’t want to be right. :)
    RageMichelle recently posted…On A PrecipiceMy Profile

  8. Leigh Perry on January 28, 2014 at 1:16 am said:

    What I see happening is that people like Cuccinelli use statements like that to intentionally polarize any debate on their pet issues. There are an awful lot of people in this country who see demographics changing, the culture changing, and are terrified by it. Statements like Cuccinelli’s allow them to see their fear as justified – they are able to use such words to frame change as ‘persecution’ rather than slight challenges to white, hetero-centric, Christian-centric privilege. Most people like to think of themselves as good people, and realizing that the privilege one grew up in contributes to the oppression of others is painful – far easier, then, to claim such revelations are ‘attacks’ and ignore them as enemy propaganda.

  9. I suspect the problem is the extremist on either side of the argument always gets the most attention. Propaganda is king in this age of smearing the other side with the most dirt possible and unfortunately the media plays directly into the game.

    The ‘values’ of the extreme right are not so much those the nation was originally founded upon but instead those purported to be defined by a 2,000 year old book. It is unfortunate, most who claim that book as their own have not read it for themselves and have no framework or historical context in which to place what they might read.

    The ‘do as you will’ of the other groups, whether Libertarian or Liberal can also be taken to extremes and is often misinterpreted. Both as a nation and a people we tend to not understand the difference between societal norms and government actions (Rights, laws, regulations, spending). Don’t get me wrong, Liberal and Libertarian are not one and the same in fact they are in most cases polar opposite.

    As a nation and a people we have in the past twenty years evolved into a nation built on fear. We refuse to debate ideas in a public forum, compromise to gain the best outcomes or elect the best candidates. Instead we look for extremes and when our side loses we spend all our resources smearing bemoaning our loss, smearing the winner and looking for ways to create failure, no matter who is harmed.

    • Valentine, I agree with you. Unfortunately, when people are voting, they often times only vote on one or two hot topic issues instead of electing someone who is going to be the best overall candidate. I’m guilty of this as well, especially if the politicians platform goes against my core beliefs.

      After someone is elected though (especially the president) I do think people should all work together for the people – all the people. The smear campaign lasts far too long and instead of the opposing side sharing their ideas, they spend way too much time criticizing. The criticizing isn’t helpful, especially if they aren’t presenting viable options.
      Rhonda @Bitch & Whine recently posted…Is Being Liberal Really a Bad Thing?My Profile

  10. Doug in Oakland on January 29, 2014 at 12:04 am said:

    OK, first I’m a liberal. Second, some history that concerns how this argument got so far out of hand. There is a man named Newton Leroy Gingrich. He was once the speaker of the house of representatives. In an effort to both RAISE MONEY and win elections for Republicans, he went on a highly effective and well funded crusade to, as he himself put it, turn liberal into a dirty word. He got a lot of people elected, meaning he also ended the political careers of some of those who lost those elections. This generated a lot of fear, and helped cause a steady march to the ideological right in our representatives ever since. They were smart about it, also. Liberals are called left-of-center, but what are extreme leftists? Socialists and Communists, and ever since the cold war they’ve been the enemy. We were easy targets, just as in McCarthy’s day.
    I have a couple of problems with these tactics. First, they are incredibly damaging to regular people’s lives when demonization as a tactic leaks out of politics and into discussions of issues by regular people. It generates a lot of hatred and division, and renders the actual discussion all but impossible. And second, as I see it, the political right in the US in 2014 is far closer to the Taliban than the political left is to the USSR.
    To me, liberal means the 40 hour work week and child labor laws and Social Security. I know there are people who think those are bad ideas, and on a good day I don’t just see them as caricatures of rich people, but as I don’t actually know any of them personally, sometimes it’s hard.

    • Doug, you always make me think, and I appreciate that. I’ve read your comment a couple times over the last few days.

      What I find interesting is we always point out the differences, rather than trying to find the common ground. Since we are dwelling on the differences, the gap seems to get wider. I think it’s especially true when people continue to stereotype “most liberals” or “conservatives think…” Honestly, I struggle with that myself.
      Rhonda @Bitch & Whine recently posted…One Million Moms Not NeededMy Profile

      • Doug in Oakland on February 1, 2014 at 9:45 pm said:

        Thank you for giving thought to my above comment; I spent some time writing it because I believe it to be a story that needs to be told. What I didn’t accomplish well with it was the “why I think it is important” part. Who really benefits from the raising of policy disagreements to rancor and outright hatred? Liberals? Conservatives? I don’t buy it. We all have our lives to live, and adding conflict and hatred only makes it worse for us all. People in the business of winning elections love it when we hate one another (and spend billions of dollars trying to make us) because then they can count on us voting a certain way. I saw a video by Sally Kohn about what it’s like being a radical lesbian who works for Fox News. It turns out that Fox News conservatives are just people, and mostly nice to work with at that.
        Maybe it all boils down to the lyric in that old Pink Floyd song: “Together we stand, divided we fall”.

        • I agree that most people (in real life especially) try to get along with other people, regardless of the other persons beliefs. I haven’t thought much of it before, but that’s probably why I usually only point out extremists and people who are causing so much division. I could easily get along with a homophobic neighbor. We could agree to disagree and generally just avoid that topic. That’s what people generally do, right?
          Rhonda @Bitch & Whine recently posted…One Million Moms Not NeededMy Profile

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