Saturday, March 12, 2005

Where we stand.

Digby takes a stab at describing the values that Democrats hold dearest:
The case for responsive government that provides services to the people and keeps the market functioning in a healthy way springs from the liberal belief in justice, equality and liberty. The bill of rights is the founding document of American liberalism.

We believe that while property rights are fundamental to American law, liberty means more than property rights only. There is a reason that Thomas Jefferson wrote "life liberty and the pursuit of happiness" instead of the more familiar (at the time) "life liberty and property" in the declaration. Even then, America was about more than this cramped view that freedom is nothing more than freedom from taxes. Freedom is also the inherant right of each individual to dominion over his or her identity, body and mind.

We believe in free speech and freedom of religion with almost no exceptions because no individual can be trusted to make such distinctions without prejudice. We believe in the right to a fair trial and we believe that those who represent the government must be held to a very high standard due to the natural temptations the government's awesome judicial and police power can present. We cannot have a free society where government does not adhere to the rule of law.

We have fought for universal suffrage, labor laws, civil rights and the right to privacy among many other things because we believe in fairness, equality and social justice. We believe those principles require a society such as ours to ensure that all people can live a decent and dignified life. We think that democratic government, being directly accountable to the people, is the best institution through which those pinciples can be successfully translated into action. We are always on the side of progress, looking forward, stepping into the future.

The founding fathers were liberals. Our tradition is as American as apple pie.

I've always thought that you have to have your head in a hole not to realize that:

1) America is an essentially conservative nation, but

2) Its greatest moments have tended to be when it's embraces liberal policies and movements.

Jesse Jackson had a comment about 20 years ago which implied that the very term "conservative" suggests that it's anti-change and therefore anti-progress. That's always struck me as being essentially the truth (with the added kicker that neo-cons seem interested in actively rolling back progress made over the last 120 years).
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