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This post was originally posted at FRS FreeStates on Blogger
I love America because it is one of the few countries in the world, if not the only country, where the people and not the government control what happens in their lives. I believe in freedom and responsibility. America is the original, oldest, and, perhaps, only true constitutional liberal democracy in the world.
The backbone of the American form of government is the United States Constitution. It establishes the rule of law and checks and balances among the branches of government and prescribes strict limits on the role of government in society. America's form of government is the best in the world because it derives its power from the people. This sets America apart from authoritarian governments.
A core tenet of America's liberal government is constitutional limitation of government authority.
The idea that government can't do everything is a main difference between liberal democrats and social democrats. Another is the concept that freedom is coupled with responsibility, that people have the right to live their lives as they see fit as long as they're not injuring others but they're responsible for decision's that they make.
Another liberal value is equal opportunity. People in America have the right to live up to their potential and this cannot be denied because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, national origin, or any other personal characteristic.
Another liberal value is that one of the roles of government is to empower people who are facing hard times to help themselves rather then relying on the private market or subsidizing them forever. Liberals believe the role of government is to protect, defend, represent, serve, set the rules, empower people in need and be fiscally responsible.
When I think about how I came to think as I do, about how my politics developed, I look back on great American politicians of the past, people such as Thomas Jefferson the father of the Bill of Rights, the Democratic Party and liberalism and a person whom both liberals and conservatives respect, President Harry Truman. He started the ball rolling on civil rights from the presidential level by desegregating the American military. He got the ball rolling on universal health care, something the Democratic Party has been pushing for 60 years. Medicare was originally a Truman idea.
Truman also laid the ground work to fight the cold war with the creation of NATO, CIA and the Defense Department. John Kennedy showed us that America is great. Lyndon Johnson made full citizenship for African- Americans the law with the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Bill. He had a passion in his gut to fight for people who were down because he knew from personal experience what it was like to be poor.
He also believed that people who were down should be given a hand up rather then a hand to the face. Bill Clinton showed that there was nothing wrong with America that couldn't be fixed with what is right with America. He redefined liberalism for America.
When Clinton and Gore were elected in November, 1992, I changed from being a casual follower of politics to being hooked on politics. They showed America that it was still great. Even though it was facing major problems, they had a vision of how to fix them.
This is an overview of my politics, the backbone of my approach to issues that America faces. You can look at issues with an open mind but if you don't have core beliefs, your are looking at issues in the dark and hoping for the best.