Some people feel that the term "liberal" has become a bad word. And considering the general shift (or at least the appearance) in the U.S. toward a more conservative stance, I can see how it might be considered in a negative light.
Of course you'd hope that we could all just get along, liberal or conservative. Act two of this program is a story of how a "liberal" community just couldn't accept a person who ran as a Republican.
My current issue with being a "liberal" is that it's too often applied to people who, in my opinion, are not really representing my views. e.g. most all Democrats in the senate/house.
For example, I care about they environment. I'm not Tre Arrow, I'm not going to chain myself to a gate or some logging equipment, and I'm certainly not going to spike any trees. But I generally think we're logging too much (biscuit fire), we're polluting too much (refineries), streams and rivers are not protected enough, water rights are all screwed up, etc. None of the politicians in power really care about these issues.
Look at Clinton, he is a Democrat, I voted for him. What did he do for the environment? Not much, most of what he did was by presidential decree during his last few days in office. Granted, Bush has rolled back most of those - making Bush even worse, but I would not ever consider Clinton to really represent my views on the environment.
And why don't I think the politicians represent my view? Because I don't have any lobbyists. It's expensive to have a lobbyist. And politicians aren't stupid, they know who butters their bread. And with respect to the environment: trees, rivers, and animals do not have lobbyists. So they're out on their asses (that's an animal reference, ha ha).
I guess that's what really irks me: many Democrats are labeled as "liberals" but in fact are only liberal on a one or two issues: usually abortion or the death penalty. I'm a bit of a black and white person (nothing racist here), my views are strong, and positions on issues are usually either "good" or "bad". However, I do not expect to be able to put everyone else in the country into the "other" bucket of beliefs.
It's probably part of having such a strong 2 party system in this country. Perhaps I'd feel more comfortable in Canada where they had something like 6 or 7 parties in their last election. It gives you a little more wiggle room when deciding who to choose. You hear both "liberals" and "conservatives" complain about that in this country: "Well, I don't like Kerry, but I need to vote out Bush." or "I don't like Bush, but he's not that weenie Kerry."
Perhaps national term limits would help the situation. I've heard lobbyists talk about how they don't like term limits because the lobbyists have to "retrain" all the freshmen legislators. That really struck me as a bad idea. The legislators should care about the views of the people who elected him/her. By allowing legislators to hang around for a long time, they really need to pay attention to being re-elected. Which means getting money - and the money comes from lobby groups.
Being re-elected is all about money. You've already got the name recognition, you just need the money for advertising. Want proof? It's hard to get an incumbent out of office, unless they really screw up, or a lot of money is spent.
If term limits is good for the presidency, why is it not good for the other legislators?
Now that I've gotten completely off the topic of being a "liberal", let me bring it back.
It all ties together because of this line of reasoning:
- legislators want to be re-elected
- legislators are given huge amounts of money from lobbyists
- legislators do what lobbyists want
- ergo, they represent the lobbyists, not the "people"
So don't lump me in with a "liberal" Democrat, because s/he doesn't really represent me or my views.