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Proud to be a liberal

Ruth S. Hertzberg Copper Mountain

I want to encourage James Say in his attempts to define a “liberal” (letter published on Oct. 15). Certainly society will not accept the implications of current right wing idealogues who have relegated the use of this word to wishy-washy, so-called “tax and spend” politicians.For myself, I am proud to be a “liberal” and have defined myself as such for all my life … at least since I was 21. What does it mean to be a liberal? According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, it means tolerance of the beliefs of others, broadminded, generous, unrestricted, favoring reforms or progress. In general, (my own definition) it means to be open to change and new ways of dealing with old problems. What would a “liberal” believe today? It is not so much a group of specific beliefs, it is more an attitude toward the institutions of economy, government and religion. As we consider the economy, if corporations are the dominant force, a liberal would want to limit their power and control. If government is pursuing policies internationally and nationally that are harmful to its citizens, a liberal would want to change them and institute new policies. And finally, if dogmatic religions are trying to impose their particular interpretations of the meaning of God and the beginnings of life on others, a liberal would seek groups who reject dogma and welcome diversity of beliefs. Again, I am proud to be a liberal in the company of such former Presidents as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy. If John Kerry is a “liberal,” it is an appellation that has great pride and respect.


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