(letter in Daily Local News, 10/31/08)
One of the biggest errors in some circles in recent years has been the notion that the word “liberal” is somehow an unacceptable, harmful or negative term. Doesn’t everyone remember from school days or grasp of American history that almost all of our nation’s founders and framers — Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Madison, etc. — proudly referred to themselves as being educationally, religiously and politically liberal?
Our nation’s foundational documents — the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights —all emphasizing liberty and equality in society and government, were in those times and even today considered to be liberal, progressive, and forward-looking.
The four great presidents whose profiles are carved on the side of Mount Rushmore —Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt — were also in basic concepts liberal, Washington in the Revolutionary War against King George III, Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, and Theodore Roosevelt in leading and being elected president in the Progressive Party. Countless of this country’s important writers, reformers, and innovators are part of “the great American liberal tradition.”
Before individuals get sidetracked on unfounded and mistaken discussions, it might be helpful to look at and study again our nation’s history and greatest leaders. Otherwise we may be debating or arguing in the dark without adequate knowledge that any reliable source such as an encyclopedia or even the Internet can provide.
In an election season, or any time, let’s not be misled or confused by errors or distortions which more accurate information would productively clarify and resolve.
David W. Long