Hello, I Am A Liberal...

I wanted to stop by and introduce myself, share my story, and hopefully expand your view of liberals, as we are not all the same.

To begin with, I am a born again, bible believing Christian. I came to faith in Christ in adulthood, never having much of a religious background, and I was blessed to stumble upon a solid, well-balanced evangelical church, where I began my faith. With that in mind, I would like to share with you a few of my beliefs.

I support gay marriage. I know, BIG surprise, but here is why. While I believe homosexuality is wrong in the eyes of God, I believe everyone has the right to choose their own path (and isn't that what we say our country is really all about?). Now if someone comes to me and asks my opinion, I will point them to what the bible says about it, but in the mean time that doesn't mean I have to judge them, dislike them or wish them ill-will.

Despite what the bible says about marriage being between one man and one woman, I do not get hung up on the word "marriage". Call it marriage, call it a civil union...it's a WORD. I stood in front of my pastor and was "married ". It wasn't the word that made the difference; it was the significance I placed in my vows before God. What we are really talking about is two people wanting to have the same legal rights and protections that OUR GOVERNMENT affords heterosexuals, not God. What significance they place God in their relationship is between them and God (if at all).

I am Pro-Choice. Okay, let's all take a deep breath; because this is usually where people lose it. Again, I don't believe it's right. In fact, I think it's terrible. Here's the thing though, there are no easy answers. We ALL make mistakes; every one of us. It is crazy to think that if we once again outlaw abortions, they will stop.

So now we're back to illegal abortions and women dying because of it? Or let's hypothesize that the law is changed and no one EVER had another abortion, ever again. So the population of the planet doubles in a decade, and then we have people dying because there isn't enough food & water resources for the entire planet? Or, poor women are made to have children they cannot afford (because they made a mistake) so we're all going to be okay with helping these women with financial assistance to raise that child, yes? I've always had a hard time with that one. In one breathe people want to make everyone have their baby and in the next breathe they complain about welfare-which goes to women and children. Mind you I understand the welfare system is broken (and that's another conversation for another time) but that is not what I refer to. I am referring to people who have a big problem helping anyone out, basically believing that if you don't work, you shouldn't eat-period. If you care about the baby in utero, then you should STILL care about the 18 month old who doesn't have enough to eat. And maybe I'm wrong, but I remember hearing something in the bible about, I was hungry and you fed me…

Again, there are no easy answers. Instead of spending all of our time and money and energy fighting this battle against each other, let us work together to teach the young women of our county about all of their choices...abstinence, birth control, adoption and as a last resort abortion. Remember, the woman who decides the worst option lives with it for eternity...here on earth and then when THEY stand before God (if you believe that) and THEY have to account for their actions. Thank you for hearing me out on this, as I am sure it was difficult for many of you.

The last thing I'll touch on is something very dear to my heart-healthcare. You see, because I believe that I should love my neighbor, I don't want them to die due to a lack of access to healthcare. I also believe that healthcare should be a human right, not a privilege.

Now I fear that some of you may be under the belief that everyone has access to healthcare by virtue of going to the ER, but there is a problem with that line of thinking. YES, everyone can walk into an ER and be seen by a doctor. And if you do not have health insurance and are in a horrible car accident and brought in, you will be treated and God willing your life will be saved.

But the kind of healthcare I refer to is the man, woman, or child who becomes ill (whether it's sudden or symptoms build slowly) and becomes so ill they go to the ER, where they are seen and treated ...and maybe even diagnosed. The problem is you don't get chemotherapy (cancer treatment) in the ER. You don't get angioplasty (widening of obstructed blood vessels that affect the heart) in the ER. You DO NOT GET CURATIVE, LIVE SAVING CARE in the ER for an on-going disease...and oncologist (doctor's who specialize in cancer), cardiologists (heart doctors), ____ fill in the specialty, DO NOT have to treat you if you if you cannot afford to pay. Do some doctors treat a FEW people who have no health insurance, yes. Do they each do that, NO. People without health insurance who have curable diseases die every day because they cannot afford on-going treatment for their illness.

Now I've heard the argument about not wanting healthcare rationed, but the fact of the matter is that we do ration healthcare in this country, we just do it on the basis of a person's socio-economic status - if you have money (i.e., money and/or a job that provides you adequate health insurance), you have healthcare. Are there state programs that help the least of us and provide access, yes. BUT, the vast majority of people do not qualify for these programs and if they are lucky enough to qualify, hopefully they were able to go through the thousand hoops in time to get the life saving care they needed.

With regard to the argument about GOVERNMENT run healthcare, death panels, and SOCIALIZED medicine, let me say this. We've got two choices, the government or health insurance companies (i.e., the private market). Well we've seen the government at work with the VA (Veteran's Administration) and while it is not perfect, overall it works. Could it use improvement, of course-all private and government organizations can.

And then we have the private market, i.e., health insurance companies, many of whom, which each passing day are turning into for profit organizations. We are turning healthcare into a money making proposition in this country and that is a BIG PROBLEM. In order for health insurance companies to make a profit they have to take in more money than they spend. One of the ways they achieve this is by denying care to their customers. Do you know what an insurance company calls it when they have to pay for care of a customer, medical loss. When they pay for treatment, they lose money; it is that simple.

I know this isn't a black and white issue and I understand people's concerns with government run healthcare and I am not trying to minimize that, but here's the thing-our system isn't working. Is it working for some, absolutely. It's working for me very well and I have a genetic illness that requires on-going care. But should I become too ill to work, and should I lose my job, I will lose my healthcare and I will not be treated in the ER for my condition. I will not be able to obtain new health insurance, and that means I would have to pay out of pocket for my care and while I have lived a financially responsible life, there is NO WAY POSSIBLE for me to pay out of pocket for on-going treatment for any real amount of time. Maybe I would be able to drain all of my resources and hold on long enough to recover and get a new job, but maybe I wouldn't. I, and I am going to venture a guess and say many of you, are one life-threatening illness and job loss away from dying due to a lack of access to healthcare.

Did you know that we are the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide healthcare for our citizens. As an aside, what does that say about who we are and our priorities? Did you know that we spend more money per capita (per person) than every other country on the planet. (see wikipedia - list of countries by total health expenditure)

And here's the thing, if you look at the data (CDC, WHO) our outcomes are worse than other countries as well as our life expectancies . What that means is that in many cases, our treatments don't work as well and we live shorter lives than people in other countries. Now this is not in every category, but it is the case in many. We spend more money on healthcare than anyone else on the planet, WITHOUT providing care for ALL, and in many cases we don't even get better results.

Are other systems perfect, absolutely not. Are their people from other countries who swear up and down their countries healthcare sucks, sure! But what about the millions of people who don't complain? My point is you cannot judge another countries healthcare based upon a few or even thousands of personal examples. How many hundreds of thousands or millions of people would you need to speak to get an accurate view of a healthcare system that severs tens of millions of people. You have to seek out unbiased information for those within the system; you have to look at the data.

Three final thoughts.

One, I am not asking you to go rent Sicko by Michael Moore (although there are some good truths in there, along with some hype), all I am asking is that if you are going to have an opinion, please become more informed. Please do not let people with personal financial agendas scream SOCIALIZED MEDICINE in a 30 second sound bite and buy what they are selling.

There is a really good book written recently by a gentleman who spent most of his adult life working for one of the big health insurance companies. He describes the events that took place to bring him to a crisis of conscious about who he was working for and what they were doing to people; he became a whistle blower so to speak. He quit his job and has become an advocate for change. His name is Wendell Potter and his book is called Deadly Spin.

Two, think about this. Regardless of who is running the system, we HAVE TO change our healthcare model. Our country focuses on the cure for illness and not the prevention of disease. Until we shift our focus, we are …forgive me…SCREWED.

Three, while I am by no means an expert, I am also not speaking out my rear orifice, as I am a Registered Nurse.

In closing, thank you to the two people who read all the way to the end  While I don't expect for you to agree with me on anything I've said, I would respectfully ask you to consider another perspective and think about this. As long as the two parties keep us focused on blaming each and keeping us at each other's throats, we will NOT be focused on who's spreading the message and what their agenda truly is. We will also NOT come together to change a broken system that is working really well for only a select group of people.

IMO, we as a society need to start caring about one another more, as I feel we've lost our way. And while I understand that a lot of people are moved by their faith (like myself), that does not give anyone the right to try to legally force our/their beliefs onto other people. We supposedly live in the best country in the world, where we all enjoy personal freedom, but if that is really the case, why do certain groups of people keep trying to force their beliefs onto others? Maybe each one of us should focus more on how we live our own lives? Maybe we should try to put ourselves in someone else's place before we judge? What if I was faced with that decision? What if I loved that person? What if I got sick and couldn't get treatment?

This liberal, who is ruining America, wishes you the best…

Kate1813 Kate1813
2 Responses Jun 9, 2012

Hi Stacy,

Thank you for your very kind, thoughtful, and even-toned response. First and foremost, we as a society need to be able to discuss our differences without anger, disrespect, and insults, so I was greatly impressed by your letter. If I may, I will comment on your reply.

With regard to the economic climate of our country today, I would like to say the following. While I could debate you on your use of the description of "very unhealthy economy" I do agree that we are still in the middle of recovery and people are still suffering. That being said, I would respectfully mention that it was eight years of republican leadership that brought us to the worst economic recession in almost 80 years and under Bush we had two unfunded wars, we had the unfunded implementation of MMA (aka Medicare Part D), and two unfunded tax cuts in 2001 and again in 2003. Now while I know the recession is much more complex that those four economic issues, I point them out because they are relevant to our current economic state and they also demonstrate the lack of fiscal responsibility shown by republicans (who today constantly cry foul regarding the national debt, while they are in large part responsible-hypocrites!)

President Obama came into office during an economic free-fall. Just Google job losses by month and you will see what was happening as he took office. He not only had to stop the free-fall, but he then had to recover all the jobs lost, which he has done! And for the first time since he came into office we have net job increase, so from where I sit, while we are not there yet, we've come a long way and I just do not believe that more tax cuts for so called "job creators" is the answer to the problem. In my opinion, "more of the same" takes us in the same direction we are heading…further into recovery.
As an aside, I do not believe wealthy business owners are job creators, as that implies that they want to create jobs and put people to work. Businesses only create jobs when they absolutely have to so that they can increase profits. It is a healthy vibrant economy (middle class) that actually creates jobs, because when people have money, they spend more, creating more demand, thereby increasing production, thereby increasing the workforce.

With regard to the Obama administration demonizing Mr. Romney, I would argue that is not the Obama administration that has done that, but more so the Democratic Party and liberal pundits in the political media. And with all due respect to your opinion that they have demonized him, I feel that a large majority of the criticisms leveled against him we a result of his own doing. For example, he is called a flip-flopper, but that is because there are numerous videos of Mr. Romney voicing one belief as Governor (he was pro-choice) and then current videos of him having a completely opposite belief (he is now pro-life). And if it were just a change of beliefs, well maybe one could swallow that (although I have a problem with someone who changes many of his core beliefs), but he often lies about the positions he has taken on many issues. For example, he clearly stated (at the time Obama did it) that Obama was wrong for bailing out the auto industry and that it was a huge mistake, but now (as he is running for President and the action saved hundreds of thousands of jobs) he states that he was for it all along.

To Romney's credit, he is caught between a rock and a hard place. Because of how politics has become increasingly polarized, and with the advent of the tea party (a whole other subject), Romney was faced with some really bizarre and ultra conservative ideas during the primary elections and he (and all of his positions) had to move to the far right to win the base supporters of the Republican Party to win the primary. The problem with moving to the right during the primary is that now is audience is different, they are more middle of the road voters, who recoil from extreme positions. So all the extreme things Romney had to say to win the primary he how backs away from to win more liberal republicans, independents, and more conservative liberals to win the election. Long story short, he tailors his message to the crowd; he says what they want to hear to get their vote.

Did you see the 47% video? He was in a room full of uber-wealthy people (his peers mind you-all he has ever known-who he feels completely comfortable with) and tells them that 47% of the country don't pay taxes and don't want to live responsible lives and care for themselves. Then when it goes public, he says he misspoke and that is not what he meant at all. Really? I am sorry, but in my humble opinion, there are things that are said that can be unclear and taken several different ways, and then there clear understandable speeches, like this, that is extremely unpopular and could lose him the election. I look at it like this. I believe and frequently articulate that healthcare is a human right and we as a society are responsible for caring for one another. So would there EVER be an occasion where I said to anyone, "I believe healthcare is a privilege and only people who work should have access to it", ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Speaking to which direction Romney will take us, well that greatly concerns me. He says he believes in smaller government with less regulation, and while there are areas of our government that are over -regulated, no regulation is not the answer, especially when it comes to large corporations whose sole goal is to make profit at any cost. We need to remember, corporations (despite what Romney said) are not people and most do not follow a moral code. If they did we would have equal pay for women, we'd have no corporate pollution, we'd have corporations who wouldn't try to keep unions out and everyone would have health insurance. Just look at Wal-Mart. I don't know about the pollution issue (but I can guess), but every other issue I just mentioned are issues Wal-Mart fights against. Now I am not saying that all corporations are inherently evil, but what I am saying is they have shown throughout the ages that they require a level of accountability to keep them honest and on the right track.

With regard to Foreign Affairs, we need a leader who understands that foreign policy is more than extreme arrogance and war, or threats of war. We are hated around the world and while some of those sentiments are undeserved, we cannot act as the world's police force for our own best interests and then wrap ourselves in the flag and pretend that we did nothing to bring this on ourselves. By our country electing President Obama and by his actions on our behalf, our country's reputation in the eyes of many across the globe has been much more positive. But this issue is bigger than one person, it goes to party mindset. The Republican Party has always been the strongest advocate of increasing the military industrial complex which has far reaching consequences that most people cannot begin to comprehend. I recommend you check out Chalmers Johnson's trilogy on the US Industrial Complex-Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic to gain some knowledge of our history around the globe.

Lastly, I have to speak to you as a woman. Mr. Romney and the vast majority of Republicans in this country talk about smaller, less intrusive government until it comes to our bodies. I think Joe Biden said it best in that he follows the teachings of his church but doesn't believe its right to force his beliefs on the rest of the country. Do you realize that we are just one or two Supreme Court justice appointments away from Roe V Wade being overturned and having abortion become illegal (and it is likely that the next President will appoint one, if not two justices)? Do you realize that Republicans are working at the State level to enact laws to close abortion clinics? Do you realize that Mississippi has only ONE abortion clinic still open? Now we already agree on our personal beliefs regarding abortion and how we wish there were none, but this tactic of trying to work around Roe V Wade and taking away women's choices by shutting down clinics scares the hell out of me. Do you realize a lot of Republics what to allow insurance companies to deny you and me coverage to contraception? Mr. Romney has clearly said he will work to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides (in addition to abortions) preventative healthcare and contraception to millions of young women. Many young women I went to nursing school with had no healthcare and used Planned Parenthood as their healthcare source.

Have you heard of the Lilly Ledbetter Act? It was the first law President Obama signed when he came into office and it (supposedly) stops businesses from paying women less, because on average, women are only paid about 70% of what men in the same job are paid. To date, Mr. Romney when asked if he supports the LLB act, refuses to answer one way or the other.
PLEASE understand me, I am not saying ALL republican are bad, because they are not; not by any stretch of the imagination. What I am saying however is there is a loud, active VERY conservative faction of their party who wants to take you and I back to the 1850's.

I believe that Mitt Romney represents the top of the one percent that he has no idea about the struggles you and I face, and he is the front man of an elite group of rich, white men who want their power back. I am not trying to blame all of our ills on the rich, but conversely I am not buying the bride they are trying to sell me either. The economic divide between us and them grows further every minute as we have flat-lined, while they continue to spike upwards, and I will not vote to put one of them in office again, to take us back to ideas and policies that we suffered under for eight years with George W. Bush.

Thanks for listening Stacy. I greatly enjoy intelligent debate with thoughtful, open-minded people. Blessings to you, and to all who have read this.

Hey Kate1813. I am a conservative. I read through your article, and agree with you on almost every point. We would probably quibble a bit about healthcare, as I do not support Obamacare, but I also understand the points you are making, many of which I consider valid.

I all honesty, I don't see you as a liberal. We agree on gay marriage (and I am straight BTW). We agree on abortion - and for the exact same reasons, I might add. (it was weird, because as I was reading your opinions on abortion, I thought for a moment I was reading something I wrote). Perhaps the only point with which I don't agree is that health care is a right. I still believe it's a privledge, but I also feel that it's something to which everyone needs access. Much like food and shelter. Regardless, we aren't too far apart on healthcare. And while I'm not in the medical profession. I was raised around doctors, dentists and veterinarians - my family is full of medical professionals - and they have helped shape my opinion.

I guess what I am suggesting is that there is much more to defining yourself as a liberal or as a conservative than what I would consider to be social issues. I believe you can be a conservative and still support gay marriage or some form of a civil union that is recognized by law and is given the same sort of rights and recognition as a marriage between a man and woman. I think you can be a conservative and still support a woman's right to choose. I don't like the idea that the government should be able to determine how a woman treats her body. It should be her choiice. I don't like the idea of abortions, and would hope that people would only choose it as a last resort. I would be much happier if people were smarter about using contraception, etc. And even many conservatives like myself recognize that our healthcare system needs to be revamped. I simply do not want a single payer system, and that for the most part, the government should not be in the healthcare business.

But again, I view these as the social issues. There are some serious economic issues where liberals and conservatives find less common ground. We have a very unhealthy economy. And the liberal agenda under the current administration does not have an answer. While Obama and his administration have demonized Romney and the republicans, and claim that the republicans do not have a good plan to revive the economy, the Obama administration hasn't offered anything new. What is their plan? I haven't heard anything, so I'm left to assume it's more of the same. Things will not get better economically in this country unless we change direction. I worry that if this country's economic struggles continue, what does that mean for healthcare? The public will be less able to afford Obamacare. And we'll be so strapped for jobs, and worrying about the economy, how can we give attention to social issues such as gay marriage or a woman's right to choose. Not to mention how it weakens our position world wide and exposes this country in foreign affairs. The radicals in the middle east present great danger to this country.

Food for thought...or so I hope. God bless you!