Suppose some one asks you, "are you a Liberal or Conservative", how would you reply?
First, let us define the terms in current political context.
According to one definition, Liberal is
"a person who believes that government should be active in supporting social and political change", and "a supporter of policies that are socially progressive and promote social welfare".
Conservative on the other hand has been defined as
"one who adheres to traditional methods, or views", and " a person favoring free enterprise, private ownership and socially traditional ideas".
What about our political parties?
The popular view is that the Democrat Party is Liberal and the Republican Party is Conservative.
Although, it did not always start that way. The Republican Party (GOP) was formed during President Abraham Lincoln's time, mainly as an opposition to the opening of Western States to the practice of slavery. So, initially the GOP was a liberal party. At that time the Democrat Party wanted to preserve the States Rights and hence Conservative.
Even during the 1964 Civil Rights era, Southern democrats like Al Gore Sr., Robert Byrd,
Richard Russell , and J. William Fulbright filibustered the legislation. Finally it took the leadership of then Senate Minority leader Everett Dirksen, a Republican from Illinois, and 26 other Republican Senators along with 44 Democrat Senators to override the Filibuster.
Eventually, the Southern Democrats, also called Dixiecrats , joined the Republican Party and made the issue more confusing.
Even the leaders cannot be strictly classified one way or the other.
Abraham Lincoln pursued a liberal cause in abolishing slavery,
but supported many conservative principles including the Right to Work.
Theodore Roosevelt, a conservative Republican, championed the cause for
big investment in the nations Parklands and Forests.
John Kennedy was liberal in social policies but a fiscal conservative who cut taxes.
Richard Nixon, who ran on a conservative platform, abolished the Gold Standard and pursued a liberal fiscal policy.
Bill Clinton was the last President to balance the budget and leave a surplus-
a goal all conservatives clamor.
What are some of the perceived differences between Liberal and Conservative?
Liberals want to increase taxes for the rich and seek increased government roles in the Country's activities.
Conservatives want incentives for the businesses with the hope that growing economy will provide for societal needs. They want involvement of private enterprise in handling most of the problems.
Liberals favor Big Government to achieve their social goals. Conservatives trust Big Businesses to tackle all issues.
Liberals believe in climate change, Conservatives are not sure.
Liberals want strict environmental regulations. Conservatives want to remove restrictions on industries.
Liberals believe in the public school system. Conservatives want school choice.
Liberals want America to stop using fossil fuels. Conservatives want America to be self sufficient in Fossil fuels. Conservatives view "Fracking" as a solution to our energy needs. Liberals consider "Fracking" as a
polluter of the environment.
Conservatives believe in Creationism, Liberals in Evolution.
To Liberals, Government is the solution, whereas, to Conservatives, it is the problem.
Conservatives want to put America first, Liberals dream of unified world order.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Trans-sexual (LGBT) movement is a Civil Rights issue for the Liberals, and a lifestyle phenomenon for Conservatives.
By and large, most of the immigrants gravitate towards the Liberal parties,
like the Labor Party in the United Kingdom and the Democrat Party in the U.S.
In America, mainstream news media and the intellectual elite are more comfortable with liberal parties.
Conservative support comes mostly from the business and fundamental religious communities.
In the current context, most Americans:
-want social justice
-want peaceful demonstrations and not violent destructions
-want healthcare that is both affordable and provides choice
-want a lawful society protected by a compassionate and unprejudiced police force
-seek manufacturing self sufficiency
-do not want to get involved in needless foreign conflicts
But there are two issues where the Country is equally divided,
Reproductive choice and Right to bear arms.
Maybe, those will be the issues which separate the wheat from the chaff.
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