Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Liberals think..."

My governor is at it again. "Liberals think the American people can't be trusted to safeguard even a portion of their retirement dollars," he said on my car radio as I drove home today, wincing a bit at the pain that my recent hernia repair surgery can still set off in my lower abdomen.

It never ceases to amaze me what people are willing to assume that liberals think. I have a pretty sizable chunk of money stashed away in private retirement funds, but I supposedly think that my fellow citizens can't be trusted to do the same. In the imagination of people like Rick Perry (yes, that's who I'm talking about), liberals like me want to expand the government because—we want more government. We live to think up new ways to deprive the American people of their personal autonomy and freedom. We revel in the perpetuation of something that he is pleased to call "the nanny state."

I've got some news for you, Rick. You really don't have a clue what we think.

How do I know that? For one thing, you don't ask. For another, you don't seem particularly receptive. Does it occur to you that hyping an image of yourself as a vigilante who jogs with a laser-sited gun at the ready doesn't exactly make people want to open up and share? If so, and if you ever decide to take a break from the cowboy persona and listen, here are some things that might surprise you.

• I am a liberal, and I believe, deeply, in personal responsibility.

• I am no more fond of government bureaucracy than anybody else.

• I haven't needed a nanny since I was in diapers.

• I try very hard not to caricature the beliefs of vast swaths of my fellow citizens.

• I would really welcome the opportunity to have an intelligent conversation with somebody who doesn't make such broad assumptions about me.

So what do I believe? What makes me a liberal if I don't want government for government's sake and have no desire to reduce other Americans to a state of helpless dependency?

Are you stumped? All you have to do is ask.

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