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Steve Wikert

Wikert

This is for all Americans to read. This information is important whether you are considered a “conservative,” a “liberal,” a “Republican,” a “Democrat” or any other label.

It is interesting how the term “liberal” is thrown around today by some Americans as if it is a dirty word. Quite often in the past few years I have been labeled a “liberal” on social media by individuals. Almost always there are additional negative adjectives included.

Just recently a friend of my brother’s was on Facebook in a discussion about supporting Donald Trump, and he called me a liberal. Even though he is an African-American, he avidly supports our current racist president. He then started to call the online discussants “liberals,” who were “ignorant fools” and he said liberalism was a “MENTAL disorder.”

I always like to enlighten Facebook discussions with either facts, fact checks or definitions other than my own. One thing I researched and found was a Wikipedia article called “Liberalism in America.” This is what I responded with on

Facebook:

If it were not for the “liberals” who lived in Colonial America, we would still be under British rule, because according to Wikipedia: “The origins of American liberalism lie in the political ideals of the Enlightenment. The Constitution of the United States of 1787 set up the first modern republic, with sovereignty in the people (not in a monarch) and no hereditary ruling aristocracy.”

The article also stated: “Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on what many see as the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process, and equality under the law are widely accepted as a common foundation across the spectrum of liberal thought.”

I told him if not for liberals, African-Americans like himself might still be slaves. Without liberals, African-Americans or women in America might not be able to vote or own property.

I went on to quote: “Since the 1930s, without a qualifier the term “liberalism” in the United States usually refers to “modern liberalism”, a political philosophy exemplified by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and, later, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. It is a form of social liberalism, whose accomplishments include the Works Progress Administration and the Social Security Act in 1935, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

Without liberals none of us would be enjoying or looking forward to Social Security or Medicare.

The Wikipedia article then went on to say: “The American Bill of Rights guarantees every citizen the freedoms advocated by the liberal philosophers: equality under the law, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to gather in peaceful assembly, the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and the right to bear arms, among other freedoms and rights. In this sense, virtually all “Americans” are “liberals.””

Donald Trump and his supporters use all types of derogatory labels for their political adversaries, including the term “liberals.” He tweets these and announces this on a daily, if not hourly basis. It is sad our so-called president has worsened the political divide during his campaign and presidency. Personally speaking, I am proud to be called a “liberal” because it is about the most American thing you can be. Without liberals none of us would be able to call ourselves a citizen of these United States of America.

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Steve Wikert is a Cedar Falls resident, Vietnam veteran and retired teacher.

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