by Judy Ferro
Liberal. Liberal. Liberal.
Does the word scare you? Repulse you?
Republicans have a tendency to dismiss any policy or political figure they disagree with as “liberal.” It often works—even when the majority of Idahoans agree with the policy in question.
Well, Idaho Democrats have supposedly adopted the “most liberal platform” ever. I honestly don’t see that it differs much from the 2014 or 2012 platforms.
So what “liberal” planks does this platform contain?
Let’s look at number one. Idaho Democrats Demand Equality and Respect for all Idahoans. Scary, huh? A similar declaration once triggered a great revolution: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Our Founding Fathers created the first modern nation founded on this basic principle of democracy. They succeeded in advancing equality and in inspiring decades of Americans to continue the fight. Don’t underestimate the efforts it took to end slavery and extend voting rights to women and those without property.
Liberals continue to champion equal rights. More from plank one: All people must be treated equally regardless of race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, national origin, immigration status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or age.
That’s a tough list. Humans have a tendency to favor and defend their tribe—those they identify with—against others.
But when it sounds impossible, when it seems that transsexuals or Moslems or immigrants are just too different, I look back at the progress made in my lifetime and know that these attitudes will change. Most young people today can’t imagine a world when Italians and Irish were assumed to be drunken libertines and Catholics and Protestants blew up one another’s gathering places. If it weren’t for history books, they wouldn’t know that Blacks had been lynched for registering to vote and laws prevented intermarriage between races.
When I was growing up here, public schools didn’t serve students who were deaf or blind. Mentally challenged children were hidden from sight. Mexicans were banned from many downtown businesses, and Mexican kids appeared in town but not in school.
I didn’t see women doctors or lawyers, carpenters or electricians either.
When I was in college, one of our fraternities was kicked out of its national for accepting two Jewish members. When my daughter was in college, she introduced me to a Black student she was supporting for chair of the Greek Council with the words, “And, Mom, he’s only a sophomore.” That was more remarkable to her than that a Black young man had supporters in fraternities and sororities across her campus. (He was elected.)
In my lifetime, I’ve seen the first Catholic president, the first divorced president, and the first Black president. I hope to live long enough to see the first woman president and, perhaps, the first Jewish president.
I know it’s easy to wish the world were simple, that men were men and women were women, and that people around the world had peace and opportunity and could stay where they are.
But it’s not.
We must seek to bring justice, fairness, and opportunity to the people who are in our world, not just the ones we wish to include.
More from plank one: Diversity is essential to the well-being of a democratic society.
Have a happy Fourth of July—and give thanks that our Founding Fathers were the radical liberals of their day!