Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's Better to be Progressive instead of Liberal

On Tuesday, May 26 2009, the California Supreme Court failed to overturn Proposition 8 and thus same sex couples cannot legally marry. Let me remind you that this is California, a state that has long been known as being liberal. That my friends, is the problem. Waving the banner of being liberal is polarizing and thus did not reframe the discussion of marriage in the right light. It is a definite leadership issue as well.

Being liberal sounds good. Some of the definitions of the word include:
1) marked by generosity (good, right?)
Since when is it acceptable to bestow rights to a group for the sake of generosity. I don't want charity rights thrown my way.
2) lacking moral restraint (hmmm, maybe not as good)
This has plenty of holes in it. Standing on the liberal soapbox makes a person an easy target based on morality...never a fun argument when discussing rights.
3) not literal or strict (understandable)
People need rules to follow. Holding strong to this aspect of "liberal" almost communicates an acceptance of individual interpretation. I don't want people individually interpreting my rights.
4) not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms (wow, that is really cool, right?)
Start messing with tradition and start losing the fight. Change for the sake of change is weak, but that is generally why tradition is challenged. People lean on the "why not?" rationale.

The downside to the term liberal is that it is the "opposite" of conservative. In the battle of words, opposites paralyze the conversation.

What leaders, lawmakers, and lovers need to grasp is that being progressive is what is really needed. Let's look at key parts of that definition:
1) making use of or interested in new ideas, findings, or opportunities
2) moving forward or onward

Conservatives and Liberals both should be able to get behind this mindset. California thought it was cool to be liberal. "Hey look at us. Anything goes. Oooooo."

Back to business...
Our economic system cannot survive based on being conservative or being liberal. Our economic system requires progressive thought. The environment changes. The way success was achieved yesterday is not the same way it will be achieved tomorrow. Adherence to the status quo (conservative) or flying by the seat of your pants (liberalism) may provide sort-term success, but does not prove to be sustainable. We must progress.

Being progressive is really the only "safe" way to grow as a society. California, it is time to change your tune.

Take a look at the movie SPLIT: A Divided America

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