Thursday, June 09, 2005

Deborah White on labels

Peek behind the rhetoric bush and find a real person most of the time. Debi White, card-carrying liberal Democrat, made the acquaintance of a card-carrying conservative Republican and had an interesting conversation.

After a bit of friendly chit-chat, she became serious. "How can you be liberal when you came from such a conservative town?" she asked. "I'm a Republican" she proudly announced.
After half-serious kidding about my liberal conversion at UCLA and a couple angry remarks by me about George Bush, I explained to her that I don't fit the stereotypical mold for the media-perfect Democrat...whatever that might be.

I personally believe that Roe v. Wade is wrong to permit an abortion at anytime during pregnancy, and frankly, struggle with any abortion. In the words of both President Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, I believe that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare." Very rare.

I recently wrote an article on the Pros & Cons of Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Many good people have valid moral concerns about the use of fertilized human embryos being killed in the course of medical research. After extensive research and consultation, I concluded that I support the use of embryos in such research only with certain strict ethical protocols.

My self-labeled conservative, Republican friend exclaimed, "I'm a Republican, but I'm pro-abortion and and pro-embryonic stem cell research." We laughed. Go figure.

My personal stances don't always fall neatly into the "liberal" label, and her personal stances don't always fall neatly into the "conservative" category. Best-selling author Jim Wallis preaches that God is Not a Republican or Democrat. But this is about more than religion.
As my new friend and I did this weekend, when we shed our political labels and sit down to talk, perhaps enjoy a meal together, we are more alike than different. And the labels are just that. Labels. Convenient categories for politicans to use and abuse to build support for their own ambitions and empires.

The chasm between "liberal" and "conservative" is small on many issues and for most people. The classification lines between the two "sides" are fuzzy, messy, indistinct. And the overlap between "liberal" and "conservative" is great.

We are Americans first, and political party adherents second.

Flag Day is June 14, eight days from now. Wouldn't it be a blessing for our nation if we used that day to celebrate our oneness? I will. How about you?

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Thanks, my friend.