When I started this blog, I promised myself I wouldn’t use any lightning-rod words that tend to send people scampering off to their narrow cultural corners. That included names of certain politicians, political parties, or other labels steeped in an “us vs. them” mentality.
I’m breaking that promise in this post. We have to get past this mentality, but in order to do so, first we have to go through it. So, let’s dive right in:
I’m Done Being a Liberal.
I’m guessing when you read that, you thought something like, “WTF? Who would become a conservative this day and age?”. Or, I suppose it could have been “Yay, another one down!” Either way, somewhere in your thinking lurks an opposite of what you think liberal is.
Why? Because we have been trained to think in binary terms. If someone is not a liberal, then they must be only one other thing: a conservative. This kind of thinking is ingrained in us:
You say left, but think right for context.
Don’t look up means you probably glance down.
If it’s not black, it must be white.
Turn it off implies it’s already fully on.
Even though there are a million points and possibilities in between the opposite ends, our brain tends to reduce and simplify. And when we lazily go along with such binary thinking, we play right into the hands of politicians and media profiteers who feed off of “us” and “them.”
Well, I’ve decided enough.
Let’s shift away from this dumbed-down version of humanity. If you or I can do even a small thing from our little pinpoints in the world, it’s worth doing. Because frankly, such simplified, limited thinking is beneath our intellectual capabilities.
Leadership over labels
From here on out, I refuse to call myself a liberal—a label that just signifies I’m part of one club and not another. Instead, if and when it comes up in conversation, I will respond by explaining (without labeling) the kind of leadership I believe is worth promoting:
I am for leadership that builds and supports systems where all life is seen as interconnected. This kind of leadership understands the deep, simple truth that what affects one ultimately affects all.
I am for leadership that weighs decisions by considering consequences that affect future generations. This includes avoiding harmful repercussions on the planet.
I am for leadership that is strong enough not to be bought. It bypasses “favors” owed, subtle bribes, ego strokes, or any kind of influence that runs counter to doing what’s best for the community.