Are you a (damn) liberal or an (F’in) Conservative?

Maybe I am only shouting back at myself, but when something is so obvious to me about something so important, why should I not holler? You’ve heard it from me (not only me, of course) that the obvious answer to all, ALL the world’s problems is education. Let’s educate ourselves on what “education” actually means. The definition according to Webster: “To develop mentally and morally.”

Let’s look into this “moral” aspect. I think you’ll agree the populous of our diverse country (and the populations of the world as the countries are ordained by current events to become more diverse) have become divided into two polarizing camps: the (damn) liberals and the (f’ing) conservatives.

To develop a little more mentally, let’s check the definitions of these two controversial words. Liberal: “Generous. Bountiful. Not narrow in opinion or judgement.” Conservative: “Disposed to maintaining existing views, conditions, or institutions.” Hmm…neither definition negative. Unless weaponized. Of course exhibited to the extreme both can be negative: Liberal= permissive/ entitling/ elitist. Conservative= inflexible/hypocritical/ backward thinking.

In reality I’d say most of us are guilty of a split personality to a certain extent: one side wanting things to change for the better; the other side not liking the way some things are changing. I’ll use myself as an example in an area we can almost all relate to and the most important job we have: raising our children.

My wife and I have been accused at times, as parents, of being too liberal or too conservative. We’ve raised our kids to be nice to everyone, to respect everyone (liberal)…until a person does something for which they lose their respect (then to just ignore them). To be open-minded and non-judgmental.

Yet cautious and moderate in our behavioral expectations. If they (five of them) exhibited behavior we felt needed moderating, we had a family meeting…discussed it (diplomatic…something our current gov’t seems to be lacking). If they, especially before the age of reason (like many of our gov’t employees), didn’t agree, we were conservative: “Because we told you so.” If the kids didn’t do what they were told, there were consequences (not threats – consequences).

An example: growing up they all had nice, fancy bikes for transportation (generous, thus liberal). Except they had to “earn” their bikes (conservative) usually by doing chores. If they were enterprising and earned extra money, like babysitting or mowing/shoveling for neighbors, they could earn a better bike (Liberal? Conservative? I don’t know).

They had to take care of their bikes (conservative). Put them in the garage, for instance. In some cases older siblings, and maybe vice-versa, due to their non-judgmental, liberal upbringing, might, in the spirit of “brotherly love” and “cooperation” (whoa…what happened to that lost virtue?) help out. But, if a bike was not put away, we had a discussion (liberal), and if it happened, again – a consequence. Again, not an idle threat (too liberal), but a non-physical (equal amount of liberalism and conservatism) consequence, like limiting bike privileges for a period of time.

So, enough. I believe you see what I’m getting at. I’d like us all to put to rest this weaponizing of the words liberal and conservative. Part of all of us wants some things to change for the better, part doesn’t like some of the changes. That’s where education enters the equation. We become “Informed,” not just ignorantly lashing out, “emoting.” I would like to think that education, even if just clarifying what words actually mean, promotes understanding, bringing us together, eliminating unreasonableness due to irrational emoting that divides us.

My next several blahgs will be examples of how education is the answer. Note: Under the current administration, funding for education is being cut. In my opinion, not a good idea. If we’re ever going to give education the priority and funding it deserves, the Gen Xers and especially the Millennials are going to have to pay attention. That’s why I wrote Will. Please forward this and, if you approve, any successive blahgs to any Xers or Mills in your life.