I have spent some time recently reading the blogs of self-described liberal women. I have once again been reminded of the definite similarity between the internal perspectives of their values and my own. They want people to be well cared for, and their fellow man to do well. They want to see injustices in the system reduced or removed, and they want to take care of their own needs while still not stepping on others to accomplish it. In short, all of us of care about the world around us a great deal, and we want to make a better world for our children to grow up in. The difference, in my opinion, comes in the outward projection of those inward designs.
For the most part, I find liberals prefer to mandate compliance with laws to affect a change in the world. They want the government to force corporations to do what the market will not. They want the government to supply insurance (and thereby health care) when the insurance agencies will not. They want to give those who are less fortunate a government handout - derived from taxing others - to help those who don't make enough to take care of themselves and their children. They look to the government to create logical retirement solutions in programs like Social Security and Medicare. In short, they prefer government regulations and government programs when the time comes to solve a problem.
As a conservative, I prefer to find solutions that encourage private entities and individuals to solve problems. I prefer to change the world by increasing opportunities for education and employment to encourage people to take care of themselves. I would rather cut taxes and regulations on employers (most often, corporations) to allow them to employ people at more suitable wages and charge prices more reasonable for all. I would like to give insurance companies tax breaks as an incentive to offer broader coverages to all people. I would rather the government allow people to save their own money for retirement in lieu of paying for Social Security. I can concede that mandating they put money into a retirement account to avoid payroll taxes would be a suitable first step, but I again prefer not to force people to take care of themselves through taxation. I believe the government has created numerous programs that hamper the market's ability to meet more people's needs. I believe excessive regulations and corporate taxes have driven jobs overseas, when removing the corporate taxes would likely promote an influx of jobs to this country.
I think liberals and conservatives both want to help their fellow man. They just go about it in very different ways. Liberals want the government to handle the job by taxing the haves and sharing with the have nots. Conservatives want to help people learn to take care of themselves, and for the government to primarily provide for the safety of individuals from criminals and foreign threats but otherwise leave people alone. I know I have oversimplified the arguments and viewpoints of both sides. My point is to look for common ground - the desire to help others - and to work toward that common goal with solutions that will work. I am willing to listen to both sides, with the understanding that I want to be listened to when I make my suggestions. The time has come that we forget the tension the media builds up for the sake of a good story and move forward as one people. Otherwise, we'll continue to be mired in the growing problems of economics, health care, national security, and individual rights. I want to start building a better tomorrow now, instead of waiting for catastrophe. Who's with me?