I should start off by saying that you might not agree with everything I have to say, most will not and that’s okay, but give me the respect of at least trying to hear me out. I will begin by defining what being a liberal means to me. This may seem like a laundry list, but every policy listed is a pillar of who I am as an American and as a human being. Being a liberal to me means that you are willing to share resources with one another. It means that you are a person who sacrifices to promote the common good. It means that you care about the person next to you enough to promote their wellbeing, even if it is at the expense of your own. Liberals are people who think of healthcare as a right because no one should die because they cannot pay for treatment. They believe that the highest earners in this nation should pay their fair share of taxes to provide for those who are fighting every day just to get by. Liberals, in my mind, believe that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare because a woman has the right to say what happens in her body. Liberals believe that they are a part of a global community and they should do their best to promote goodness throughout the world, and they believe that peace through force is a last resort, not a first option.
People on the left side of the aisle believe that America is the beacon of hope, and that the national symbol is the Statue of Liberty, not a wall. Liberals believe that climate change is a man-made global danger, and as the world’s second largest emitter, the US has a responsibility to be part of the solution, not the problem. And finally, liberals believe in common sense gun laws because the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is infringed upon every time a child dies at the hands of a firearm.
I believe in these values, and I’ve fought for these values. For example, I was a fellow on the Abby Finkenauer campaign for Congress and I am a prominent member of Linn-Mar Democrats. While I don’t agree with every policy liberals have put forward, I align with them because of how our political parties and our political system functions.
I point to the policy generalities and the inadequate representation of political views in our current system to support my point. Policy generality is when parties take vague stances on issues to create an umbrella so they have a wider voter base. You see, if a party said, we have a list of 243 positions and anyone who doesn’t agree with even one of these is not welcome in our party, they would have a very small voter base and they wouldn’t win a single seat in any legislature.
This leads me to my next point, the setup of our political system and how it limits the accurate representation of beliefs. With single member districts and the winner-take-all system, minority parties that could more accurately represent my views would never gain seats in the legislature and therefore my view would never be represented. So, in order to make sure my vote carries weight, I am forced to make a choice, Democrat or Republican. This is where the policy generalization comes into play. I look at both parties and I decide which party aligns with my views the most, and then I look at who is running for the nomination of that party and I can caucus or primary for the candidate that lines up best with my views. But to bring this back to my original point, I don’t agree with everything liberals have to say, but I agree with them more than conservatives, so my mindset is that I’m not going to get everything I want but I will see more of my views expressed if liberals are elected.
At Linn-Mar High School, I have had the chance to have conversations and debates with many conservatives, and I have always welcomed the debates, because I firmly believe that if one cannot defend their view with facts and logical reasoning, they should not take that position in the first place. These debates have given me the opportunity to defend my views, but to also see both sides of a debate. As Sun Tzu once said, you need to know your enemy to defeat your enemy.
While I in no way view conservatives as enemies, the point is clear, one must always see both sides of an argument. After looking at both sides of every issue, I consistently land on the left side of the aisle. Many of the liberal positions that I support try to help those in need, because one of the most important parts of being a liberal to me, means that I realize that I am not alone in this world. I feel I have a responsibility to my fellow citizens of America and to my fellow citizens of the Earth to do everything in my power to give them opportunities to succeed, because I know I would want someone to do the same for me.
While I enjoy politics, my main passion is medicine, as a result of this, healthcare is a large policy focus for me. As I said earlier, I believe that healthcare is a right. To argue this point, I could tell you that 12.2 percent of the US population is uninsured right now, or I could tell you that the US spends the most amount on healthcare per capita than any other nation, but I would rather use one of my experiences. This past year, my cousin in Washington was living his best life, travelling, hiking, running, and enjoying life as if he was invincible. Then one day, he turned yellow and was rushed to the Emergency Room. It was discovered that he had a liver condition. He was uninsured, why would he need health insurance? He’s in his 20’s, he is going to live forever, right? Wrong, he was lucky enough to get on Medicaid and he was able to get the life-saving treatment that he badly needed, but other families are not so lucky, and I never want a family to have to make the choice between medical treatment and food on their dinner table.
I’m also pushed towards universal healthcare by the faces I see in the Mercy Hospital Emergency Department, where I volunteer. These faces hope for their loved ones to get better but they are unsure how they will pay. All I want these families to focus on is helping their loved ones get better. The entitlement programs that saved my cousin and many like him are necessary and his story is one of the main reasons why I fight for universal healthcare and why I support the group that supports them.
Through my experiences in my short life, I have formed my own political opinions and after looking at both sides, I have decided to identify as a liberal, and I will continue fighting for all of the policies I listed above. You might not agree with what I have to say, as I said in the beginning, not everyone will, but I hope you have given me the same respect I would give you and I hope you at least tried to hear me out. But even if you don’t agree with me, I still respect you as an American and as a human being, and with mutual respect, our country can move towards finding a middle ground, and both sides can do some of what they believe is best for our nation.