The article I have linked to above is from November 30, 2006. I just stumbled across it last week while completing an old list of To-Do's from my boss, one of which was to find this article for him.
I was stunned to read it and thought it deserved a revival here. I wanted you to know how it shook me to the core of my liberalism. No, I am not and never will be a born-again conservative, but I have been forced to consider a few things.
Am I a young idealist? Yes. I dream of a world where the poor and the rich are not quite so far apart, where the environment and the economy can live in harmony, where all humans have all the basic rights afforded to those that were lucky enough to be born into privilege. I am a liberal and have been since I was born. I believe in government's role to help the people, not just govern them. But what am I if I am not willing to do more than just talk about what I believe in?
I do not want to be the brand of liberal that Arthur C. Brooks has discovered most of us are. I don't want to just talk the talk...I want to walk the walk.
Brooks says there are three main areas where liberals really lag behind conservatives: money donated, time donated, and blood donated.
Here's how I plan to address those three areas in my own life:
I believe in gay rights, but rather than sit back and just blog about it, I plan on giving (through workplace giving) $500 to Gay Rights groups this year. I also plan to volunteer...a lot. I serve on the board of a local lesbian group called Swerve, and just this past weekend put in 8-10 hours of volunteer time. I plan on volunteering at Pride this year as well.
I believe in preserving the environment. Besides working at an environmental non-profit every day, I plan to give $200 to groups like The Nature Conservancy and Grist.
I believe in Public radio, so I plan on donating $80.00 to KCPW this year and volunteering for the fund drives.
There are so many other things I believe in, but I want to put my money, time, and blood where my mouth is. So, though I am deathly afraid of needles, I plan on giving blood at least three times this year.
I do not want to be the classic hippy liberal, the one that goes about my own business...live and let live. Perhaps this is the biggest difference between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives have a sense of duty to their country, their churches, and their peers. They live by a code of etiquette. I want to do that also. I want to have an ideal, a voice, a duty, and a code by which I live and address my fellow human beings.
I want to talk like a liberal, walk like a conservative.