Dear Conservative

I'm a liberal, a progressive, some would even call me a socialist.  And I don't stay awake at night thinking of ways to take your freedom.

I don't stay awake planning a war on Christmas.  Or Easter, either.

I don't stay awake thinking of ways to give your money to lazy people.

I don't stay awake plotting how to ruin families.

I don't stay awake thinking of how to drive the country into bankruptcy.

I don't stay awake scheming how to corrupt the morality of college students.

I don't stay awake plotting to be a traitor.

I don't stay awake thinking about how to kill babies.

I don't stay awake planning to ban your religion.

I don't stay awake conspiring with terrorists and foreigners.

No, I celebrate Christmas, Easter, and many other holidays, just like you.

And I want people to get a helping hand through welfare when they need it.  I also want to stop giving your money to the laziest of all, the idle rich.  Why don't you?

And I want families to be strong and healthy — which means I recognize there are many different legitimate family structures, and they deserve public support.

And I understand that a public budget is not like an individual one, so running deficits to pump up the economy is good policy, and budget austerity is not only bad policy but cruel (and by the way, conservatives have a terrible debt record, despite popular perceptions.)

And I want people to have as much education as possible — which doesn't make them less moral, but it often does make them less conservative, unfortunately for you.

And don't question my patriotism — I served my country in uniform, as have many liberals and progressives.

And a zygote or an early-pregnancy fetus is not a person; my conviction is that a woman's right to control her own body takes precedence over an entity that is not sentient.  That doesn't make me a baby killer.

And like every liberal or progressive I know, I believe in your freedom to worship as you choose — but the separation of church and state means that your religion doesn't get special privileges, even if you really, really believe it should.

And while I think the "war" on terror is a stupid strategy — fighting terrorism is really a type of policing — I am a public servant with fourteen years of intelligence and security experience.

In short, I care about the public good as much as you do, and about freedom too.

I do sometimes stay awake at night.  But not for any reason you might think.

I stay awake worried about climate change, which is real and already happening and will ruin civilization if we don't change our ways.

I stay awake worried about how vote suppression undermines the right to vote, without which democracy is not possible and authoritarianism sets in.

I stay awake worried that the power of money has systematically corrupted and broken our political system.

I stay awake thinking about how much better life is in countries with stronger welfare states that protect the well-being, health, and development of regular people.

I stay awake anxious about how anti-intellectualism, a disrespect of education, and downright willful ignorance has gripped large parts of our population.  A willfully stupid people is a doomed people.

I stay awake terrified that at some point, people like you will impose a theocracy on America, whether de jure or de facto.

I stay awake angry and frustrated at the power that corporations have both in politics and in the economy.

And I stay awake thinking about ways that we could fix all this, and many other problems too.  That means opposing bad political principles and bad policy ideas — and that means opposing you, because after long study and experience I've concluded that conservative ideas are generally really bad ones.  But that only means we disagree, it doesn't make me the enemy. 

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