The 'liberal agenda' promotes fairness
The news media has leaned heavily on the so-called “liberal agenda” of President Obama’s second term.
Barack Obama is a majority president elected by 52 percent of the popular vote. His views are well within the mainstream of the country’s thinking. Those people who have had their ears to the ground have known since the first time the nation heard him at the Democratic Convention of 2004 that Barack Obama is anything but a right-wing conservative. So, what’s the big surprise here?
A strong case can be made that the president’s “liberal agenda” is a call for fairness. In his second inaugural address, unlike many previous presidents, Obama took the occasion to lay out in general terms goals for his second term. An Associated Press release out of Washington said the president’s “second-term agenda is shaping up as an unabashedly liberal wish list.” The press release went on to specifically record this liberal wish list as tackling climate change, protecting government entitlements, civil rights for gays, dealing with the issue of women in combat, expanded opportunities for students with disabilities, stricter gun law proposals and immigration reform.
The implication is that had the country elected Mitt Romney, a completely different, conservative wish list would have been forthcoming. Would tackling climate change, protecting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, gay and women’s rights, immigration reform, and the others not have made Romney’s list? What would have made up a “conservative” wish list? We don’t know. Mr. Romney never told us!
From remarks Mr. Romney made during his campaign, all of the aforementioned would have been given short shrift. The emphasis would have been on jobs and the federal deficit. But, the jobless rate is steadily dropping, and the economy is definitely on the upswing.
Obviously, the primary conservative concerns are no longer uppermost in the country’s collective thoughts. Admittedly, jobs continue to be a big worry, but all indicators show that the nation is not only on the mend, it is on the upswing!
Against heavy odds, President Obama made good on nearly all of his first term campaign promises. America’s chief enemy, Osama bin Ladin, is dead. One war is ended; the other nearly. Health care reform is a fait accompli. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is abolished. Ten states now recognize gay marriage.
Although his agenda is certainly far from conservative, it cannot be correctly labeled “liberal,” unless we admit that a majority of the American people are liberal. It appears that President Obama’s plans for the nation during his second term are rooted in what we must call basic fairness for all Americans. The concept of fairness cannot be patented by any political party.
Milt Hankins of Ashland, Ky., is a retired minister, theologian and freelance writer.
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