I love college. Part of why I love college is because I am fortunate enough to revel in new experiences, to hear new ideas and grasp their implications, and to discuss and expand my ideas with other people who have different backgrounds or values.
I am currently enrolled in a class called "The History of the Modern Conservative Movement". I decided to take this class because it was in my major, and also because I am an avowedly fierce liberal. I wanted to hear the "other team's" take. I wanted to better understand conservatives and their ideas.
My professor, politically speaking, can match my liberal beliefs with his conservative beliefs, blow for blow. He doesn't usually advocate for his beliefs in class, but rather uses the lectures to deliver an understanding of events which the "conservative movement" would espouse.
I am extremely committed to understanding other people's beliefs. How so, you may ask? I agreed to take this class once a week from 8:10 PM to 10:40 PM at night. That's right - PM, not AM. Honestly, it's probably a good thing, because if I was more awake, it would be harder to restrain myself from vehement disagreement (just kidding, just kidding).
Several weeks ago, I was listening to our professor deliver his lecture, when he lamented that conservatives are constantly, unfairly portrayed and vilified by the media and by liberals as "racists, sexists, and homophobes".
Is this an unfair accusation? No, I believe it is an entirely fair charge. I find plenty of evidence to substantiate the accusations.
Please observe the virulent, entirely over-the-top outright hatred for President Obama. The demeaning, racially-charged nicknames. The implied foreignness and otherness expressed in the ridiculous campaign to assert that the President was born in Kenya, not in Hawaii.
Note the ludicrous statement by Senator Jon Kyl (R-what else?, AZ) that women could receive pap smears at Walgreen's, that 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion, a blatantly false exaggeration, even if it was "not intended to be a factual statement" - which itself is a ludicrous assertion.
Even worse are the efforts of Republican Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana to end all public funding for Planned Parenthood in his state, an action which displays an outright contempt for women's health.
Bemoan the foul river of accusation and negative portrayal of homosexuals. The statement of a Tea Party leader that a condition for raising the debt ceiling should be the reinstitution of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the removal of woman from the military. Witness the absolutely stubborn and close-minded refusal by many people to recognize that you are a human being with the same fundamental rights, no matter what gender you are or who you love.
That's not all. Let's tackle some other "unfair accusations" conservatives have decried.
My professor also resented that conservatives have been labeled as "reactionaries".
Let's examine the mad-cap rush to screw the poor and the elderly and reward the rich, evidenced not only in the provisions of the Paul Ryan plan, but in Republican economic policy over the last 30 years. See the rampant hypocrisy in the fight over deficits: Republicans insist that the deficit is an immediate and overwhelming problem, but refuse to take any steps to raise revenue. An absolute refusal to raise taxes is as reactionary a stance as any in American politics; if that stance is not reactionary, then the word itself has lost all meaning.
Conservatives will stop being called racists, sexists, homophobes, and reactionaries only when they purge the elements of their coalition that are racist, sexist, homophobic, and reactionary! A mere whitewashing and meaningless rebranding of history (and language itself) may work in some isolated cases, but Americans will ultimately see through the charades, if President Obama and other liberals will quit relenting their positions, commitments, and promises.
I'm not only speaking as a liberal, but also I speak as an American. Our country cannot allow the whitewashing and implicit censorship of our political and historical records. We cannot allow our history to perish from the Earth, or our democracy shall soon follow it.