I am a liberal.  A staunch liberal, I would say…  But these things can be so fluid, can’t they?

Democrats and Republicans

At the moment, Florida Legislators are on the brink of passing (or not passing) some bills that could seriously affect craft brewing in this state, and the blogosphere is all a-twitter, and everyone who has any sort of opinion seems to be weighing in.  Without getting into the specifics of the debate (you can find out all about it here and here), I will simply say that the lines are drawn around the issues of economic freedom and corporate back scratching.

Corporate Greed

First off, let me just put this out there.  It is my belief that the liquor laws (and most other morality laws) in the United States are outdated and prudish.  We tend to take such dim, conservative views on vice that basic freedoms most people wouldn’t even think of as controversial are prohibited (or at least seriously regulated and restricted) here.  It’s all in the name of public good, which is a very condescending way for lawmakers (and by extension, the voters who *may have* elected them) of saying that they know more than we do about what’s good for us.

Setting all of that aside, digging into the debate I quickly ran into a dilemma – to agree with a tea-partier or not?

Not only does @GvilleTeaParty‘s tweet happen to support my side of an issue, but I find myself politically aligned, at least in part, with the ideas behind the post while, in contradiction, simultaneously and diametrically opposed to them.  I feel *partly* dirty.  Like Kelli Stargel, I am for big government, but only when it suits me.  I want social services and public works (happy to pay taxes for these), but I don’t want government regulation favouring big business to interfere with the prosperity of the local and grassroots outfits I love and I don’t want the state to teach and enforce morals.

I have this knee-jerk reaction against publicly acknowledging agreement with a tea-partier, but maybe this is the real problem.  My being so hidebound – I am a liberal, and therefore anything a conservative has to say isn’t worth listening to.  I feel these bonds restricting me and preventing reason from prevailing (or threatening to) and I must make effort to overcome my ‘natural’ inclination.  That is, I must deliberately say to myself – I can break from the camp on this issue.  Here, on this topic, I do think government could do with a bit of stripping down.  This question (of political alignment) isn’t black and white – I’m not in it for all or nothing.

Aesop. FablesAnd this all sort of goes without saying, except that we get caught up in the labyrinths of battle lines we’ve drawn for ourselves.  We become conservative or liberal and people on the other side become the enemy.  Perhaps not always as dramatically as that, but this is how people become trapped.  We become brittle and inflexible and, like ageing rubber, we crumble and crack.  The drama can be delicious, but that way lies ruin.  Better to bend and flex.  To be able to see things from another perspective.  To view one another as people with points of view worth considering.  We need not agree with one another, but it’s worth listening before we assess.