In response to Alan Shope's "America, let's embrace our true liberal soul (Jan. 6):"
Let's start with the Random House Dictionary definitions for conservative and liberal. Conservative: Disposed to preserve exiting conditions, institution or restore traditional institutions and to limit change. Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.
Mr. Shope seems to classify conservatives as powerful and wealthy, who exploit the poor, foreigners and others. I don't see this in the definition of conservative.
Mr. Shope goes on to classify liberals by naming famous and admired people: Gandhi, Kennedy, King and even Jefferson. He also decided God is a liberal. I'm not sure that God's laws are subject to a lot of change.
Conservatives aren't necessarily wealthy or exploiters. They are wealthy, poor, good and not so good. Liberals are also wealthy, poor, good and not so good. People can't be easily defined because they aren't conservative or liberal in all matters.
The "liberal" people Mr. Shope refers to were "conservative" in many respects; they wanted to change what they considered wrong, but wanted to preserve what they considered good.
It isn't productive or just to label people bad who are "conservative" in many respects. They wanted to change what they considered wrong, but wanted to preserve what they considered good.
It isn't productive or just to label people bad who are "conservative" or good because they are "liberal." People are not easily defined and never simply conservative or liberal.
However, it is productive to have an open and fair discussion on what we want to conserve and what we want to change. There is a need for both sides.