I'm liberal, but I'm not acting it. Two weeks in a row now I've abstained from voting in the debates (sorry, Cam). It's weird. So I tried to figure out where exactly I draw the line. Here's what I've got.
I'm conservative on nearly every issue that doesn't involve equality. I support the right to bear arms. I'm opposed to the legalization of marijuana. I support the electoral college. I'm in the wishy-washy on campaign finance. I supported the PATRIOT Act. I think the values that helped build the nation are being forgotten. I don't think the welfare state should be cradle-to-grave with an exception for genuine need (Social Security and Medicare only for those who cannot afford to survive in old age otherwise). I think Defense spending is important. While I'm not terribly religious myself, I think churches have an important role to play in our communities. And yes, I think the individual mandate could set a dangerous precedent. I don't want to expand the scope of government; I just want make sure the government we have is efficient in accomplishing what it was chartered to do. None of that exactly fits under the "liberal banner."
And I distrust big corporations and businesses as much as I distrust big government. I don't think the debate should be between those two poles (private vs. public), but between concentrated and dispersed power. All of society is political, whether it's in the realm of politics or not. The concern shouldn't be about big government, it should be about the concentration of power and influence in the hands of the few. Big government is one potential area where that might occur; but it can happen in a class structure and in the market. That's just populist though; I don't know which side of the spectrum that falls under.
But! My number one concern in life and in politics is getting people to understand that "all men are created equal" means something. Racism makes my blood boil. I support gay rights because I sincerely believe they are my equals and thus deserve the same rights as me. Classism grinds my gears too. The lower classes are often looked down on by the upper classes for being "ignorant" or "uneducated" or "lazy." The exception to the rule on the bottom is success; on the top, it's failure. I have a problem with that. I could care less about equality of outcome, honestly; if you're given the opportunity, then it's all on you. I'm just trying to make sure opportunity exists. Chalk that one up for the liberals.
I think other people doing a little self-reflection like this could yield some interesting findings and shake up the left-right, red-blue, Democrat-Republican spectrums a little. Anyone else feel like the ideology options aren't satisfying? I don't know what exactly you'd call what I just described, but I'd say it's "none of the above."