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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Liberalism shouldn’t spell death for American political candidates

Liberal has become a dirty word in American politics. Webster’s Dictionary defines “liberalism” as a “political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of man, the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.” Doesn’t sound too horrible. Yet, in politics today, being labeled a liberal places a noose around someone’s neck, while being labeled a conservative places a halo over their head. But do the effects of these labels accurately add up to their true meanings?
Conservatism, at best, beckons a standstill in policy. At worst, as epitomized by the current administration, conservatism means moving backwards by implementing regressive policies. The separation between church and state is being blurred from existence; science is taking a backseat to religion; the environment is shadowed by corporate greed and tolerance is forsaken for political expediency.
It is one thing to stand still but quite another to sprint full-force backwards into the mistakes America is supposed to be learning from.
Opponents of liberal policy have displayed a fictional picture of liberals to the American public. In many cases, being labeled a liberal is a death knell for politicians who spend time and money fighting an uphill battle to ease these accusations. Among the many mistruths that come with this label is the idea that being liberal and moral is mutually exclusive. But this is only the case if morality starts and stops with opposing equal rights for homosexuals and inhibiting a woman’s right to choose. Liberals believe morality encompasses much more: Life does exist outside the womb and outside of gay couples’ bedrooms, and this is where liberals choose to fight.
An agenda that includes fighting for the poor and most disadvantaged, giving more Americans access to health care and improving education for everyone should have far less trouble projecting its moral basis. Protecting the environment, demanding equal rights for all Americans and insisting that rigorous standards be met before war is deemed necessary are political beliefs no one should have to hide from.
The beauty of liberalism is that it is a living philosophy. It changes with the times, finding inequalities and grievances to address within every generation, some new but most old. All progress seen to this point regarding the improvement of status for African Americans, women and the gay community has been aided and affected by people who saw bigotry and stood up and said, “Not in my country.”
Today, only 40 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the products of 350 years of racism, slavery, discrimination and segregation still need to be addressed. These include the failure of urban K-12 schools and the higher incarceration rate of black men.
Eighty-four years after American women received the right to vote, they are paid 76 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the National Organization for Women. In addition, the United States is one of only two civilized nations yet to provide paid maternity leave.
Our generation has and will continue to see a new fight, once again in opposition to Draconian views of an immutable attribute. Today, gay and lesbian Americans cannot openly serve and protect their country and are denied the same rights and responsibilities as married couples. Gay, lesbian and bisexual employees can be fired on the basis of their sexual orientation in 36 states, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Liberals in the American political system believe that there is still work to do and progress to be made in our political system. At the heart of liberal ideology is the belief that America can do better, that the level of equality can be increased and at the same time, personal liberty protected. These are noble goals. So for the political minority at Texas A&M: The next time you are called a “bleeding-heart liberal,” just remember – it beats being a cold-hearted conservative.

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