I am a free man, an American, a United States Senator, and a Democrat, in that order.
I am also a liberal, a conservative, a Texan, a taxpayer, a rancher, a businessman, a consumer, a parent, a voter, and not as young as I used to be nor as old as I expect to be – and I am all these things in no fixed order.
I am unaware of any descriptive word in the second paragraph which qualifies, modifies, amends, or is related by hyphenation to the terms listed in the first paragraph. In consequence, I am not able – nor even the least interested in trying – to define my political philosophy by the choice of a one-word or two-word label. This may be against the tide, but, if so, the choice is deliberate.
At the heart of my own beliefs is a rebellion against this very process of classifying, labeling, and filing Americans under headings: regional, economic, occupational, religious, racial, or otherwise. I bridle at the very casualness with which we have come to ask each other, “What is your political philosophy?”…
It is a part of my own philosophy to regard individuality of political philosophy as a cornerstone of American freedom and, more specifically, as a right expressly implied in our nation’s basic law and indispensable to the proper functioning of our system.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Political Labels According to LBJ
In yesterday's Britannica Blog, Robert McHenry discusses a quote from then Texas Senator Lyndon B. Johnson that appeared in the 1958 Winter Issue of the Texas Quarterly. As we are nearing the end of what has been a historic Presidential campaign and yet at the same time in many ways a campaign that has failed to rise to what many hoped would be a new level of issue-oriented political contest, I think LBJ's words are still relevant.