By CONRAD GREEN
In studying our nation’s founding history, I realized our revolutionary founding fathers were liberals and progressives.
They were liberals in that they favored political reforms trending toward representative government and personal freedom for the individual.
They were progressives in the sense that they advanced the opportunities for individuals and favored working for improvement in individual opportunity.
They opposed the tyranny and oppression under which they had suffered.
As one reads the Declaration of Independence, we see a commitment among the Founders to a new status of individuals with respect to the governing authorities. They see a duty of those in leadership to be accountable, transparent and subject to those they govern. The status of the individual was declared in words never before embraced, i.e., created by God; rights derived from their Creator; that government secures its “just powers” from the consent of the governed. These were truly revolutionary, liberal and truly progressive concepts.
The consequence was a new nation of people who came from every nation, from every race, from every ethnic background. It has been said they became a new race — Americans.
The maturation of this nation, through all its struggles, mistakes and triumphs was to become a nation that brought more opportunity, blessing and inspiration to the world than had ever before experienced.
Our politics today tends to use words such as liberal, progressive, conservatism, libertarian to define differences. Then, as those labels are applied, there seems to be a maniacal battle with angry, hateful words exchanged. In the process, people are divided though there is so much more that could unite us.
Is it not time for Americans to reclaim the heritage of our race? We are a race of Americans that cross all boundaries of human conditions. Whether we are of different colors, different national backgrounds, different ethnic experiences, wealthy or poor, different genders, different ages, or any other divisive experience, we choose to believe that a human being has value, worth and deserves the opportunity to grow, to become more than they are.
We believe that our leaders must be accountable, transparent and committed to those core principles of life that have enabled the United States of America to be sacrificial, giving of resources, wealth and blood that others may be free.
Let us recognize that we, as Americans, need to rediscover who we really are and then earn the right granted by our heritage and the sacrifice of those who have gone before. Let us reflect the liberalism of our founders, create opportunity for individual progress, yet conserve and build upon the principles of liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness.
— Conrad Green is a Poulsbo resident. He is a member of the Kitsap County Fire District 18 Board of Commissioners.