Liberals get a bad rap from conservatives for over-spending and from their own party for not achieving enough. Yet, where would we be without liberals? The answer is too dire to ponder. If you’re proud to be a liberal or Democrat, please pass on this 18-part ode of appreciation.
8 Historical Reasons to Show Liberals Love
If you work hard for a living, you can thank a liberal for:
- The 8-hour workday, overtime pay, and the federal minimum wage (Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938). Labor activists started calling for an 8-hour day in 1836; Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the above provisions into law for many workers more than a century later.
If you or someone you love serves in the military, you can thank a liberal for:
- The G.I. Bill of Rights, first enacted in 1944 under FDR, which provides funds for military veterans to receive education/training, started unemployment compensation for veterans, and facilitates loans for returning veterans to buy homes and start businesses.
If you are a member for an under-represented group often attacked by the (ever-fading) white male majority, you can thank a liberal for:
- The Civil Rights Act of 1964, enacted under Lyndon B. Johnson, which outlawed major forms of discrimination against blacks and women, including racial segregation and unfair voter registration requirements.
If you plan on getting old and/or sick some day, you can thank a liberal for:
- The Social Security Act, enacted for limited recipients in 1935 under FDR and expanded under Harry Truman and LBJ, which helps ensure that people who are too old or infirm to work can still access basic necessities.
- Medicare, which provides greatly subsidized health care to retirees. Medicare was signed into law in 1965 by LBJ as an amendment to the Social Security Act.
If you drink water, you can thank a liberal for:
- The Clean Water Act, first enacted under Truman in 1948 (the Federal Water Pollution Control Act) and expanded under Jimmy Carter in 1977. The 1977 amendments created a greater structure for regulating pollutants contaminating U.S. waters and gave the EPA authority to implement pollution control programs.
If you’ve ever had a baby or a sick family member and didn’t want to choose between caring for them or losing your job, you can thank a liberal for:
- The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (signed into law under Bill Clinton), which allows employees who have worked for an employer for at least 1 year to take up to 12 weeks of leave for a family illness, birth or adoption within each 12 month period. Employers must apply accrued sick or vacation time to the worker’s family/medical leave and compensate workers for that time.
If you grew up in a rural area and enjoyed 20th century conveniences, you can thank a liberal for:
- The Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (FDR), which provided federal loans for the installation of electricity in rural areas of the U.S.
Yes, But ‘What Have You Done for Me Lately’ – 10 Reasons to Thank Obama
Is Obama the idealized leader many hoped he’d be? No. Has the Obama administration accomplished more in two years than most Presidents have in two terms? Yes. Here are just some of the strides Obama and liberals made from 2009-2010 before Republicans gained control of the House:
If you or someone you love plans to go to college (and you’re not rich), you can thank a liberal for:
- Student Loan Reform and Pell Grant Award Increases (part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010), which cut private lending companies out of government loans to save $61 billion in subsidies over the next decade, more than half of which goes to funding increases in Pell Grant awards (up to $5,550/year in 2011).
If you realize fossil fuels are ruining the environment, precipitating violent storms and bound to run out sometime this century – and you support the development of sustainable, clean energy, you can thank a liberal for:
- Components of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (aka the Stimulus Bill) that made the largest investment in green technology in history. The bill introduced more than $70 billion for green activities, including a ten-fold increase over the Bush Administration in funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
If you have credit cards or loans and don’t enjoy getting ripped off, you can thank a liberal for:
- The Credit Card Holders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009, which banned underhanded and predatory practices by credit card companies and provided new consumer protections, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (formed under the 2010 Wall Street Reform), which seeks solely to educate and protect consumers from unfair and predatory practices by financial institutions. Its goal is to make sure prices are clear up front, that risks are visible, and that nothing deceptive or abusive is buried in fine print.
If you or someone you love might need comprehensive medical treatment without wanting to get screwed over, you can thank a liberal for:
- Health Care Reform (aka ObamaCare, aka Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010), which forbids health insurance companies from canceling coverage when a person gets sick, from refusing to cover preexisting conditions, and from imposing lifetime limits on medical care. The bill also established federal subsidies to decrease the price of health insurance (families of four earning up to $88,000 are eligible) and initiated federal oversight of premium hikes.
If you or someone you love is disabled or part of the LGBT community, you can thank a liberal for:
- The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which extends federal protection to victims who were attacked because of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Shepard and Byrd were murdered in 1998, the bill was first introduced in 2001, and it finally passed in 2009.
If you or someone you love is homosexual – or if you just believe in the Fourteenth Amendment’s extension of equal protection under the law, you can thank a liberal for:
- Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military without having to hide who they are.
If a teacher has ever touched your life, you can thank a liberal for:
- The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act of 2010, which allocated $10 billion to avert public education layoffs (saving or creating 161,000 teacher jobs) and authorized $16.1 billion in Medicaid funding to help grant low-income people access to potentially life-saving services.
If you think American multi-national corporations should bear a bigger tax liability to help fund services for the people from whom they’re getting rich, you can thank a liberal for:
- Funding the above education/Medicaid bill by reducing tax loopholes for companies making profits overseas. The bill was supported by the National Education Association and several workers’ unions; it was opposed by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the Chamber of Commerce. Only one House Republican voted in favor of this bill.
If you or someone you love has a child for whom they can’t afford to purchase insurance, you can thank a liberal for:
- Reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 2009, which expanded health coverage to 4 million more low-income American children and preserved coverage for 7 million children already enrolled.
If you or someone you love is dying or debilitated from a life-altering illness and you still want hope for a cure, you can thank a liberal for:
- The end of the Stem Cell Research Ban, for which Obama takes full credit. He used an executive order in March 2009 to end former President George W. Bush’s ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
*This list is by no means exhaustive. Enter your own ‘Reason to Thank a Liberal’ below and we may include it in the sequel.
Rachel Maddow is going to close this one out – she does an excellent job of bringing together most of the 2009-2010 liberal accomplishments here. (Don’t forget to show your liberal pride and share the post via the buttons below!)