An aggressively annoying new phrase in America's political lexicon is "values voters." It is used proudly by social conservatives, and carelessly by the media to denote such conservatives.
This phrase diminishes our understanding of politics. It also is arrogant on the part of social conservatives and insulting to everyone else because it implies that only social conservatives vote to advance their values and everyone else votes to . . . well, it is unclear what they supposedly think they are doing with their ballots.
I am sick of being told I don't have values or don't have morals because I believe all people are equal and should have the same rights and freedoms as others. I vote with my conscience, too. I find it odd that George Will should be the one to point this out.
It's interesting that he should make this point right now as the religious left is making a comeback, according to a WaPo article:
Religious liberals say their faith compels them to emphasize such issues as poverty, affordable health care and global warming. Disillusionment with the war in Iraq and opposition to Bush administration policies on secret prisons and torture have also fueled the movement.
Recently, there has been an increase in books and Web sites by religious liberals, national and regional conferences, church-based discussion groups, and new faith-oriented political organizations. "Organizationally speaking, strategically speaking, the religious left is now in the strongest position it's been in since the Vietnam era," said Clemson University political scientist Laura R. Olson.
I'm glad to see a rise, any rise, in activism by the left, and this one is long overdue. The Republicans put in a such a strong claim on "faith" and "values" that it seemed anyone with any actual values was afraid to speak up. Progressives with faith have been there all along, just not as well organized and galvanized as the right.
The article brings up the question of whether the progressive faithful are increasing in number or just becoming more organized and vocal. I personally don't think it matters (from a political standpoint) which is true. As the Republican poll numbers tank and the country continues to swing away from the ultra-cons, the left is getting more bold and willing to reclaim the spotlight. This is one more sign of that, and a hopeful one.
(cross-posted at the Blanton's and Ashton's)