Call me a bleeding-heart liberal

When I scanned an article listing the compensation of CEOs in 2012, I noted that Gregory Boyce of Peabody Coal received $9.5 million. Even though he earned 7% less than in 2011, my reaction was indignation; I grieve for the miners who are now threatened with losing their pensions and health care after Peabody intentionally passed off their financial responsibilities to Patriot, a company doomed from the start to bankruptcy. I muttered under my breath, “I guess I’m just a bleeding-heart liberal.”

That got me to wondering about the definition of bleeding-heart liberal. characterizes a bleeding heart as “a person who makes an ostentatious or excessive display of pity or concern for others.”  Even worse was “an individual and idealist who at times espouses very reasonable, perhaps even thoughtful, political inclinations but whose lack of character and unsubstantiated smugness make any discourse they may embrace largely unpalatable to any self-respecting citizen.”  I found those descriptions unpalatable, so I searched further.

My hunt ended with a definition I can cheerfully accept.

From – Bleeding-Heart Liberal:

A person whose political view lies generally along the lines of the founding fathers, in that they believe that what unites Americans is a love of freedom, and they tend to vote that way. They prefer to allow others to believe as they like, since this is what the country is founded on, and generally resist any effort to remove rights simply because of who someone is, such as gay, or black, or poor. They believe in the ideal of ‘treating your neighbor as you would like to be treated’, believe that we all have a certain responsibility to support each other, rather than corporations, and believe that the safety and dreams of people come before the earnings of CEO’s. They believe that everyone’s point of view has something to contribute to our political discourse.

Yes!  A love of freedom  I believe in our freedoms, including the rights of women to make their own decisions regarding contraception. I believe in the freedom of religion – the right guaranteed by the First Amendment to choose a religion, or no religion, without interference from the government.

Yes!   …Allow others to believe as they like and generally resist any effort to remove rights simply because of who someone is, such as gay, or black, or poor. I support marriage equality and celebrate each new community that passes a non-discrimination ordinance.

Yes!  ..Treating your neighbor as you would like to be treated.  I believe in fairness; what is right for me should be right for everyone. I believe that a just society is one where all our children can enjoy an education in safe, healthy communities.

Yes!  …Believe that the safety and dreams of people come before the earnings of CEO’s. To see the rubble of the collapsed factory and the faces of families in Bangladesh is to be convinced that corporations disregard the safety of workers in the rush for profit. The accident and explosion of the fertilizer plant in Texas, due to indifference to employee safety, that caused loss of life and the destruction of the town of West, was the direct result of corrupt, corporate greed. I speak up for equal pay for equal work and a stand with our low income workers who demand a livable wage.

But maybe, given the current politics of the country and Missouri, the new definition of bleeding-heart liberal should be more cynical.

Bleeding-Heart Liberal:  a dreamer, someone who envisions liberty and justice for all, a person who faces repeated defeat but doesn’t accept failure, doesn’t shut up, doesn’t bow down, doesn’t stop trying and never stops caring.