Image: Erin Schell
There are many differences between liberal and conservative belief systems, but one of them serves as foundation to all the others: for liberals, the focus is on how best to improve the lives of others, and for conservatives the focus is on how to ensure that Americans are able to acquire and hold on to wealth.1
Expanding on this, liberals believe in improving the lives of everyone, i.e., improving the lives of other people. Importantly, they believe this is accomplished by having those with plenty help those who are without. We all contribute, and those who can contribute more should do so because it’s the right thing to do. It’s a belief in shared responsibility.
For conservatives the primary goal is not improvement of the lives of others (although this is not absent from their minds); it is instead the protection of [their] assets from others (government, underachievers, etc.), and the creation of an environment whereby more assets can be attained. A better job, a higher salary, more wealth, etc. Their focus, in other words, is on fostering the ability for Americans to acquire, and hold on to, the things they have earned.
Think about the difference between these two core motivations, and ask yourself honestly which is more important to encourage in America in 2012. Ask what your moral mentor would say. What does your conscience tell you? What would Jesus say? I don’t see how any moral person (which I believe most conservatives absolutely are) could conclude that protecting wealth from an expanding government is more important than helping those in need.
And this is why I am liberal. I am liberal because people are suffering. I am liberal because compassion for others, and the willingness to sacrifice in order to help them is what is needed as the first priority. And for anyone to place the protection of wealth, or the limitation of government, above that goal to me is indefensible.
So, to my conservative friends, and the millions of other conservatives who I know are kind and just people, I ask you not to abandon your beliefs but to consider re-prioritizing them. I’ll be there with you as you continue to fight for less waste in government, and for the encouragement of self-sufficiency, but don’t forget the highest moral calling possible: being willing to do with less so that those who have nothing can have something.
 And let us not come with talk of charitable donations. Many conservatives give to charity as an apathy authorization payment. The question is not on whether you give money; the question is whether you empathize with the people on the street day to day who are suffering. If you don’t, you suffer from the problem described above–regardless of how much you may give in the sterile world of charitable donations.