Growing up in a household with a father raised in Murray and a “Goldwater” conservative, I understood the term conservative to mean: support for the American farmer but for “survival of the fittest,” support for the American home but not for a working mother, support for labor but not for labor’s rights, favoring a minimum wage, but the smaller the better, support for educational opportunity but not additional money for teachers or schools, support for health care for people who could afford it.

I also heard many say that public power, social security, price supports, bank deposit insurance, labor unions, long term debt, selling bonds to build libraries, and farm subsidies was socialism (liberal).  

But former President Harry Truman may have said it best: “Republicans (conservatives) will try to make people believe that everything the Government has done for the country is socialism (liberal) … the social security check, the flood control dam, the new hospital, price supports for farmers, minimum wage laws …and the only way out of this sinkhole is to vote for the Republican (conservative) ticket.”

I think most will agree that both conservatives and liberals want a society where anybody can succeed to the best of their abilities and are not blocked by unconstitutional discrimination of various kinds.

Both liberals and conservatives want the least among us to be better off, want people to be accountable for their actions, want justice and fairness and want families to be the center of our society.

But perhaps the following story may illustrate the main difference between a liberal and conservative view in approaches to life.

A rescue truck goes by a man’s house amid a terrible storm telling everyone to evacuate because a flood is rapidly approaching. The man refuses to leave. The water rises quickly and a National Guard Humvee drives by encouraging the man to jump in and evacuate. The man once again refuses to evacuate.

The water continues to rise forcing the man to his second floor. A boat comes by and they offer yet another opportunity to evacuate. The man once again refuses. He is forced onto his roof. A helicopter sees him and flies over dropping a ladder. The man waves them off.

The water continues to rise and the man drowns.

At the Pearly Gates, the man is angry, and he admonishes St. Peter. “I have always been faithful – how could He have abandoned me? St. Peter looks at him sadly. “Abandoned you? He sent you a warning, a Humvee, a boat and a helicopter and you refused them all!”

The moral of the story goes something like this: human organizations –including government – have been created in order to accomplish the task of making our communities a better place.

Like Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address, “that this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

So, I am glad to report that a “conservative” group has joined a cause that both liberals and conservatives can agree on.

An anonymous group has emerged to “fight” the spiteful Larry Elkins-appointed Calloway County Public Library Board, which has ignored the Calloway Community’s wishes.

The group call themselves “Calloway County Conservatives for Fiscal Responsibility.” They support the following:

1) Borrowing money to build a modern comprehensive library is a smart long-term investment. (See Martin, Tennessee Library and City Hall)

2) The refusal to borrow money for infrastructure is not smart policy with current low interest rates.

3) TWO facilities double the long-term costs. (Common sense)

4) Women should be treated as equal partners and the absence of women on the board does not reflect the make-up of Calloway County with about 52% women.

I would respectfully substitute “community” for “conservative” since most of us can agree with the advocacy group. Liberals and conservatives agree!

Our library champions, promotes, and reflects democratic values.

Our library board should reflect our community demographics and values.

The magistrates and judge-executive should model government of, by, and for the people of Calloway County that will rehabilitate our reputation.

Let’s rid ourselves of 19th century labels!

Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times. Marshall Ward is a Murray resident who is a member of the Democratic Party. He may be reached at josephmarshallward@gmail.com.

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