To the editor:

I did not have a strong opinion about the Charter School ballot initiative. However, I was extremely offended at the highly biased and leading way the ballot question was pre-ambled. It could have been no more biased had it started, “Shall the Constitution be amended to take control of charter schools away from local school boards and turn it over to the governor and however many layers of government bureaucracy he wants to add?”

The question had nothing whatsoever to do with parents being in control of their children, as a recent letter to the editor implied. [Reporter Newspapers Nov. 2-Nov. 15.]

I’m writing, however, not about that so much, but to correct the writer’s equally biased definitions of “liberal” and “Republican” in that same letter. Plus, I think I should have the opportunity to prove that I can write a letter at least as biased, as well as more accurate, than his.

The dictionary defines a “liberal” as one who is open-minded and generous; an advocate of individual freedom and rights. Nowhere in Webster’s did I find “freedom” under the listings for “conservative,” rather it is one who has a tendency to prefer an existing situation to change.

Republicans feign belief in the power of individual rights, while their party works to: restrict the rights of individuals to choose whom they marry, impose governmental restrictions on the decisions of a woman and her doctor, force unwanted medical procedures on some women and deny choice of others, approve governmental eavesdropping on individual citizens, and particularly in Georgia, has attempted to impose rightwing religious ideology on public school students. In addition, Republican legislatures across the country have done all they can to disenfranchise as many minority and low-income voters as possible. This is hardly a party that supports individual freedom.

It is in fact liberals who stand for the freedom of individuals. Liberals believe that only people are people. Conservatives and leading Republicans believe that corporations are people. Liberals believe that parents should have the right to teach their own children as much misinformation about evolution, sex, herbal remedies and other people’s religion as they want. Liberals do not believe government or school boards should be able to force educators to convey these inaccuracies to students in public schools.

Liberals believe individuals have the right to listen to the leading questions and lop-sided opinions of the blonde bimbos on Fox News, or to choose to learn about issues from the mature, highly educated, sane debaters and competent reporting of PBS.

Republicans believe that corporations should have the right to pollute freely especially if curbing their pollution cuts into profits. Democrats believe that regulating certain corporate activities so that individuals have the freedom to breathe clean air, drink mercury-free water, eat salmonella-free peanut butter and ensure a safe environment for children to grow and workers to do their jobs, even if it takes paying taxes for enforcement to keep these freedoms.

Republicans believe in corporate welfare; Democrats believe in providing food for hungry children, education for hungry minds, and care for those who are sick and unable to care for themselves. Republicans believe in the right to carry a gun; Democrats believe in the freedom to walk in the public square without being shot…or having to shoot back.

Republicans want voters to show ID; Democrats want gun buyers to show ID. Republicans believe insurance companies should govern healthcare and that only those who can afford to get sick should be treated; Democrats believe healthcare is a vital part of the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness rather than a commodity to be granted to the highest bidder.

If I might borrow and slightly amend a phrase from the recent letter: We liberals believe in the power of individual freedom, and must resist attempts by Republicans to give over our freedoms to corporations, Wall Street and plutocratic ideas.

In the interest of providing a balanced view,

Susan Andre