Speaking as a Liberal


In yesterday’s post about Hubert Humphrey, with a quotation from President Kennedy, I defined the word “liberal” from a liberals point of view.

I’m liberal, probably always have been, but as I said to the same friend who gave me the Kennedy quote yesterday, liberals, including myself, in many ways are the most conservative people I know. If you wanted a carefully run government, you’d not go wrong, on average, with a liberal in charge of things. We’re prudent and careful and caring.

Of course, there’s another long-time and carefully cultivated view of “liberals”.

For many years, there has been a concerted campaign to demonize the very word, ‘liberal’. It even predates Newt Gingrich’s famous 100 words which made their appearance in 1996 and have been flogged by the right wing ever since. “Liberal” joins other evil words like “unionized” and “taxes” and many other hate words on Gingrich’s list.

It is interesting to note that “conservative” does not appear on Gingrich’s good list. An oversight, perhaps?

The campaign has worked, but there are downsides to simply winning. There are costs.

A month or two ago a good friend gave me a copy of Rush Limbaugh’s magazine, in which Limbaugh (or whoever writes his stuff) took a shot at demonizing “liberals”.

I don’t have a problem sharing Limbaugh’s work, “Nailing the Left”. You can find it here: Limbaugh June 2012 Libs001

Of course, being Limbaugh, this piece of work lacks even the tiniest sense of objectivity (it is not, shall we say, “fair and balanced”.)

But it helps explain how some otherwise fine folks I know go almost hysterical when considering even the possibility that “liberals” might possibly become a governing majority.

Of course, I’ve read Limbaugh’s rant, but I read it a tiny bit differently than he intended.

Doubtless in each of the examples he uses, one can find abuse – an awful example used to exemplify the lot. I’ve seen this tactic over and over.

But on balance, each and every one of those items, and many others which Limbaugh doesn’t even mention, are good policies which have made this nation a much better place.

I don’t see in that list, for instance, Social Security. Likely a pretty fair share of Limbaugh’s loyal base, and subscribers to his newsletter, are on Social Security, and hardly would consider it a ‘liberal’ program, though it would not exist were it not for liberals. Of course, there’s a move to dismantle Social Security, but only for the next generation….

But why bother arguing? There’s no need for consistency in making arguments to people who have already made up their mind.

To paraphrase Fox News: “I report, you decide.”

I’m liberal, and proud of it.