Friday, February 10, 2006
The "L" Word ... And Not Lesbian
From "The West Wing" ... the infamous debate:
No. Of course you didn’t say it. You’re not an unthinking liberal. Are you?
The audience laughs and applauds.
I know you like to use that word ‘liberal’ as if it were a crime.
No. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have used that word. I know Democrats think liberal is a bad word. So bad you had to change it. What do you call yourselves now, progressives? Is that it?
It’s true. Republicans have tried to turn liberal into a bad word. Well, liberals ended slavery in this country.
A Republican President ended slavery.
Yes, a liberal Republican, Senator. What happened to them? They got run out of your party. What did liberals do that was so offensive to the liberal party? I’ll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things – every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.
Liberal. The way some people say it, it could be equated to "Communist" before the fall of the Soviet Union. The problem with the word liberal is that myself and anyone who considers themself a liberal has let the word become a four-letter word. You see, we didn't stand and proclaim proudly that "Yes, I am a liberal".
Instead, we've taken a back seat to corporate interests and right wing blowhards. These asswipes have done one thing that is so counterintuitive to a democracy, it's amazing that Americans haven't woken up to the reality: They've made questioning the goverment tantamount to being unpatriotic or un-American.
The irony is that these fucks don't even realize how far away from Democracy they've strayed. These fucks will equate compliance with patriotism. They will equate exercising the very rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights with anti-Americanism. Again, our fault; we let them do this. We didn't think anyone would take it seriously. We figured the American people would be smart enough to see through the smokescreen .... we gave the people too much credit. We didn't press the issue when it came up. Only now that Bush has all but said that your Constitutional rights don't mean shit to him does the public now start to raise hell.
It's time people. It's time to take back the word liberal. It's time to start wearing that tag and wearing it proudly. I'll tell you what liberal means and what it doesn't mean:
Liberal doesn't mean more handouts and coddling those who don't want to work. It means giving people temporary assistance as welfare was intended to be ... a temporary fix for those who are able to work. As Obama said in his now famous speech "...the people I meet in small towns and big cities and diners and office parks, they don't expect government to solves all of their problems. They know they have to work hard to get a head. And they want to."
Liberal doesn't mean not supporting our troops in time of war. It means bringing home our boys fighting a war that is reminiscent of Vietnam. The fucking asshole in the White House forgot you can't win the hearts and minds of a people at the end of a rifle. If you want to support the troops, quit fucking buying those shitty yellow ribbons at Wal-Mart which are made in China, you fucking simpleton. If you really want to support the troops, quit hauling around in your monster SUV and use that extra gas money to send the troops things they need like flak jackets because that jackfuck you elected didn't seem to think those sorts of things were important in a war.
Liberal doesn't mean we're agains God and religion. What a liberal knows is that once you allow the Ten Commandments to go up in a public building, you also will have to allow a Torah, a Koran, the teachings of the Buddha and Confucious, and it goes on and on. We know that prayer in schools is not the answer because what happens to the child who isn't Christian? What about his rights? His parents pay taxes just like every Evangelical fuck who screams that his rights are being trampled.
Liberal doesn't mean we're against big business. Liberals remember all too well what the GOP has forgotten. When big business and government get into bed together, you're creating a situation as we had at the turn of the century where Teddy Roosevelt, a fucking Republican for God's sake, had to bust up trusts that were getting too powerful.
Liberal doesn't mean a weaker America. We know that when we aren't willing to extend the protections of our system of justice to all, whether they deserve it or not, we are showing the world that even we don't believe in our system of justice. And you know I certainly believe in it.
Liberal doesn't mean we're afraid of debate as Fox Propaganda and Rush Limbaugh would have you believe. We just know that because you yell louder, it doesn't mean that you're correct. And we'll argue with facts, not with lies and assumptions. Even notice Al Franken doesn't get invited to The O'Lying Factor or on Rush's show or even on Fox News anymore?
Liberal doesn't mean we're against the family. We recognize that people are different and that a family isn't just a mom and dad. As long as a child is loved and cared for, who can really be against that?
Liberal doesn't mean we support every extreme environmental cause. We are smart enough to realize that global warming is real and that we need to preserve our natural resources. Just because there is an endangered species that lives in a limited area, we don't know the long term affects of its extinction.
So if you've got your own ideas of what it means to be a liberal, comment away.