By Seana Sperling
When did Liberal become a dirty word? I see all sorts of jabs at liberals online and even a search for “Famous Liberals.” brought up the haters. There were online articles that rallied the masses to “Boycott Liberalism,” to articles with titles such as, The Twenty Most Annoying Liberals in the U.S. Urban Dictionary had one post claiming that extreme liberals were selfish crazies that brainwash people. This was posted anonymously. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=liberal
What is a Liberal exactly? New York Times Columnist, Paul Krugman said, “I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it.” That sums it up for me too. So why are liberals and even the word under attack?
Aside from other issues, Liberal Media reports on corrupt business practices and corruption in politics. Liberals tend to be whistleblowers. Would we have had a Woodward and Bernstein working at F.O.X. News? Conservative media tends to gloss over uncomfortable truths about certain things because of their sponsors while liberal media exposes the facts.
Unfortunately when a term such as Liberal is disparaged, the folks who do not burrow into definitions will begin to disconnect themselves from the label for fear of becoming unpopular. In our attention-starved, insecure society, people fear being unpopular more than anything else. This makes it easy for the spinners, the propaganda artists.
The vilification of the word Liberal reminds me of when neo-conservative, Rush Limbaugh went after feminists. His infamous moniker for us was, Femi-nazi. Some began saying we were men-haters. As a result, some people became hesitant to call themselves Feminist (because they feared losing their popularity). Feminists don’t hate men and in fact many men consider themselves to be feminist. Do you think everyone should have equal rights? Then you are a Feminist as well as a Liberal.
I am a liberal, but I’m nobody. So, let’s take a look at the prominent liberals of the U.S. Bruce Springsteen, Michael Moore and Bill Maher are liberals. Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Keith Olbermann, Reverend Al Sharpton, President Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Al Gore are all known liberals. Many of these same people were also listed in the following article, 10 Liberals, Conservatives Love to Hate http://www.listosaur.com/politics/10-liberals-that-conservatives-love-to-hate/ Why the hatred? These are good people.
Here are some prominent conservatives: G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, the Koch Brothers, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, Scott Wilson, and Ann Coulter. Now here’s a conundrum. My guess is that these people would say they believe in equal rights for everyone. Therefore, shouldn’t they be calling themselves Liberals and Feminists? (They should, unless of course they do not, “practice what they preach.”)
There are many liberals from U.S. History as well, both Republican and Democrat. Interestingly, these historical figures are not targets of hatred. George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Jane Addams, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Florence Kelly, and Theodore Roosevelt were all liberals. So, if America is supposed to be a conservative republic and Liberal is such a dirty word, then why were the framers of the Constitution and defenders of Democracy primarily liberals?
Remember back in Junior High, when one group decided to go after someone with ridicule and slander? As a result of the ridicule, others would either pack up against the person or just shun them for fear of becoming unpopular. The same type of schoolyard behavior seems to be taking place at a grander level in this country. Some people can be manipulated into believing that liberals are evil and that the world is only 10,000 years old.
It’s all about Spin. It’s all about vilifying one thing to gain popularity for the opposite. Those who fear losing their popularity because of the label of Liberal bend to the whims of the spinners. Be careful. I hear that popularity is the gateway drug to acquiescence.