So, it seems liberal is a dirty word
I mean, this is nothing new, but in a city like Portland, with more than it’s share of very left, very vocal residents, sitting smack in the middle of the virtual heartland, it never seems to be old news either.
And, specifically, what IS new, at least to me, is this growing sense of shame, a seeming discomfort among those who possess many of these liberal ideals, with the word, the crowd, the group, the identity. This need to degrade and deride to separate oneself out from the occasionally insane or inane within the group. To define the freaks and point the finger wherever one may, in order to defend their own “well thought out” beliefs.
Sure, I understand that there can be a tendency for no-think group-think ideology in place of actual ideas among the far left (much like the far right) I understand there is a level of elitism rooted in idealism that renders pragmatism obsolete in any “extreme” faction and can ostracize those wishing to compromise or even understand.
This can be alienating. And it’s an issue. It’s something worth finding frustrating as it can stand in the way of the unity necessary for real change.
However, this tendency towards derision and shame of our politically active liberal counterparts is getting kind of offensive and old, to me.
I’ll say it: I am a liberal. I might even be very very left. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, government regulated healthcare, taxation for education, a reduced military budget, civil rights (gay and otherwise), strong environmental regulations, an end to the death penalty in it’s current incarnation. I believe in the legalization of most (not all) substances and taxation on these drugs for treatment programs, and realistic and evidence based regulations on all drugs, illicit and otherwise. I think the government should stay the hell out of my bedroom and find ways to make my streets safer, my education more affordable and my healthcare a right and not a privilege. And I am pretty comfortable and committed to these ideas, though open to new evidence and compromise apt to make the and result of a more productive, happy and healthy society and land more feasible.
That being said: sure I cringe occasionally when a crazy leftist busts out with something insensitive or bizarre while standing on a street corner, especially if they happen to be voicing an idea I agree with under all the rhetoric. But I am making a special effort to not apologize for them, not feel shame or aggression towards anyone showing an interest. I might go up and suggest a more universal means to convey a goal that is possibly universal.
More importantly, I will not apologize for Portland, or any other politically active liberal society. Not to my more conservative friends and relatives, not to my cynical or apathetic hipster friends. To be honest, I am a bit relieved, proud even to witness people giving a damn at all. They are communicating with the outside world, and even if the outside world thinks they are freaks, they should know they are there. I was more disturbed to live in Santa Barbara is all it’s dignified apathy. I’d rather have parades of people shouting their opinions in the street from both sides (barring some hate/violence based organizations) than live in a city governed by silence.