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Here's a Thought: Let the Liberals Do It.
It's nothing new for us. We've been doing it all along.
This is a piece I published two years ago. In the two years since I wrote this, I see some signs of light, but the fight goes on. We’ve lost Roe v Wade, we’ve watched as the majority in the Supreme Court have corrupted our judicial system, and we see that Donald Trump, as of this writing under indictment more than once, is still walking free, still holding rallies, still the MAGA leader who could well be Joe Biden’s opponent in the next presidential race.
Not to mention climate change, worker equity, health care, education, and voter rights. We’re still working on them. Two steps backward for every step forward.
Politics is a fact of life, as well as the backbone of any country, any state, any city, any burg. We can’t hide from it and hope it’ll all work out. It won’t. Not without millions of us working toward the democratic principles we’ve been promising ourselves for well over 200 years.
I don’t know what would motivate more Americans to come forward and work to fix this if they’re not motivated by what they see and hear every day, but I know one thing: I have to keep trying.
Because we’re worth it.
I’m a Liberal Democrat, capital L, capital D. I’ve been a Liberal Democrat my entire adult life. I’ve never been ashamed of being either one. Why would I be? We Liberal Democrats have a long history of public service in the best sense of the words. We’ve been the caretakers while the Republicans, even those who took oaths (and take paychecks) as ‘public servants’, have fought us every step of the way.
We work at being inclusive while the Republicans pride themselves on their exclusivity. While we’re trying to build a country, they’re building a club.
So here’s a radical thought: Let the Liberals do it. Give us a chance to show how it could be done.
Liberals, you like to remind us, are the classic political nerds, not good for anything but maybe wedgies or noogies. Quaint, naive little do-gooders lost in a world of ruthless cruelty without weapons adequate enough to bruise a flea.
In the 1980s, around about the time the actor Ronald Reagan, friendly Midwestern Liberal turned hard-hearted California conservative, was enshrined as The Teflon POTUS, the word went out that Liberals — those ridiculous “for the people” gadflies — were ruining the country by helping too many undeserving and impoverished leeches, by welcoming foreigners, by insisting that workers be represented by hard-nosed unions, by pushing the toxic notion that health care shouldn’t be for-profit, and by tightening, enforcing, or inventing regulations that were or would be anathema to the gold-plated entities they targeted.
It wasn’t hard to convince the many millions that health, wealth, and happiness could only come from a government without teeth, from the benevolence of ridiculously powerful corporations, and, if all else failed, from that venerable standby, Old Testament God.
All that stood in the way were those insufferable Liberals.
Liberals became such pariahs an entire bloc jumped ship and took on a new name: Progressives. (I would describe them for you here, but I admit I don’t know the difference. So far they’ve been relatively friendly. Don’t look to me to rock that boat.)
But what we Liberals are known for are hearts that gush blood whenever injustice rears its massive, ugly head. We see a bleeding heart as a badge of honor. The same with tears. We cry when things move us, and we don’t hide from our emotions. Our anger stems from compassion, our outrage roars at cruelty. We wear our hearts on our sleeves and it’s not meant as a fashion statement.
Liberals have a long history of getting things done. We pulled the entire country out of a great depression by hiring our citizens to do meaningful busy-work, by using our charitable might, by giving dignity and hope back to a country mired in poverty and hopelessness.
We built the unions and gave workers a voice. We put an end to child labor. We fought to give every adult citizen the right to vote, no matter their gender or color. We helped the poor and the elderly by creating Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Clean Air act, and the Clean Water Act. We ended a recession that nearly destroyed the middle class.
We did all that and more against the wishes — and the might — of fat cats and right wingers who sorely wanted what we’re heading for today: a country ruled by non-contributing despots whose only interests are power, greed, and self-preservation.
We are not that country and we never will be. The Trump phenomenon was an anomaly, destined as a vivid warning in our history books, a long chapter on how close we came to letting our democracy die.
We’re still a majority of the good and, thankfully, most of us aren’t ashamed to show it. It’s our time now and there’s much to do. The truth-tellers are under barrage and the liars appear to be winning. They’re out there waiting for us and they have heavy weapons.
Joe Biden is president now and he’s built a formidable cabinet. In one way or another, they’re all liberals. Will they get it right every second of every day? No. they won’t. Will we prevail in the end? Everyone knows we should. But everyone knows we’ve been fighting an uphill battle against the Republicans for decades.
And they keep winning.
Not in any honest way — that’s not their MO — but they’ve built a formidable army with thugs in both the House and the Senate, corrupt judges with life-long positions and no former experience, rules and laws that favor the wealthy and crush the poor, shady dealings with foreign dictators, and, if all else fails, voting machines spewing out questionable tallies.
We can’t afford to get it wrong this time. We are a country on the brink and this is no time to dismiss anyone working to change this mess. Do we need labels to tell us apart? Not as much as we might think. It’s enough that we’re on the same team. Not everyone on the team comes from the same background, but everyone should have the same goal. To win. We have to win. There is no other acceptable outcome.
So if your first inclination is to blame liberals for whatever happens, take a breath. Get to know an American Liberal (you could start here) and try to understand that our differences will never outweigh our combined need to rebuild a country left in tatters by a regime that worked overtime to destroy us.
Thos of us who are fighting against fascism, authoritarianism, religious intolerance, and corruption at all levels of government. It’s not hard to figure out which side we’re on. It’s the side the founders envisioned and, up to a few years ago, most of our politicians worked to ensure.
We’ll win this thing. The question is, when?
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