Monday, November 24, 2008

In Defense of a Word - A Turn Left Thesis Statement

In the '90s, it was the time of the Clintons, and a period of robust love for American centrism. Conservative talk radio blew hot, ideological gas into cars throughout the country, Gingrich and his Republican legions had freshly stomped the old Democratic machine in the House, and everything seemed new yet old. It was a time of change in which. . . nothing really changed.

And during that time, a debate was spawned by the prominent bloviators. The right took aim at the word "liberal" and framed it as a modern-day curse word. The corrosion continued through the Clinton years and worsened under Bush.

Today, very few high-profile political figures dare associate themselves with this word. It takes a rare bird among Demorats - a Wesley Clark, Ted Kennedy, Al Franken or Robert Wexler - to stand up and claim the word and all it represents.

Everyone else hides behind euphemisms. They become "progressives," or they get caught up in partisan games and call themselves "moderate Democrats." And the open liberals - the ideological roots from which progressive movements grow - are left at the fringe of the party, to breathe fire from the sidelines while the supposed moderates do all the work.

The mission of this blog is to declare this condition of our political dialogue unacceptable.

This period of phony moderation and wishy-washy centrism must end, and liberals must no longer shy away from their ideas and values. This means being unashamed of our own open-mindedness. It means being willing to understand that taxes, in the right hands, can be an investment into our own well-being. It means being unafraid to fight for rationality and science in the face of a dogmatic government. It means finding room to welcome the vocabulary of our movement, accepting the fact that we are liberals, and that is something to be proud of.

This blog is made up of individuals, all of whom can be called liberals, many of whom have a long history of arguing for the cause. Most of us are Democrats, but we count among us some who are not. Most of us are not religious, but since our values and spirituality can coexist, we count among us a man of deep personal faith. We work in this troubled economy, unionized and not, public and private, young and old, financially comfortable and feeling the strain of our recession.

So welcome to our place. Sometimes we disagree with each other, but in the end we are all lovers of peace, intelligent government, the betterment of humankind and tolerant policy. We hope that you might join in on the conversation.


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