Change You Can’t Believe In

     We’re 2 years into the Presidency of Obama. That’s cool and all, but I thought that when we elected the nation’s FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT that things would be slightly different now. Things are pretty much the same. It’s like Bush never left office. I’m not entirely blaming the president. I know that there’s a bit to be upset about, and there are still more than a few people who think that he shouldn’t be in the office at all — but my problem, for the record, has more to do with the politics than my problem has to do with the president himself. I have a real bug up my keister when it comes to the political Left.
     Let’s be straight here, I don’t have a problem with the run-of-the-mill Joe or Jane liberal; afterall, I still call myself a Liberal. Unapologetically so. My beef, if you will, is with a smaller segment on the Left side of the political spectrum. They tend to call themselves “progressives”. I remember hearing Marilyn Manson talking about his experiences on the Ozzfest tour. He said that sometimes dealing with goth and metal fans was worse than dealing with people who weren’t into the metal scene. The problem was dogma. If you’re on the Ozzfest tour, there’s a certain aesthetic that you’re supposed to have. The music is supposed to sound like this or that… whatever set of rules had been approved by real metal fans. If you in any way deviate from that set of characteristics, you won’t get a warm welcome.
     Same goes for politics. If you say that your politics are on the Left, out come the referees with their rule books ad scorecards ready to tally your score. They have to see if your politics are in line with the pre-approved philosophy of what a Leftie is supposed to think (like). Since I like to think that I am a Liberal, I fancy the idea that I use my sense of reason to independently arrive at my own point of view. This is the way that I think that most Liberals think. This is the genesis of the problem.
See, when you come out to any group of supposed like-minded people, those people tend to get the feeling that they own you. If you’re hanging out with fellow Liberals and you don’t read Noam Chomsky, or you’re not with the save Darfur crowd, or that you’re having second thoughts about this whole global warming thing, you’re likely signing your own ideological death warrant. You probably won’t be invited to the next PDA rally. I’ve heard many Liberals say that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter have turned Lberal into a 4-letter word, but I say that the Left has done plenty of tarnishing on its own. You don’t gain too many fans to your point of view when one of your idols refers to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks as “mini Eichmanns”. It doesn’t help you if the perception of your point of view isn’t “America first”, but “blame America first”.
      Look, I’m not a vegan. I’m pro death penalty. I’m for tighter borders and I’m a capitalist. Sometimes saying these things around my fellow Liberals isn’t a good idea. To some, my well-reasoned choices are a sign that I’m not a Liberal, but a neo-con knuckledragger. But I think this is exactly what Marilyn Manson was getting at. You can come up with your own take on what you believe — you can be as big a fan of Ozzy as anyone else out there, but because you’ve decided to go your own way you don’t belong. Liberals can bitch and moan about how much Conservatives have smeared them but you can’t complain when there are more than a few of you who mantain the Americans are nothing more than greedy, fat, uncultured, Walmart-trolling idiots. Portentious fingerwagging does not gain fans. You can’t win friends and influence Republicans if the same workers of the world you’re urging to unite are the same workers you’re saying are fat and stupid and the reason why things have gone wrong in the developing world.
      I’m not saying that all Liberals are always wrong. I like Thom Hartmann, and Jim Hightower. I listen to Ed Schutz and Stephanie Miller. I think that Dennis Kuchnich and Bernie Sanders are probably the only two members of Congress who are worth a damn. I lamented when Russ Feingold was unelected, but for pete’s sakes, you gotta realize that Liberals absolutely do not have to think alike! I hear Lefties say that they’re all into tolerance and diversity until your ideas diverge from theirs. I was talking to an Amy Goodman listener some time ago, and I said that I highly suspect that Mumia is in fact guilty of murdering the police officer (for which he was sentenced to death row). You would have thought that I had confessed to personally killing Anne Frank. I tried to explain that I thought that, even if he did do it, the crime did not warrant the death penalty, but the fact that I had insinuated the possibility the Mumia had committed murder was enough to end the conversation right then and there.
     I understand that to have a particular ideology you have to have some beliefs that adhere to a certain set of principles. But I also understand that I don’t have say that I’m into Arundhati Roy or yoga and recycling to prove to someone that I am what I say that I am. Although I am kinda glad that Olbermann left MSNBC.
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