Have you ever been out at a bar or concert with a friend who’s acting the ass? You wish he would shut the hell up, because he’s had one too many drinks and you just know a fight’s gonna break out eventually.
And finally, a fight does break out, where you kind of have to take your buddy’s side because he’s your buddy, even though you’re secretly rolling your eyes about all the dumb crap he just said?
Or, let’s say you’re hearing your girlfriend talk for the millionth time about the same argument she keeps having with her boyfriend. You’re secretly thinking this guy might have a point, but you’re reluctant to say so to your friend, just in case she thinks you’re a backstabbing bitch-face who has probably secretly been in love with her boyfriend all along?
Yeah? Well, that’s how I’ve been feeling about some of my liberal friends lately.
Guys, we need to talk.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a hardcore liberal, through and through. I firmly believe we have the right idea about most of the issues we’re debating in America today, but I think we’ve been going about them the wrong way.
And sometimes, it’s flat-out embarrassing. I secretly cringe when I hear the stuff coming out of some mouths.
I didn’t want to say anything in public, because I’m still on your team and don’t want to embarrass you guys in front of everyone.
But I’m hoping this will be a safe place to clear the air.
- You guys need to get in a better mood
As I left the house with my cousin yesterday, we came across a bearded guy walking his Alaskan Husky. “How are you ladies doing, this fine morning?” he asked us.
“Doing well,” I replied, “And you?”
“Fantastic,” he said, before walking away, “Because we are living in a damn paradise!”
I didn’t ask him to be sure, but I’d bet my left arm that this guy is a Conservative.
Sure, the baseball cap and camouflage pants might have tipped me off, but the kicker was his extreme optimism.
We laugh at the right for always posting memes about how the USA is the greatest place in the world, how “our way of life” is top-notch, and their general faith in the iron-clad infallibility of ‘Murica.
I get why that’s a naive, potentially dangerous, attitude. It’s tough to pass progressive reforms when any criticism of the status quo is met with a knee-jerk “love it or leave it” attitude.
But on the other hand, we liberals often seem to do nothing but complain about everything, day after day.
We think we live in a world where everyone’s either a soul-sucking corporate overlord slave master, a ignorant victim of Stockholm Syndrome, or an enraged activist. We are the Eeyores of America’s Pooh Corner.
Look, I don’t believe everything about America makes it the best country in the world, but I don’t think it’s the worst place, either.
We could really stand to occasionally act happy about something. No one likes the kind of person who’s perpetually gloomy, considering any hint of cheerfulness as proof of stupidity.
- We need to stop making everyone feel bad about everything
Liberals are the self-appointed missionaries at a banquet who won’t quit talking about starving kids in Africa.
We’re the environmental nerds at a wild party lecturing everyone about recycling their beer bottles into the proper containers.
We never have any fun. We’re always “on.”
And we love making everyone feel like a moral failure for every decision they make.
You eat meat? Shame on you for contributing to animal suffering. Okay, so you’re a vegetarian? You still fall beneath the moral superiority of vegans, who aren’t stealing milk and eggs from innocent cows and chickens.
Is that handbag made of environmentally-sustainable materials? Does holding it somehow contribute to a traditional stereotypes? When you finally dispose of it, how long will it sit in crowded public landfills, waiting to biodegrade?
Even your sympathy becomes proof of a diseased soul. You felt bad for the French after the Paris attacks? Shame on you for your Eurocentrism, since there wasn’t this big an outcry after the attacks in Beirut.
You’re never good enough, pure enough, or self-sacrificing enough to satisfy an extremist liberal.
For that, you have to be an ever-crapped-upon underdog, never a member of the mainstream.
Any kind of success makes you automatically suspect, which is a rough worldview to maintain in this Darwinian universe.
And sometimes we have a rough time figuring out who the underdogs even are.
Take shopping at Walmart, for example. Walmart is a heinous company that screws over employees, capitalizes on child labor, and steamrolls local businesses like lawnmowers squishing gophers at an upscale golf course.
So yeah, I’d love it if American consumers would stop handing Walmart their hard-earned paychecks.
But you know what? There are enormous class divides in America today. As the wealthy 1% sucks up the majority of our resources, many American families are left struggling with outrageous working hours and pitifully low wages.
These Americans can’t afford to always make politically correct consumer choices. They are bending over backwards to keep their children fed, the lights on, and a roof over their heads.
So when you sneer at them for shopping at places like Walmart, you’re kinda being a giant asshole.
People are doing what they can, and it’s the system that needs to change. We need to quit making everyone feel horrible about the little pleasures they take in this challenging modern world.
- We need to stop being so pretentious about food
I’m a big fan of the organic food movement and would love to see many reforms in agriculture and food production in this country.
That being said, the way many liberals think we should eat is flat out of economic reach for most Americans.
As we tsk-tsk our brethren about obesity while bragging about going to Whole Foods and organic farmer’s markets, we forget that many families are struggling to keep their children fed at all.
A friend of mine just had a fight with her family after bringing organic apples over to their house while visiting. They already had apples.
But they weren’t organic, and this friend was frustrated by her family’s absolute refusal to spend more for a pesticide-free product.
Look, you eat however you want to when you’re at home, but refusing to partake in the bounty that people are offering to share with you, when you’re a guest in their home, is hurtful.
Bringing in “better” apples tells people that their apples aren’t good enough for you. You really think a single inorganic apple is going to kill you?
Rudeness will always tell people more about your class level than your refined food palate ever could.
- We need to lay off Christianity
Along the same lines of rooting for the underdog, liberals have been staunchly defending Muslims for years, while blaming everything terrible that’s ever happened on Christianity.
This isn’t logically consistent. It doesn’t make any sense to run around demanding that people not hold religion against someone, as long as it’s Islam or a less-mainstream belief system, but then talk about how Christianity is the root of all evil.
We really should be calming down about Christianity altogether.
I get it, we don’t want this place to turn into a theocracy. We don’t want our constitutional rights to be curtailed by religious extremists who want to apply their God’s vision of utopia to everyone else’s private lives.
And I agree with that, but we don’t need to freak out whenever someone says “Merry Christmas.” As long as it’s okay to also say “Happy Hanukkah” or “Blessed be.”
I’m not particularly religious myself, but I still celebrate Christmas with a bang. Because it’s fun, and it’s part of our cultural heritage.
Plus, we need to be careful about eradicating any form of spirituality from our value system. When I was little, for example, hardly any businesses were open on Thanksgiving or Christmas, and now, a ridiculous amount of people have to work.
The only reason we have weekends is because originally, we respected people’s need to worship on Sunday.
I’d love to believe we inherently care enough about families and our quality of life to have values beyond maximizing corporate capital, even in the absence of religion, but I’m not so sure.
Besides, we’re chucking Christians into the Rightwing with both hands.
There’s no reason Christians couldn’t be a solid part of our team, depending on how you interpret scripture.
Liberals want more parental leave, more family time in general, and stuff like national health care. We could be talking about how these things would benefit the family and how Jesus loved to cure the sick and feed the hungry.
We could be talking about turning the other cheek or why only those without sin should be casting stones.
Instead, we’re making fun of Christians, calling them stupid because they believe in a higher power. I don’t think they’re the stupid ones.
The Republicans have the Christians convinced that they are the only ones offering respect. The religious set has been convinced they’ll go to hell if they don’t support the Right, and there’s a LOT of Christians in this country.
And we’re doing a terrible job recruiting them.
- We have got to stop crucifying Republicans for being pro-life “even” in the case of rape or incest
The great issue here is when life begins, whether or not abortion constitutes murder, yes?
Pro-life advocates believe it begins at conception, whereas pro-choice advocates believe it happens later, once consciousness sets in.
The morality of abortion, therefore, should rest on whether or not a life is being “murdered.”
It should NOT have anything to do with the actions of the mother, her level of responsibility for the pregnancy.
Because if abortion IS murder, then terminating the pregnancy because the mother wasn’t responsible for it should be viewed the same way as shooting a baby that happened to show up on your doorstep.
By bringing rape and incest into the argument, we’re effectively agreeing that abortion rights should be determined by the mom’s level of promiscuity. We’re saying it’s more okay for a “chaste” woman to murder children.
And that is ridiculous. We need to focus, people.
- We need to quit pretending men and women are exactly the same
Look, I get it. I’m a woman and I get just as fired up as anyone else about being told I’m naturally passive, weak, and bad at math.
And I also know these things are not true.
I understand why we’re afraid to admit we aren’t exactly the same: separate-but-equal rarely ends up being equal. If feels like such short step from admitting there are any differences at all to being told “women should never be president, because PMS.”
The problem is, the no-gender-difference premise is incredibly fragile.
If one person can prove any difference at all, no matter how insignificant, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.
The thing will blow up in our faces: we’ll hear all about the wisdom of yore and how men and woman are fundamentally different animals, meant for completely diametrically-opposed roles and inconsistent standards of judgment.
Any request for pregnancy accommodation becomes an unfair request for “special entitlements” made by people who claim we should be treated the same.
I think instead of denying the reality of different tendencies, we need to become part of the conversation so things don’t get this out of hand.
We can recognize differences, but point out how they don’t apply to everyone and aren’t necessarily as critical as everyone believes.
Men tend to be taller, for example, but that doesn’t mean every man is taller than every woman. So, women shouldn’t all be issued shorter pants.
Sigh… okay guys, that felt good. I’ve been carrying some of this stuff around a while, and am happy we got to open up this dialogue.
I’m hoping we can keep the lines of communication open from now on.
A Concerned Liberal