Monday, November 26, 2012

The term "Liberal" no longer a dirty word. Yet another reason to be thankful for President Obama.

Courtesy of The Week:

A full 25 percent of voters in this month's election identified themselves as liberals, according to exit polls, a marked increase from 22 percent in 2008. (Conservative is still a more popular identifier, with 35 percent of voters claiming that label.) Still, the "L" word is more popular than it has been since 1976. Conservatives managed to turn "liberal" into an insult in the 1980s, and when Republican icon Ronald Reagan won re-election in 1984, only 17 percent of voters confessed to being liberal. Today that number has ballooned to 25 percent. Why are a growing percentage of Americans calling themselves liberal? Here, three theories: 

1. Obama made being liberal cool again President Obama has "talked about government in a way that many Democrats haven't in recent years," forcefully making the case for a more active role for public agencies in American life, says Aaron Blake at The Washington Post. Obama "may not call himself a liberal," but that's how people see his policies. "Thus, Obama supporters are less reticent to embrace that label." 

 2. Conservatives have been unfairly tarred It's not that Americans are suddenly gung-ho about liberal politics, says Gary Bauer at Human Events. Voters are still filled with "strong skepticism about whether Obama will be able to accomplish Americans' goals." The Obama campaign simply managed to drive people away from Mitt Romney with a relentless barrage of negative ads smearing him — and, by extension, conservative politics — as "uncaring and disconnected." 

3. America really is changing "Some of the fastest-growing demographics in the country happen to be the ones that are trending toward the 'liberal' label," says Blake at The Washington Post. That includes "non-religious people (rising from 18 percent liberal in 2004 to 24 percent today), college graduates (from 48 percent to 53 percent) and Hispanics (from 10 percent to 13 percent). Young people, of course, have always been pretty liberal; the label's increasing appeal to these groups means it is gaining steam."

I think that both reason one and reason three can be given credit for the surge in liberal pride. As for reason two? I call bullshit on that, as all that was done was to bring the things the conservatives were doing behind the scenes out of the shadows. So if ANYBODY can be blamed for damaging the conservative label, it was conservatives.

You know I am actually old enough to remember when the term "liberal" became a slur directed at people on the left. I also remember that many of our most visible representatives barely put up a fight. They quickly caved under the onslaught from the Right and stopped using the term to describe themselves, essentially surrendering their very identity to a group who, for all intents and purposes, were using the elementary playground tactics of name calling to shame their opponents into submission.

Personally I never succumbed to that, and have always referred to myself as a liberal. I will use the term progressive to describe my personal philosophy, but as a term of description Liberal always seemed to fit me the best.

And I am VERY pleased to see it return to a place of honor within our political conversations.


  1. Sally in MI3:49 PM

    If Conservative actually meant Conservative, which to me means against war, and for the people, that would be me. But since they have now co-opted a God who is mean, greedy, all right with the cheaters, liars, and thieves currently running the party, they can't go down fast enough. And I am still smiling over Anonymous' smackdown of Rove in Ohio.

  2. You're old enough to remember when "liberal" became a slur? LOL! I'm old enough to remember when "liberal" was a label worn with pride, and when "conservative" was a label also worn with pride because it was the territory of thoughtful men like Barry Goldwater, like William Buckley, like Russell Kirk, and others from the '50s and '60s, most of whom believed that religion was a private matter, and so were many other things we now call "social policies," such as homosexuality, birth control, and abortion.

    I also remember when the whole conservative thing went really wrong -- the Moral Majority, started by Jerry Falwell. Both liberals and conservatives did just fine together, right up until Falwell and his ilk started shoving The One True Brand of Religion (i.e., their kind) into the mix. Suddenly, things that had formerly been the subject of fairly polite disagreement became..... sins. And other things, the things Falwell et al. supported, fell under the rubric of "God's Will."

    Not only did this wreck politics as we knew it, but it wrecked religion and/or spirituality as well, since even those of us who were believers in God discovered that we were "doing it wrong," according to these guys.

    It's gonna take a long-ass time to get back to secularity in political life.

  3. Man oh man, if we can have this two term president of color, and then maybe some women, we are set to make a quantum leap, and the world will be better for it. White men are still welcome, but they can’t be cruel taskmasters and throw “liberal” around, along with threats; I always stood up to that. And, we liberals have guns, after all (grin).

  4. Full story read "Republican Gomorrah". We dodged A really big bullet.

  5. Anonymous5:59 PM

    I am older but consider myself a liberal. Tonight was having dinner with my daughter at restaurant. Overheard some older folks talking. Fox news junkies for sure. When they said all the liberals voted for Obama to get free stuff we both almost busted out laughing. We sat there and listened to them repeat all the talking points of Hannity who beside Glenn Beck I despise the most along with the one who shall not be named.
    I found out we are all going to be locked up in FEMA camps like they did with the Jewish people and of course they are going to take our guns first. Then all the Amens etc. How people live in fear everyday over ridiculous things is beyond me. There proof is some youtube video they viewed. Yeah because if the government didn't want us to know anything they sure would allow it to be viewed on youtube. After losing more brain cells listening to them fret and moan about all the moochers who voted for our President we paid our bill and got the hell out of there.

  6. Anonymous6:33 PM

    I have always wore my liberal banner loud and proud, have never been ashamed to tell anyone and everyone, I am a VERY liberal. All of my family and friends are VERY liberal like me.

  7. Anonymous7:46 PM

    Liberal - from the Latin root meaning "free". How ridiculous that the "Freedom lovin' rill Americans" reject the term "liberal."

  8. Anita Winecooler9:28 PM

    I remember being in a Catholic grade school, having a nun ,who was certified one day older than dirt, for history class. We started each class reciting the preamble to the constitution, the pledge of allegiance, then saying a prayer which ended with "God Bless President Nixon".
    I was a "liberal" even back then, I was called "Pinko" or my favorite "You, COMMUNIST, you!". I got sent to the principle's office for wearing a "peace sign" buckle on my uniform's belt. "It's a nazi symbol, a broken cross! You HEATHEN!" She railed against Madeline Murray O'Hare and thought Anita Bryant was a moral person and pillar of society.
    Luckily, the principle knew the old battleaxe was nuts, she usually had me do office work and never called my parents nor punished me.
    I never took her seriously, but I remember "liberal" being equated with nasty stuff like bra burning and protesting in the news.

    The pendulum swung so far to the right, that liberals now look like "centrists" and the "progressives" took on the bad connotations.

  9. Anonymous4:53 AM

    I have always been proud to be a liberal and equally as proud to be a Democrat.


Don't feed the trolls!
It just goes directly to their thighs.