Friday, July 30, 2004

Who is a liberal?

Well, me, for one ... as Strawberry likes to remind MaplewoodOnline readers. I'm proud to be classed with the movement that gave us Social Security, Medicare, the 5-day 40-hour workweek, universal suufrage, universal education, and many other things Americans now take for granted. For the last 30 years there's been a spectacularly successful effort by the right to stigmatize the word "liberal," to the point where few people are willing to define themselves this way even when their positions can't be described as anything BUT liberal.

As they demonstrated at the DNC this week, the mainstream Democratic Party is not yet ready to resurrect and reclaim "liberal." Howard Dean, one of the more liberal mainstream Dems, describes himself only as a member of the "Democratic Wing" of the Democratic Party. Others now eschew "liberal" for the less resonant "progressive." It was really noticeable (to me, anyway) that the single most visibly liberal member of the Senate, Wisconsin's Russ Feingold, the only Senator to vote against the constitutionally dubious PATRIOT Act, was neither seen nor heard at the DNC.

There are some signs that that the tide may be turning. New Jersey's own Jon Corzine ran for the Senate, and won, while claiming the liberal heritage.
"You can call me liberal," Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) said yesterday. "I define it as reaching out to make sure that everyone has access to the American Dream, no matter what color, economic status or background. I reject how it's been defined by Republicans."

Corzine ran for Senate in 2000 as one of the nation's most aggressive liberals. He advocated universal health care, college scholarships for any student with a B average, and abolition of the death penalty.

I'm proud to be a liberal - what the White House calls "The Coalition of the Wild-Eyed." We're the ones still standing up for what we were taught in school was "The American Way," and if Strawberry, Craig Calder, or anyone else doesn't like it, they can kiss my butt.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?