Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The L Word


I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, in the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas. It is, I believe, the faith in our fellow citizens as individuals and as people that lies at the heart of the liberal faith. For liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man's ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves.

I believe also in the United States of America, in the promise that it contains and has contained throughout our history of producing a society so abundant and creative and so free and responsible that it cannot only fulfill the aspirations of its citizens, but serve equally well as a beacon for all mankind. I do not believe in a superstate. I see no magic in tax dollars which are sent to Washington and then returned. I abhor the waste and incompetence of large-scale federal bureaucracies in this administration as well as in others. I do not favor state compulsion when voluntary individual effort can do the job and do it well. But I believe in a government which acts, which exercises its full powers and full responsibilities. Government is an art and a precious obligation; and when it has a job to do, I believe it should do it. And this requires not only great ends but that we propose concrete means of achieving them.

Our responsibility is not discharged by announcement of virtuous ends. Our responsibility is to achieve these objectives with social invention, with political skill, and executive vigor. I believe for these reasons that liberalism is our best and only hope in the world today. For the liberal society is a free society, and it is at the same time and for that reason a strong society. Its strength is drawn from the will of free people committed to great ends and peacefully striving to meet them. Only liberalism, in short, can repair our national power, restore our national purpose, and liberate our national energies. And the only basic issue in the 1960 campaign is whether our government will fall in a conservative rut and die there, or whether we will move ahead in the liberal spirit of daring, of breaking new ground, of doing in our generation what Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and Adlai Stevenson did in their time of influence and responsibility.

There's not a national politician in the Democratic party that will self-identify as a "Liberal". The Republicans are the masters of messaging, and they've destroyed the word. Meanwhile, they've associated "Conservative" with apple pie, nationalism, the military, families, Jebus, and babies. Unless you make over a million a year, the messaging is the only reason why a person identifies as "Conservative".

If you poll strictly on the issues alone, the vast majority of Americans are Liberals. They just don't want to own that label.

And that, more than anything, is why this nation is so fucked right now. That's why Republican candidates even stand a chance in elections. If not for the slander of the word "Liberal", the Republicans would be a small and irrelevant minority. They've used the one core ability that they have, defined the terms, won some elections, then did everything they could to destroy the middle class and further enrich the wealthy.


And really.. it's like the butterfly effect. Had it not been for that messaging, George Bush would never have beaten Al Gore (not that he really did beat Gore). The invasion of Iraq would not have happened.. and hundreds of thousands of innocent people that were killed in the war would be alive today.

JFK was right. Liberalism is the only chance that this nation has, but it's never going to happen. Obama has seen to that. What we're going to get is a slide into mediocrity. It's not so bad though. It's not like the world needs "super powers" anymore.


I still find it odd that for most people in this country, "success" involves holding a job that they spend some 40 hours a week at.. for 40+ years.... working for somebody else. That's really not success. That's slavery - with 2 weeks of vacation a year.

I've done that kind of job before. I don't think I could do it again. Once upon a time, I got up at 6:30 in the morning.. got cleaned up and dressed.. drove to work, and was at my cube by 8:00am. I did that 5 days out of 7.

I know John couldn't go back to that life, unless it paid some ridiculous amount of money.

And to think.. the people who do that are considered the lucky ones. There are millions of Americans who want to enlist in that slavery. There are millions of people around the world that dream of coming to America to be a slave.

It's a very strange world.

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