Last week, I stood on the 81st floor deck of the Empire State Building watching a morning snowstorm blanket New York City when a voice behind me snarked “beautiful city, too bad the liberals ruined it.” It reminded me of the last Halloween when I was in a Haunted House maze in rural Georgia, bumping into a wall in darkness and someone spat behind my shoulder “this place is set up like the Obamacare website”. That reminded me of last summer when I was in Washington D.C. with my wife and three daughters visiting the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and a middle-aged woman remarked “it’s his fault why everyone has their hand out these days”. I wasn’t sure if she was talking about me or the 32nd President, whose New Deal helped the country deal with the Great Depression. But, I took it as a compliment because like FDR, I’m a liberal.
Being a writer, I’ve shoehorned my better instincts into a pledge to enjoy the medias that are social; the Facebook, The Twitter, and Google+, because I advertise my books, blogs (this one and the other one I tri-operate www.leftypop.com) to family, friends and followers. I do so without shame because who needs that that when you’re on the internet. I try to not complain too much about discourse, political or otherwise, online. For every ten like-minded, smart, funny, interesting connectors, there will be one hundred trolling knuckleheads. It makes art fun. Not really. But it’s a lie I tell myself so when my $5 amazon and lulu royalty payments appear in my bank account I can justify going through these motions as a tortured soul for the sake of being what I always wanted to be, a writer.
It’s offline that really blows.
I live in a very conservative place, politically and culturally; suburban Atlanta, Georgia. It’s nice to look at. The dogwoods are blooming, the kudzu is awakening, and little league teams have started in the numerous parks around my house. The schools are good, here. But the way people talk to and about each other politically and culturally is getting worse. For the first time in my life, I’m sick of being too punk rock for the room.
This morning, I got up, showered, then helped get my 9-year-old daughter get ready for school. We playfully argued about her dressing too light for the rainy day. We analyzed a rerun of Victorious. Then we got in the car, drove less than a mile and dropped her off at third grade. I don’t think I screwed up society during any of this, despite what the guy in line at the convenience store said about me to his friend while I pumped my gas.
“Stupid President is letting Russia invade Ukraine. The liberals are going to get us in another war.”
I should’ve been impressed he knew about current events and got the name of the country correct but I wanted to tell him the last two wars were conservative creations. But my handle clicked then I dropped my gas card then I just got tired.
John Kennedy, another liberal President I admire, once said.
“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”
I agree with the guy who slept with Marilyn Monroe. That’s what I am, a liberal, not a philanderer.
As my conservative friends tell me they aren’t anti-gay but pro definition of marriage as a man and woman for religious reasons, I resist the urge to get anthropologically indignant with them, pointing out the original Aramaic the Bible was written in, was likely misinterpreted when it was printed into Greek and later English thus the gay is sin stuff may be wrong. But I draw the line at “religious freedom” bills recently vetoed in Arizona and Kansas and one sitting in the Georgia legislature. They’re Trojan horses containing everything the worst of in society, bigots, believe about same-sex and non-white Christian relationships. I’ve had it with wanting to go back to pre-1954 living and using my religion, Christianity, as cover to do so. This is why I’m a liberal.
I pray a lot. I make sure my kids are fed, dressed, educated, and don’t rob liquor stores before breakfast. My key worked when I left the house this morning so my wife seems good with me. I’ve never voted against anyone’s lifestyle or their right to make choices with their own body or their own families. So the next time you use the word liberal in a derogatory fashion; out of fear, ignorance, frustration or all three. just remember, you know what a liberal looks like. You’re reading one, now.
I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way next month.
The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com