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Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:51 PM

The L Word Lives Is it safe to say "liberal" again?




http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112271/word-liberal-makes-comeback#

The L Word Lives Is it safe to say "liberal" again?

BY ALAN BRINKLEY



For more than twenty years, the word “liberal” seemed to have disappeared from the political world. But President Obama’s speech appears to have revived it—even though the word did not appear in his inaugural address.

In the aftermath of his speech, "liberal" was suddenly everywhere—by the right (with derision) and by the left (with relief). Most interestingly, the word appeared prominently in the mainstream news outlets that have typically avoided using a term that had evolved from being a basic political descriptor to a loaded piece of jargon used as an epithet by Republicans as avoided as a liability by Democrats.

“OBAMA OFFERS LIBERAL VISION,” a New York Times banner headline blared. “For His Second Term, a Sweeping Liberal Vision,” said the Los Angeles Times. “A Speech That Embraced Liberalism,” added Politico.


If anyone found the usage inappropriate, they didn’t make much of a fuss. What made liberalism alive was not the word, but the many issues that liberals have waited for decades to hear from a president: inequality, poverty, illegal immigration, gay rights, and many other liberal promises that have been ignored or overlooked for years. Obama may not have said “liberalism,” but he made it possible for others to start talking about it again. In his inaugural address, he painted an America that has not been seen in many years:

. . . our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law . . . Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.


Whether the president succeeds in these bold efforts, he has attempted—even if somewhat belatedly—to restore our lost liberalism. Already, conservatives have derided Obama’s inaugural address, calling his statements socialism and saying his speech was obsolete. It remains to be seen whether the president can sustain his policies and the liberal ideas he presented in his speech. But for liberalism to become part of our time again, we need to know what liberalism means -- in the past and today.

snip//

Some liberals have shown arrogance. Some have given up. Others have over-reached. But at its best, liberalism has been a pragmatic system that could help create a society that helps those in need and works against our growing inequality. Four years after Obama became president, he may have finally launched—at least for now—a robust fight for what most liberals believe.

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply The L Word Lives Is it safe to say "liberal" again? (Original post)
babylonsister Jan 2013 OP
Skidmore Jan 2013 #1
msongs Jan 2013 #2
babylonsister Jan 2013 #4
babylonsister Jan 2013 #7
babylonsister Jan 2013 #3
liberal_at_heart Jan 2013 #12
libdem4life Jan 2013 #5
Lady Freedom Returns Jan 2013 #6
graham4anything Jan 2013 #8
Cha Jan 2013 #9
Lugnut Jan 2013 #10
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #11
Honeycombe8 Jan 2013 #13

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:53 PM

1. Never stopped calling myself a liberal and those who

avoided being called one are consummate cowards.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:05 PM

2. lol not a nice thing to say about democratic party leadership nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:10 PM

4. Hi, sunshine!

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:56 PM

7. Sucks, doesn't it. nt

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:08 PM

3. Amen! I cherished the word. nt

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 02:04 AM

12. never stopped calling myself one either

I'm also not afraid of the word socialist.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:10 PM

5. If we want to be relevant, we must be active and focused. The "herding of cats" image is far too

real for comfort. I like the phrase "a robust fight for what most liberals believe."

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:14 PM

6. As long as I have anything to say.

the word "liberal" will be used. Either in trying to insult me, or in someone complementing me.


BTW, when a Conservative uses it to insult me, I take it as a complement!

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:04 PM

8. I am a liberal and proud of it.

 

I am NOT a progressive nor am I an absolutist or an extremist

and I am a 10%, not a 100% er.

I know 10% of somethhing is better than 100% of nothing.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:06 PM

9. Good to know, babylonsistah! I never stopped using it

.. it made me mad that recons thought they could smear a great word like "Liberal".


In the mean time they smeared their own party's name with tea stains.. "conservative" is the new "liar".

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 01:53 AM

10. I was born a liberal.

I've never changed my stripes nor have I denied that's who I am. JFK said it better than I ever could:

"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."

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 02:03 AM

11. I am a Liberal. I have no problem saying so.

 

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 02:07 AM

13. No. I have learned you must say "liberal....man" or "liberal...woman" To shorten a term



is unacceptable, since Republicans sometimes say that. But they don't say "liberal man" or "liberal woman."

I heard a tea partier say "liberals" on tv today, so if you use that term, that makes you a tea partier, I have learned.

(this is a comment on complaints I got when I shortened a term, making it a term that wingnuts use, supposedly)

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