What has gone wrong with liberalism?
(What follows will be an anomaly for this blog. We started “Grand Rants” with the intent of documenting the bedevil out of each tirade… Yet this one will go sans research, and is more of a travelogue from very young liberal to mature conservative. Besides, if I can post and at the same time take care of the “About” section of this Web log, that’s a win-win in my book. Expect the unexpected on this blog.)
Back in the early 1960s, I was a liberal. I was just a small child but It all made sense then. Race relations were an abomination, and hard-core conservatives (and worse) were the problem. Women were little more than sex objects and domestic servants. And global freedom meant something, at least to the JFK liberals. Oh, the grown-up liberals weren’t perfect – far from it. But at least it seemed that they were on the right track to a little kid weaned on “Superman” and “Truth, Justice, and the American Way”.
But then something started to go wrong. For me, I think the first inkling that something was kittywampus with the liberal agenda was in the late 1960s when I was watching “Green Berets” (featuring John Wayne). (Man, that was a terrible movie!) In one scene Wayne describes the brutal rape and murder of a Vietnamese woman by the VC or NVA… As our house was a virtual way station for hippies, the general consensus was that it was the evil Americans who did that sort of thing and not the enemy. That just didn’t ring true (there’s that Superman thing, again)… Yes we were responsible for My Lai, but by that time I’d seen enough of the TV news to know that we were fighting against people who all too often displayed cruel tendencies. Later I was vindicated by massacres at Huế and Dak Son. (You don’t know those names do you?) The final slaughter came when we left Vietnam and Cambodia, and roughly one and half million innocent souls met their fates at the hands of the communist Khmer Rouge et al. The brutality that was our exception was the communist’s rule, and the liberals didn’t even blink.
And so it went… In the 1970s, the “Sexual Revolution” and the “Drug Culture” slammed into high gear. Again, (this time to an adolescent/young adult), something just didn’t feel right. Don’t get me wrong… The liberal approach sure had its allure, but it lacked common sense. Say no more.
By the 1980s, I was finally beginning to nail it down… I was moving from gut instinct to objective thought and solidifying my ideas about politics, society, and human nature. I’d earned two 2-year degrees (Psych and Microprocessor Tech), and was a big Reagan fan. Still the liberals went nuts… “Ronnie Ray-Gun” was going to get us all killed, and the lefties had to dress in sheets decorated as skeletons and march by the thousands. The protests were, in a word, embarrassing.
Enter the 1990s, and my last degree, a B.S. in engineering. By the time the century was over I’d crossed the country twice, literally lived in more places than I can remember, and worked every job from dishwasher to senior engineer for a Microsoft outsourcer. The 1990s and beyond also brought new lows in liberalism. Bill Clinton pulled a “Nixon” and lied bold-faced to the American people. He had the gall to flummox the world by questioning the definition of “is” before a grand jury. And even N.O.W. came out in support of Bill after he used Monica as his own personal… Oh you know.
So what went so wrong? After all, JFK had so much of it right. We should,
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
We did address (and continue to address) women’s rights, and civil rights, and all the rest.
In short, what went wrong is that liberalism won back in the 1960s.
But rather than rally with people like Reagan (himself once a democrat) and move forward, liberals chose instead to seek the eternally warm waters of victimization, entitlement, intellectual enlightenment, and atonement. The left has let common sense become the victim of agenda. Some of them actually buy into the idea that the U.S. government was involved in bringing down WTC building number 7. Barack Obama still can’t admit that Petraeus’ “Surge” is working. People still believe in Jesse, Wright, Edwards… Oh never mind… Welcome to the “Oliver Stone” world…
What went wrong with liberalism? Just think of the movie “Requiem for a Heavyweight”… Picture an old fighter, proud, but punch-drunk. Betrayed but willing to make those final absurd gestures out of misplaced loyalty to his venal handler(s). In the end, a pathetic joke. Yeah, that’s what went wrong with liberalism.