After having a fairly long, somewhat substantial debate about Arizona's immigration law on Facebook, I got word that the original status poster - a longtime real-life friend who didn't participate in the back-and-forth - finally left this:
"You're such a good liberal Ian. Your fellow liberals must be very proud."
I get this a lot, and it usually comes from self-professed right-wingers, so I know it's meant to be derogatory. During my college-columnist stint, someone wrote in and suggested that I was worse than Nancy Pelosi (and this was well before her name became a fixture on tea party bumpers everywhere). When someone else ridiculed the comparison the following week, that person wrote back the week after that and insisted that he was complimenting me and my "liberal stance."
All backpedaling aside, it isn't meant to be a real compliment, and I know that. "Liberal" has become such a poisoned term in the past 30 years that it's actually become cool again. At least, cool insofar as the people who would describe themselves that way. Conservatives have largely been slow to catch on that phenomenon, which leads to some of the more hilariously out-of-touch non-insults that blogdom can't buy.
Around 2005, I was having an online exchange between two or three bloggers. It was pretty testy, given that they were all assailing my patriotism for questioning government policy, which hadn't yet become legal under the Taxed Enough Already Act of 2009. But it was just substantial enough to be worth it, and I thought I was holding my own pretty well. That is, until one of them dropped a bombshell:
"Ian, just admit it. You're a LIBERAL who supports the Democrats!"
OUCH!!! Argument won! I was just about to get in a retaliatory crack, "Yeah? Well, you're a conservative/libertarian who disagrees with my world views and wears combat boots," but the bell rang and recess was over.
Yes, I am a liberal. I don't run away from the word. And given that I don't, it doesn't work as a comeback. Sorry.
That's all for now, because I need to go brush up on talking points so I know what to believe tomorrow. Being a liberal is a tough façade to keep up, given that it's not a belief stance that ever comes naturally to anyone.
Wouldn't want to let all of my minions down.