Labels without glue

Labels without glue
: There’s a tempest boiling below with some folks — not many — decreeing that I can’t call myself liberal because they don’t approve. Since it’s my liberal blood that’s boiling, let me tell you what’s wrong with that:

First, these people simply don’t know what they’re talking about — because they’re talking about me. They don’t know what I have to say about abortion, the environment, health-care reform, taxes, gun control, gay marriage, separation of church and state, human rights (even of Iraqis!) — and, frankly, I don’t need to tell them just as I don’t need to bid for their approval. They make their judgment because I don’t agree with them about the war and because I dare to criticize my fellow liberals when they deserve it and because I don’t chant along with every bit of cant bashing Bush and his administration.

Second, these people are setting themselves up as judges of what and who are liberal and not. That’s not for them to say. But more important, that’s essentially exclusionary. And I thought that liberalism wanted to be inclusionary. I would think that at a time when liberals are out of power, they would need to be inclusionary, they would want to sell the viewpoint, to draw people in, not kick them out. But these people want to snipe; it’s sport for them, I guess. But it’s bad strategy. If you keep telling people that they can’t be liberal, if you keep calling them “right-wing” with venom in your voice if they dare to disagree with you, then you will drive them away and you will lose the next election. It’s stupid.

Third, when putting up signs with such labels, or trying to take down mine — you’re not liberal, you are right-wing — it’s a very short walk to Bigot Street: You’re not black enough. You’re too black. You’re not Jewish enough. You’re too Jewish. You’re not gay enough. You’re too gay. Pick your ethnic slap and slur. How far do you want to go, people? It’s all on the same route on MapQuest.

Fourth, it’s single-minded and simple-minded and just wrong. Life isn’t this simple; even politics isn’t. Read Totten or Simon. They gave up the liberal label because they thought it was too simplistic and because all of this disgusted them. I still hold onto it — except you don’t want me to. Well, to hell with you.

You know who you are, each and every one of you.

And you know what? You owe me an apology.

Shame on you. You’d think a liberal would know better. You’d think.

: Michael Totten has a few things to say.