Broadening the Dem’s Big Tent – Attention Liberals: You Blew It.

“In every political community there are varying shades of political opinion. One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects. Ten degrees to the left of center in good times. Ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally.”

-Phil Ochs


As you might recall if you’re not new to my column, I feel so alienated from mainstream liberalism that I was reluctant to even drag my ass to the voting booth. A combustibly contrary stance like this is bound to invite conflict and confrontation at some point, and I’ve been involved in my fair share. I’m tempted to stoke those flames right here and now, all the way down to naming names and publicly humiliating those mainstream liberals I feel alienated by, but maybe it’s better that I don’t.

However, you shouldn’t mistake my restraint for letting them off the hook. Just because I’m biting my tongue doesn’t mean that the objects of my ire don’t deserve a tongue-lashing. It only means that this isn’t the time or place for it; a score this big will never get settled in 500 words.

You might be wondering just what this big score is. Allow me to explain:

I feel alienated by those who pompously and condescendingly dismiss my feelings of alienation without ever asking me why I feel alienated from them. Those who push their inferences and assumptions about me as truths, putting words in my mouth and misconstruing every point I try to make without giving me a chance to clarify them. Those who only believe in the 1st Amendment when it’s convenient for them, demanding to be heard while shouting everyone else down. Those who are too privileged, too sheltered, or maybe just too old to know how it feels to have inherited a shattered economy, deteriorating ecosystem and flagrantly corrupt government from previous generations that promised us progress while leaving our world worse off than they found it. Those who claim to champion the very people they feel most threatened by, paying lip service to the idea of equality while deeming anybody they can’t relate to unequal to them. Those who have the brazen audacity to speak on behalf of the disenfranchised when they have no idea what disenfranchisement feels like.

When conservatives treat us like this, we get up in arms. But it’s okay for us to treat people like this? No, it’s not. I won’t stand for it, and I want nothing to do with any group that will.

So here are my parting words to the effete majority of Amerikan liberals: in the grand karmic scheme of things, nobody ever walks away from a pissing contest unscathed. I haven’t, and you sure as shit won’t either.


Note from the editor: Part of the inspiration for this post comes from Michael Moore’s “Letter to a Non-Voter” published two days before the presidential election. Many of those who were registered did not cast a vote on Election Day because they feel disconnected from the political system and many believe their voices don’t count in the political realm. It is a long-held belief among many disenfranchised voters that no matter who the candidates are, and no matter who wins the election, there will always be gross inequality and, therefore, a political and economic underclass. The Republican Party refers to itself as the “Big Tent” party but, clearly, the issues of diversity and openness to differing views is not their strong suit. If the Democratic Party doesn’t want to make that same mistake, and if it wants to truly big the big tent that welcomes the full range of liberal views, it behooves the party to listen to the voices of those who believe that they don’t matter. Midterm elections are not too far off in the distance. The work begins now.



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