Liberal? I’d Rather Be Called An Alcoholic

I knew it was a mistake for me to post some of my political opinions on Facebook. I did it anyway.

I knew it would attract unwanted political rants from friends and others, and I was right. They posted their thoughts, along with a few other folks I’ve never met or heard of, and of course the thread strayed very far from my original message.

That’s not the part that irks me.

I now have a label. It seems that if I’m not verbally attacking the President of the United States, I must be a “liberal.” And if I’m a liberal, I must love some things and hate other things, right? If I don’t refer to the President by a derogatory nickname or denigrate his policies, I must therefore love gun control, Fascism, and Planned Parenthood, right?

Let’s all just take a breath for a moment, please. BREATHE. That’s right, it’s OK to just pause before responding and getting all worked up.

It should surprise no one that we have so many labels for everything around us. We are conditioned for that. Our society demands it, and the conditioning happens in the many messages we are bombarded with every day. The “news” we see and hear is accompanied by opinions, innuendoes, misinformation, disinformation, hate speech disguised as passionate rhetoric, soundbites, and news headlines.

We label because we are conditioned to think and speak in soundbites. Our collective attention span has diminished to the point that we can’t entertain thought for more than a few seconds. We express ourselves thusly.

The truth is, our world doesn’t fit into soundbites, and neither do you, and neither do I. It’s OK to respect yourself by allowing deeper consideration of ideas and people and things. It is better than OK to appreciate the complexity of people, what we think and feel, and how we behave.

The label you are using is shorthand for something that may be true, partially true, or mostly untrue. It is modern-day Newspeak and it it fails completely. It lacks nuance and context, and it does a great disservice to our natural ability to appreciate depth, contingencies, exceptions, legitimate contrary opinions, degrees of difference or shades of gray.

Now, if you are still tempted to argue what “liberal” means, you are simply proving my point. You are way back there, stuck on a label, while I’m getting my point across about how simplistic labels are and how they lack true description and meaning. Labels don’t serve you; they are making you stupid.

I wouldn’t mind being called a “liberal” if I were sure that everyone knows what that means—but not everyone does. It’s simply a way for us all to nod our heads knowingly and move on to another subject. It’s so much easier not to think, isn’t it?

You can call me by all the labels that are true and I won’t lift a finger to sue you: alcoholic, musician, Rosicrucian, short, obstinate, hypnotist, and divorced. But if you call me a “liberal” you are ignoring my natural ability to think, change, and grow.

You can give me a label that I really never wanted, but then of course you will be demonstrating your ignorance of who I am, who I can be, and who I might become.

Ah, modern communication. Gotta love it!

That’s enough for now. Maybe I’ll turn on the radio and listen to some conventional, widely-accepted, standardized hate speech for awhile, just so I’ll know what to expect on my Facebook page in the next few hours.

4 Responses to “Liberal? I’d Rather Be Called An Alcoholic”

  1. Thanks for sharing, Jim. Nicely summarized, reasoned and stated. (Note application of Giunta’s Rule of 3.) Here’s my vote: Let’s define “liberal” as – as you said – the “natural ability to think, change, and grow.” (Also Rule of 3, I’ll note.) Now who has a problem with it?

  2. James …….people are entitled to their opinions (as the old saying goes). They often want us to step into their realities/perceptions. I do understand the moment when we listen to what someone says and think…..”really?”. However, we have to step outside ourselves and respect ” their truth” then bless them and send them on their way. Sometimes people are so invested in their opinion(s) that they are not interested in growth, change or someone else’s opinion. My truth about you … that you are trying to make the world a better place thru a slightly unconventional way. Those of us who have benfitted in some way because of you, do support and applaud your efforts whatever your politics may be. In a better world …’s ok to be different so long as your contribution to humanity is good. You are a good and joyful man James !!!!!

  3. I believe the majority of Americans have been conditioned not to think, not to reason. I feel the old term “common sense” is now an oxymoron because it is so far from common these days. I have no idea what was said to offend you, but your rebuttal was well reasoned and excellently stated. You Rock, James!


  4. I hate labels. Especially on my food! Great post @james giunta and gotta love that modern technology.

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