If the comments section is any indication, it would seem that I’m the most reviled writer on The Daily Banter. This is no accident. Since March, I have unwittingly cultivated a reputation as a Bad Liberal among a colorfully vocal portion of our community. This wasn’t my intention. It’s just that I hold and have espoused certain opinions with which it disagrees. After some careful review of my work and a little soul-searching, I have compiled a handy guide on how to be a Good Liberal so that other liberal writers can avoid my lonely fate.
Here’s what NOT to do:
1) Criticize President Obama
Nothing gets a Good Liberal’s blood boiling like criticism of Barack Obama, especially when it comes from the Left. For Good Liberals, liberal critiques are unforgivable betrayals of liberalism. That’s because they don’t view “liberalism” as a political philosophy, but as a team. As the leader of the liberal side — the Democrats — whatever Obama does is liberal and wonderful by definition.
This includes liberal causes célèbres like due process-free killings of American citizens via drone, as well as the continuation of a Bush-style war on terror. But being a Bad Liberal can have some benefits, like bringing laughter to Good Liberals:
Did you hear that? And Chez is a funny guy!
2) Praise conservatives when they do liberal things
One of the most important things I’ve learned from commenters is that praising conservatives isn’t allowed, even when those conservatives do things liberals agree with. So for example, when Glenn Beck announced that he would personally oversee the delivery of food and supplies for immigrant children at a detention facility in McAllen, Texas, it was wholly inappropriate to give credit where credit was due:
As this most upvoted comment shows, I should not have lauded Beck’s actions because Hitler.
Additionally, approving of the actions of Rand Paul in any way is jut wrong. Always. So, when Paul wrote an op-ed in TIME magazine criticizing the militarization local police forces, as well as the inherent racism in the U.S. justice system, which he has filed legislation to mitigate, it was erroneous of me to say that this is a good thing. Why? As one commenter helpfully explained,
Unfortunately, I had forgotten the timeless axiom that only Republican politicians are political opportunists. And this commenter is right: No doubt Paul’s critique of the nation’s police forces and our racist criminal justice system will score him major points with the GOP’s base, which obviously despises law and order and cares very deeply about structural racism in the courts.
It should also be noted that writing straight news analyses about Rand Paul that neither endorse nor criticize him make one a Bad Liberal:
Nope, I’m real. A real Bad Liberal.
3) Defend Glenn Greenwald
For a few years, Glenn Greenwald had been a darling of the Left. But this seemed to change on or around January 20, 2009 for some reason. Greenwald has remained the steadfast advocate for the Constitution — especially privacy rights — and an anti-interventionist foreign policy, but much of the Left has turned on him.
In one article, I explained why Greenwald’s piece on the surveillance of more than 7,000 Americans was good journalism. But once again, I showed my ignorance by having that opinion:
Good Liberals often don’t read past a headline if they think they’re going to disagree with the article it leads to. This is actually a form of open-mindedness because it allows them to continue to be Good Liberals, who are all about ideas.
4) Criticize Islam
Good Liberals are true multiculturalists, which is why they refuse to acknowledge that Islam is uniquely responsible for most of the religious violence in the contemporary world. Sadly, even readily granting that the vast majority of Muslims aren’t violent isn’t enough to placate Good Liberals.
It’s especially ill-advised to directly quote misogynistic and intolerant passages from the Qu’ran and the Hadith because that’s only where Islamic extremists find justification for their actions. And, ironically, highlighting these anti-liberal passages makes one a bigot:
But the good news is there might very well be a cure-all for all this Islam-bashing. As this commenter suggests,
Not mentioning the religious motives of people who do bad things because of religion is a ground-breaking approach. This way, Good Liberals can remain willfully and blissfully ignorant of the reason some people want to kill them. Or why same-sex marriage is illegal in most states.
5) Disagree with a non-white person about an issue related to race
As intrepid hashtavist Suey Park informed everyone a few months ago, white men — even if they’re liberal and believe that structural racism exists — aren’t allowed to have an opinion on race issues. That’s why it’s incredibly tone-deaf to write a measured response to an African-American professor to suggest that she shouldn’t vaguely advocate “public reproach or reprisal” against the shooter of Ferguson, Mo. teenager Mike Brown. That would be officer Darren Wilson. And apparently, his family, too:
Liberals, these are my insights on how to avoid becoming despised by your ideological comrades. My views don’t always fit perfectly with The Daily Banter community, but I’m thankful to be here, for however long that might be.
I just hope we’re never sold to oaklandboy.