The Day “Liberal” Stopped Being a Dirty Word and Got “Progressive”

I’ve been noticing a trend for a while now… a softening toward the word ‘liberal.’ Part of that may be due to the more appropriate choice of the word ‘progressive’ supplanting ‘liberal’ as an effective counterbalance to the word ‘conservative.’  Suddenly it seems the word ‘conservative’ is taking-on negative connotations like what had once dogged the word ‘liberal.’

And so the pendulum swings…

It’s a shame.  ‘Conservative’ is a good word when used with the correct definition, intonation and spirit.  ‘Conservative’ in contemporary political terms has come to denote a backward ‘stand-still’ — an immovability when confronted with change — hiding behind religious faith while not adhering to the principles of religious charity…  Conservatism these days is a license for selfish, obstinate behavior and a refusal to accept how the world – ‘IS’ – and continues to swirl in a never-ending state of change.

‘Conservative’ is a derivation of the word ‘conserve.’  If we’re talking about conserving our national forests, our national resources, our wild-life, our historic treasures, there is no prouder word — but those aren’t the priorities political conservatives stand for.  ‘Liberal’ once meant ‘hippie-dippy-way-out-there-extremes’ — generally off-putting to people resistant to the winds of change.  The winds have long since changed and conservationism has taken-on the grunting connotation of an intestinal-blockage.

‘Conservative’ politics are the standard-bearer of greed, subliminal racial separation, resistance to social change, hawkish attitudes toward war while depleting our national resources for expedient profit (let the future be damned) because we still go to church.  In a word: “hypocrisy.”  Moderate republicans long ago disappeared from the face of the earth like the dinosaurs before them.   (And probably dissolved into the oil reserves to give them no hope of reemerging…)   It would be nice to have two reasonable political parties to choose-from.  In light of post-Bush Republican disarray, it was wise of left-leaning political forces to adopt the word ‘progressive.’  As hard as anyone may try to make this world stand-still, progress is the definition of change and change is the definition of the world.  America is a nation built on change and innovation.  We’re a nation with a changing demographic regarding race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, gender-orientation AND information-technology — which facilitates and disseminates the trends of all sociopolitical change.

The ultimate undoing of the right-wing has always been its strict adherence to the dogma of standing-still while concurrently trying to march us all backwards toward the middle ages.  Look at how FOX News almost never reports a story where all the dots connect — especially if you follow other news outlets to make informed comparisons.  Skewed news is FOX’s prime offering to viewers who want to hear what they want to hear and not what they need to hear.  When was the last time anyone heard a retraction correcting false or skewed reporting on FOX?

The Murdock/FOX machine’s genius is blending progressive/liberal entertainment programming with right-wing conservative news coverage.  They’re quick to jump-on any bandwagon calling climate change a myth and glorifying all attempts to debunk science.  They’re first to air flimsy accounts favoring the George Zimmerman side of the Treyvon Martin tragedy no matter how illogical…  They’re quick to demonize Barack Obama after a speech, when anyone genuinely listening heard ‘inclusion’ and ‘workable ideas’ to move us forward from our national troubles domestically or through sensible foreign policy.  The right-wing and their media mouthpieces are tone-deaf.  FOX News and other right wing news outlets always find a way to distort words and events by reinterpreting the message so it dovetails with thinly veiled racism and champions corporate greed.

I’ve had several friends employed in high places in the FOX News machine.  Two of them said (nearly in tandem) that leaving the FOX New organization felt like they’d just had “a long needed shower to wash away the taint.”  A third friend was mistreated and let-go by FOX once she was no longer, herself, a ‘fox.’  As if age and appearance were a detriment to delivering a news story.  That situation eventually landed in court and the less said, the better.

The world watched FOX’s ‘News Corporation’ moguls, Rupert Murdock and his son, James tap-dance in front of the British Parliament this past year over ‘alleged’ unethical journalistic practices.   Intelligent Americans didn’t need to think long or hard to realize those ‘ethics’ or lack thereof jumped the pond a long time ago.  It’s such a shame that cream pie missed hitting Murdock’s mug square-on.  (Who knew his trophy wife had such a fierce backhand?)  The ‘conservative brand’ has outlived its shelf-life and the stank is too rancid to ignore.

Another example: Clear Channel Network’s Rush Limbaugh, leading the Republican Party’s attack on women made their true colors come to light:  Keep the entire female sex subservient, because that’s how its always been… ‘conserve the status quo.’  That is, after all, the ‘conservative’ way of thinking.  Rich white men have always ruled the world.  Change frightens and emasculates them.

My late mother, Grandma Betty was a life-long conservative Republican.  She voted for George W. Bush during the first election.  When it came time for his re-election bid, she was so appalled by Bush’s handling of the presidency, she switched camps.  Since she was wheelchair-bound I got her an absentee ballot because she wanted to vote for John Kerry.  It was her first time casting a ‘democratic’ vote since FDR was president during World War II…  By the time the next election rolled around Grandma Betty had to be placed in a nursing home and undergo the usual cognitive tests administered to seniors.  Shortly before she passed away, the cognitive therapist asked her “Mrs Whiting, can you tell me who is the president of the United States?”  My mother, a product of her generation said, “That nice-looking, well-spoken young black man.”  I thought that was a pretty good answer and a very graceful conclusion to reach following a 90 year ‘conservative’ journey.

I only hope it doesn’t take the rest of the nation another 90 years…


17 thoughts on “The Day “Liberal” Stopped Being a Dirty Word and Got “Progressive”

  1. My father, who is one year shy of 90, was also a life-long conservative Republican. He also changed camps and voted for Obama. He said Cheney “scared” him. If he could see the light, why can’t others? Why can’t half of my father’s children see the truth in what you have so eloquently written here?

    • Was Cheney running? Thought it was just McCain v. 0bama? at any rate America lost. Just to elect the first “black” President. And he is not even legal.

      • Jason, were your IQ in excess of your shoe size, your comments might be worth at least laughing-at. You’re so fucking ignorant, you have no idea how this country got into this mess, do you? And no, it wasn’t Obama’s fault.

      • Jason, Cheney was scary in and of himself. He was Bush’s brain and representative of what the republican Party has become. But it’s no use trying to explain this to you as you obviously can’t comprehend the truth.

      • Jason, just to give you the benefit, Cheney, as the real power behind the ignorant Puppet Bush, was the visible face of the Republican party in 2008. McCain was seen as a repeat of Bush/Cheney. McCain, who I personally listened to talk for 90 minutes about all the countries we needed to go invade was a retread of Bush/Cheney.
        The 8 years of F-CK UP that was the Bush Administration, on top of the damage done by Teflon Ron and his trained Monkey, Daddy Bush the CIA spook, which wasn’t helped by the Ratpublican’t parties chasing Clinton’s penis, has had this nation on a course of social and economic disaster since 1981.

        • I remember being incensed over how every moment of constructive ‘people’s’ business was co-opted by the GOP focusing on Clinton’s sexual indiscretions, that NOTHING which really mattered happened. The GOP spent 8 years chasing White Water and mistresses only to find the Clinton’s were scammed by White Water too – and the GOP was so riddled with sexual misconduct, the Newster and all his cronies stepped down in disgrace. That’s how the GOP plays – focus on the unimportant so they can fleece voters who aren’t paying attention to what matters.

  2. Conservative, in the meaning of “a backward ‘stand-still’ — an immovability when confronted with change” is perfect, IF you are “conserving” a section of forest, a national park, a national monument.
    However, it is a tragedy and a travesty when used to describe attitudes towards social change, technology or people.
    The hatred that the Religious Reich Conservatives are spewing day in and day out is disgusting, and the only thing that I can see good about it is that it must be the death throes of a dying beast.
    And kudos to “Grandma Betty” for still being able, at her age, to learn that new ways sometimes are better than the old. It is a rare mind that can be agile enough to learn, to change at that age.

      • Dear Jason – What a tastelss comment. You are an asshole. My mother has been dead for over a year. If you could read, you’d have surmised that from the accompanying text. If you head wasn’t up your ass, you might also realize you’ve been duped into believing in ideologies that are counter to your own best interests. And by the way, the health care mandate began as a Republican idea. And if anyone is going to destroy Medicare, it’s Paul Ryan.

      • Jason, to take potshots at a person’s mother is beneath contempt, and to do so about their DEAD parent is so horrid, that I hope someone gives you the punch in the mouth you richly deserve. With brass knuckles.

    • Grandma Betty was a piece of work, but she was good at heart. But like so many of the women of her generation, she did as she was told by following her peers when it came to the voting booth. “Men” voted Republican back then, and their wives were expected to do the same.

  3. The clarity & eloquence of you commentary in today’s blog is indeed impressive!
    I agree completely with your analysis of the matter.
    And to think I picked on you oh those many years ago, little brother. Amends are in order. You are simply the most talented artist, humorist, observer of humanity & writer I have ever known.

      • Beihl, I agree with Nobody. You are a truly masterful artist and wordsmith. I know when I read your blog, your voice is going to be extolling a path of truth with humor is the worth of Will Rogers. (Just don’t go flying with men wearing eye patches)

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