There's a new freedom in America. Self-identifying liberals are feeling, well, liberated. We see in the national discourse a revival of the once-proud nomenclature of liberal, liberality, and liberalism. What is amazing to me is how quickly it has happened. Not long ago, a handful of months back, in fact, to call someone liberal was to poison the political well of opinion about that person's views. If that person was a politician, fuh-geta-boudit. Their career was over if you could make the tag stick. And so it was for almost two decades.
Echos of JFK's nomination acceptance speech to the Liberal Party in New York in 1960 have seemed quaint--until lately. Consider Kennedy's words then:
"...if by a 'Liberal' they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a 'Liberal.'"
Although many liberals made their way through what were the dark times for their breed by swapping the L-word for the P-word (progressive), some are now reclaiming the mantle of Roosevelt.
The Internet is the battering ram with which American liberalism has made its surprise, sudden comeback.
Today, Paul Krugman's (pictured above) New York Times blog http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/ called "Conscience of a Liberal," seems to be earning the title the author lays claim to. At the same time, Ariana Huffington's Huffington Post is the clearing house of new liberal media. Then there's the person who has made the most of the Internet's potential in a single victory: Barak Obama.
We'll see how long this lasts. As baby boomers age and, pardon my crassness, begin to die off, the likelihood of a continuity of this trend becomes greater. While that generation had its moment of being liberal-ish, they have clearly become more conservative on many, if not most, issues. Their younger siblings, Generation X and their children, the Millennials, are far more progressive. Scratch that. We're far more LIBERAL!