5 Steps to Fix Liberalism
- Give up on gun control:
Compromise. It’s a virtue extoled and both sides of the aisle but rarely actually practiced. To win back moderates and reluctant conservatives we’re going to have to give something up. Gun control is where we should start. The reality is that it’s pretty unlikely that anyone reading this will be affected by gun violence in their lives. There are far more important issues at stake than this; it’s a pretty ridiculous reason to lose control of the country. If even 2% of voters would be willing to consider voting liberal if they didn’t think we were trying to “take their guns,” guess what? That would be enough to swing elections.
Moreover, conservatives are actually correct on this issue. The 2nd amendment is very clear, there really isn’t any ambiguity in there. Every American has a right to bear arms, I don’t see where we can even begin to make an argument against that. This issue was decided in 1787 when the United States adopted the constitution. It’s time to stop bitching about it.
- Use language as a weapon:
Stop saying “climate change.” Don’t stop caring about, or fighting against it, this one of the more important issues I’m referring to that we need to give up on gun control and focus on; there is perhaps no more important issue in the world today, but stop using the phrase “climate change” to describe it. The conservative media has trained their base to immediately dismiss what you’re saying upon hearing that phrase. Instead, talk about “creating jobs in the energy economy,” or “increasing wages in energy,” or something catchier that someone much smarter than I will think of. You’re still talking about the same issue, but now people will actually listen and be receptive to what you have to say. Don’t play into the conservative media’s hands; we’re smarter than this.
Likewise, stop using the word “terrorism.” Terrorism is new and scary. It justifies an extraordinary reaction because it’s an extraordinary problem. In most people’s minds, terrorism is something only Muslims do, it trains you to think of Muslim’s as the “other,” because they seem to be the only ones depraved enough to stoop so low. “Religious violence,” on the other hand, has been happening since the dawn of mankind. It’s been perpetrated by Jews, Christians, Hindu’s, members of every religion imaginable at some point in history. What we call “terrorism” now is just the latest iteration of a struggle that’s been going on for thousands of years. We don’t need to throw away our constitution and everything we stand for as a free nation to combat “religious violence,” but people think we need to for “terrorism.”
- Get off the internet:
I’m as guilty of this as anybody, but arguing with people on Twitter or message boards is not productive. It backs people into their respective corners and invariably leads to name calling and personal insults. The end result is that you respect the other side even less, because you’re encountering the dumbest, loudest people on that side. Talk to people in real life. Listen to them before sharing your views, and do so without being combative. Personalize the issues, if someone wants to deport all illegal immigrants, tell them about your friend or coworker that this would effect. “Well I work with this girl Patricia, she works harder than anyone in our office, certainly much harder than I do, she has two kids to support and is doing her best to make ends meet; you really think she doesn’t have anything to contribute to America?” That’s a question that actually requires a response, it starts a dialogue. “You’re a fucking racist” does not. One of the best points I’ve heard about the success of the LGBT movement is that eventually enough people came out that almost everyone knew someone who was gay. It’s pretty easy to develop hate for a group of anonymous people that are different than you, it’s much harder to hate someone you know and respect.
A: “I hate gay people!”
B: “Really? Well your neighbor Joan is gay, and so is your cousin Tom.”
A: “Damnit I actually like Tom…”
We can apply the same lesson to other issues.
Wear political shirts, walk around posting political flyers, do things that spark conversation with the people around you. If you’re proud of your beliefs you should want to share them, as doing so and convincing others makes the world a better place. But don’t do so in a way that belittles those that don’t share your beliefs, even when it’s extremely challenging. If I’m wearing my “refugees are welcome here” shirt and someone comes up to me and says, “get them out, I don’t want them here!” I find that abhorrent as a human being, but I’m curious to know why that person believes that. Remember that you represent more than yourself. Bystanders seeing two people shouting obscenities at each other over politics will roll their eyes. Bystanders seeing you patiently listening and logically rebutting someone’s argument will be impressed and affected by it.
- Become the populist party:
Somewhere around the 1,347th time I heard about how Trump rode a “populist wave” to victory the term “populism” started to get a negative connotation for me, but it shouldn’t be that way. If there is one message that liberals should drive home before the 2018 midterms, it’s that the Republican Party is the party of the rich (really helping us out so far with the Trump agenda, thanks guys), and the Democratic Party is the party of the people. It’s something we de don’t do nearly a good enough job of articulating. Somehow it’s gotten twisted around where liberals are looked at as elitists, where the conservatives looking to cut corporate and high income taxes are somehow looking out for the working man. This needs to be radically altered. It should be a part of every campaign ad, every speech on how the house floor, every argument you have with someone. Don’t talk politics without the other person leaving with this idea drilled into their head.
- Fucking Vote:
It should become social suicide to not vote. Like if you’re having dinner with friends and someone gets up to use the bathroom and someone else says, “did you hear she had sex with the entire Arizona Cardinals offensive line?” (Shout out to “The Break Up” for that reference), if someone else is like “and I heard she didn’t vote either!” The latter should be more embarrassing. The whole “my vote doesn’t matter…nothing is decided by one vote anyway” is complete bullshit. Your vote should be the only one that counts? Like in a dictatorship? This is democracy, the entire point is that one vote doesn’t decide the whole thing. Politicians look at percentages. If something passes by 56% instead of 58%, that matters! Even in your local elections that matters. It makes it less likely a politician will pursue a similar bill if he/she gets the sense it doesn’t have widespread support.
How cool would it be to make your community the one that votes? Parts of the country are famous for certain things. Celebrities live in Hollywood, retirees live in Florida, cheese is made in Wisconsin, cars are made in Detroit etc… How proud would you be if your county became famous for voting, “oh you live in San Mateo County? That’s where 90% of citizens vote!” I’ve said throughout this piece that you shouldn’t belittle your opponents. This is the exception. Those who don’t vote are opponents of democracy, that’s intolerable. I have more respect for someone who voted for Donald Trump (he says as he vomits) than I do for someone who didn’t vote at all.
Finally, when I die/have my consciousness transferred into an android at the end of my life, I want to be able to look back and have a track record I can be proud of. The world may have gone to shit, but I have 80 years of voting to try to create a better society to ease my conscious. You can argue that your vote in an individual election doesn’t matter (I would disagree), but I don’t think you can argue that 80 years worth of votes had absolutely no effect on the world. I mean just give voting a try, what do you have to lose? Oh right the planet, that’s what you have to lose. Fucking vote.