I'm going to start out by saying that I do not typically see myself as an idealistic person. My standard response to adverse circumstances is not to expect them to improve or even usually to work to change them but some combination of stoic acceptance and a using snark so that even if things are bad, they are amusing.
That said, I've been amazed by the cynicism I've seem from some of my friends when it comes to politics and I'm increasingly thinking that this trend is worthy of inspection.
When the war began, I remember saying things about not letting our fear win and always remembering that who we are as Americans is worth defending.
Trouble is, liberals are needing the same advice these days. I guess I first noticed a problem when I started to feel that liberals were frequently lying to me. The UUA Washington Office sent me an email claiming that the filibuster debate was about giving minorities "the right to speak" something that only even sounds true if you don't know what a filibuster is used for, I visited a local UU congregation where the "sermon" was a play about the patriot act that completely lied about what was in it, Micheal Moore talked about Charlton Heston giving a speech at Columbine then showed a clip of Charlton Heston talking about prying guns from his cold, dead fingers. Of course, the clip Moore showed was not the speech Heston gave at the time, but another speech. Heston's real speech near Columbine had consisted of a moment of silence, prayers for the dead and business meeting. It hadn't been evil-sounding enough.
I've written about these sorts of things often here and the defenses offered by liberals were remarkably few. One commenter here assured me that anyone confused by the Heston speech was stupid, and that's about it.
I guess I found it easier to live with when there was no explanation.
Now people who are going to UU churches, getting UUAWO emails and watching Michael Moore movies are on the whole pretty liberal. It's weird to me that we're so getting in to lying to our own people.
My most recent foray into this topic was earlier this week when I wrote about George Lakoff's organization putting a stolen Republican internal memo next to a carefully prepared public statement of theirs and told the credulous that it was fair to compare them. Now, I have a lot of respect for my fellow liberals. I think that, for example, if tobacco company A got ahold of an evil-sounding memo from tobacco company B and told people to compare tobacco company B's evil memo to their own sugary-sounding press release on the same topic, my friends would not be fooled.
The problem is that they trust George Lakoff.
I'm not sure I trust anyone on my own side anymore. Between Micheal Moore and Morgan Spulock putting out movies that are chock-full of lies and every other liberal organization with a bridge to sell me, I'm feeling increasingly lied to by my own party.
But apparently I'm supposed to be OK with that.
As a commenter wrote:
I don't feel I need to advocate for the Right -- they are perfectly capable of doing that themselves. I feel they are more dishonest about it than the Left. I don't say the Left is completely without fault, just more honest, because honesty is one of the Liberal values, and it is not on the list of Conservative values. Liberals are far more likely to disapprove of a lefty who is caught being dishonest than this particular group of "Conservatives" is to disapprove of one of theirs caught being dishonest. [I don't like to use the term "Conservative" for them because they aren't conservative.]
First of all, liberals DON'T disapprove of liberals who lie. Moore and Spurlock cried all the way to the bank. Has there been a large liberal movement to get them to stop lying? Nobody's told me about it.
But my central point is that I've heard this argument before.
Conservatives will tell you that we don't have to respect Iraq's freedom, or even our own, because only we, the Americans, value freedom.
Now liberals are telling me that they don't have to be honest with me because honesty is a liberal value.
"We're the good guys, so good that it's OK that we behave like the bad guys."
Does anyone doubt that extremes meet?
Aware that Diogenes is a bad role to play in American political life. But somebody has to.