Liberal Shame | News | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Liberal Shame 

Pin It

Believe it or not, claiming the “liberal” banner can be a real embarrassment sometimes. As liberals, we must share the uncomfortable, awkward company of Ralph Nader, Joan Baez, Rage Against the Machine and Jesse Jackson. Nader is naive enough to believe he can steal Republican votes during a crucial election year. Baez became the calling card of liberals as simpering, sentimental folk singers. Jackson never chooses his battles carefully enough. And Rage Against the Machine believed they could educate people by turning the volume knob up to 11.

Criticizing our ideological colleagues ought to be the hallmark of the liberal temperament. Little is more depressing than party line Republicans who unquestionably support their leaders, “no matter what!” or their country, “right or wrong!” Hell is a place where no questions are asked, and nothing or no one is challenged.

Amid the charade of what passes for liberal thinking these days, the title of worst offenders belongs to those who believe they can change the world through firebombs, graffiti, or damage to property. These people may be changing the world. What they aren’t changing is minds.

Case in point: Last week’s arson of West Jordan’s Stock Building Supply, for which the Earth Liberation Front made “a claim of responsibility” because it didn’t like the exhaust fumes from the lumberyard’s forklifts. So they torched the place, fled by cover of night and left someone else to brag on ELF’s Website that their action resulted in $1.5 million in damages. “If the consequences of early Monday morning are what it takes to bring their negligence to the attention of the media and the people of the world, then it is well worth it and we will continue in our mission to stop large companies from destroying the environment. If you build it, we will burn it!” the ELF Website proclaimed.

Congratulations on the media attention, ELF, but yours is a lost battle because you choose losing tactics. It’s downright irritating how some of us in the liberal camp might criticize conservatives for torching abortion clinics, then condone similar actions in the name of progressive causes. Let’s be fair.

Then there’s the simple matter of the law, which exists to protect us all from the abuses of others in society. The law isn’t perfect, but it protects the vast majority of us, more often than not in an equitable manner. As such, it ought to be respected. This reasoning seems hopelessly antiquated to those caught up in the romance of tossing bombs, but it’s worth stating because it’s not stated often enough. Want to change the world? Start by changing the law.

If that’s too much work, at least make your protest nonviolent. History’s full of great people who changed the world by not respecting the law. But there’s a crucial difference between you and them, ELF. Henry David Thoreau, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and others hated unjust laws so much they marked their protests with liberal doses of prison time. They sacrificed a part of their life, and sometimes all of it. And, unlike you, they remained nonviolent.

You don’t have the guts for that. Or do you? Until you do, pack up your incendiary devices and go home. And, please, don’t embarrass the rest of us by calling yourselves “liberal” or “progressive.”

Pin It

More by Ben Fulton

  • Right and Right

    After finally getting around to viewing Napoleon Dynamite at the local theater—yes, I am the spittin’ image of him, just as Music & TV Editor Bill Frost maintained during my brief absence—the only other event I’m looking forward...
    • Sep 6, 2007
  • Urban Art Guerrillas

    Borrowed Walls mix art forms in space and time. Won’t you lend them your mind?
    • Sep 6, 2007
  • Arts & Entertainment - Sad, Sad. Joy! Joy!

    • Sep 6, 2007
  • More »

Latest in News

  • Down by the Rio

    Two years shy of its closure, four questions linger on the future of the Rio Grande shelter.
    • Jul 19, 2017
  • 'It Just Got Real'

    3rd Congressional write-in candidate Russell Roesler has something to say.
    • Jul 12, 2017
  • Inmate Blues

    Lifers at the Utah State Prison find sanctuary through music.
    • Jul 5, 2017
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


Readers also liked…

  • Endless Litigation

    Lawmakers favor $14 million lawsuit against U.S. to gain control of public lands.
    • Dec 10, 2015
  • So It Goes

    Majestic Meadows mobile home park residents struggle with unexpected rent increases.
    • Jul 27, 2016

© 2017 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation