Oh No, Not the L-Word: Reclaiming the Terms of Debate

Get Your War On creator David Rees
photo: Sarah Lariviere
Get Your War On creator David Rees

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Trading groupthink for group therapy, adherents of the embattled minority currently known by the L-word (no, not lesbians—liberals) gather in a downtown book bunker to strategize, prophesize, and commiserate. And there's a lot of fortune reversal to consider during this panel discussion. In 1964, Barry Goldwater was called "too conservative," and avowed liberal Lyndon Johnson trounced him in the presidential election. Exactly 40 years later, also-ran John Kerry fled the label as if it were a curse, even though, as JFK pointed out in 1960, liberal means "someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people." Contributors to the new essay collection that shares its name with this event —cartoonist Ted Rall (whose work appears in the Voice), Democratic mayoral candidate and former Public Advocate Mark Green, and Get Your War On author David Rees—join editor Robert Lasner in determining what went wrong and exhorting progressives to band together and fix it, starting by embracing their identity. This type of boosterism may seem a little foreign to lefties, but hey, nobody ever changed the world by feeling insecure.

 
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