Confessions of a libtard

Yes, it’s true. I’m a libtard. Or so say some of my Facebook friends. Although the intellectual underpinnings for their charge often escape me, I don’t much care what they call me. But I would like to remind them that they’re also talking about my Mom, and she certainly doesn’t deserve such treatment.

Sometimes I wonder if these friends think they’re jabbering away in the Breitbart chatroom. Well, “Attention, some of my Facebook friends: liberals exist, and we walk among you. We see all the stuff you say about our evil, communist, tree-hugging, femi-nazi inclinations, along with our lack of intelligence.”

Up until two months ago, no matter how tempting it was to jump in when I saw a post on Facebook that raised my hackles, I just stayed out of it. I subscribed to the notion that nobody has ever changed anybody else’s opinion by posting on Facebook.

But today, I give fair warning. My policy toward public platforms and politics has changed, and I have been unleashed.

I owe this newfound freedom to my wife. As the Republican Party moved from the hard right to wherever the hell Donald Trump is, she decided it was time to “get some skin in the game.” I was more than happy to go along for the ride, and we both joined Dare County Democrats. A member of that organization, upon hearing I have a journalism background, offered the chance to write for the Outer Banks Beacon, and I accepted.

My goal now is to aspire to what I consider the most admirable thing about the U.S. Senate. I covered that body for years, and as dysfunctional as it can be, the senators know a thing or two about civility. Almost always, no matter how great their policy differences and how rancorous the topic, they were courteous and respectful of one another.

I would like to see more senatorial decorum on Facebook, and to that end, I promise I will strive not to use libtard equivalents such as knuckle-dragger or troglodyte when I discuss the issues of the day.

I will also try to confine my writing to actual issues.

To illustrate what I mean by an “actual issue,” I will mention a meme I saw on Facebook the other day. It implied that liberals see the display of the American flag as offending the delicate sensibilities of some members of the Islamic faith.

While I’m prepared to defend the progressive perspective on any number of issues, I find myself at a total loss on this one. I do not know of a single person of any political persuasion who believes this meme. Nobody. (I must admit, however, that I tip the hat I almost never wear to whoever came up with the meme. It is so preposterous that I envy the sheer creativity required to conceive it.)

Given my new pledge, I will now explain, as civilly as possible, what I, a walking, talking liberal, think about the flag.

The flag is an identifying symbol of the United States of America and, as such, a very necessary part of our ocean-going vessels, spacecraft, and many other things.

As flags go, I think ours is a fine specimen—simple and elegant with a brilliant color scheme. Not only is the field of stars an elegant nod to the 50 states, it also is easily updated. That will be particularly handy when the District of Columbia finally achieves statehood.

(Ha! I snuck in a liberal talking point. But I digress.)

When I was younger and the Vietnam War was in full blossom, some protestors would fashion the flag into garments. This was seen as a political act, and many considered it a desecration of the flag.

But today, everybody and anybody is free to wear the flag in one form or another without being considered a subversive. Doing so is not considered to be a political statement. In short, the general opinion of desecrating the flag has evolved dramatically since 1970.

Am I against flag burning? Not at all. It is an expression of free speech, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment, and the very fact that burning a symbol has potent political power demonstrates the power of the symbol itself.

On top of that, more often than not, the only thing the flag burner accomplishes is to strengthen the resolve of the opposition. It gives my conservative friends an impetus to exercise their own freedom and respond emphatically with a denunciation of the flag burner. More power to you, conservative friends!

So I understand what the flag is for. I admire the flag, but I do not worship it. I have no particular desire to wear or burn a flag or place a miniature one on my Fourth of July cupcake. And I don’t feel the need to pin a tiny flag on my lapel. Indeed, if you catch me even wearing something with a lapel, take a photo. It may become a collector’s item, based on the rarity of the sighting.

At the end of the day, I’m sorry some of my Facebook friends think my Mom and I are libtards. Still, I pledge to do my best to make my points in the same spirit of collegiality I have found most admirable among the men and women who represent us in Congress.

Meanwhile, Facebook friends, keep those memes coming—the more preposterous the better. They often inspire me when I’m searching for a topic for my next article!