It was Friday, September 25, 2009. I was an anonymous participant in “The Peoples’ March” that took place that sunny day in Pittsburgh. It was an event in response to the visiting G20 Summit. The march started in the city’s Oakland neighborhood and headed down 5th Avenue towards the downtown area. It paused on Grant Street in front of the City County building where various people stepped to a podium to address the crowd. Blocked off from any vehicle traffic that day, I found an open space in the center of the street and sat down. I can’t remember what any particular speaker had to say, for the majority of my attention was focused on a police dog that was keeping a good eye on me. Mind you, I didn’t feel threatened. The pup was just following orders and doing its job.
However, one particular gentleman who stepped up to the microphone did cause my ears to perk up a bit – not only for what he said, but also how he said it. He was a self-proclaimed socialist, clad in what I assume is standard-issued khaki pants and button-down shirt. He was going on and on about what needed to be done. Again, I don’t really remember the bulk of what he said, but he punctuated his call to action by growling out “And we’re going to make the rich pay for it!”
“Really?” I thought. “This is how you’re going to try to win people over?”
The march would eventually continue through downtown and head towards Pittsburgh’s North Side. As it did, something struck me. There was a major disconnect taking place, specifically, between the ordinary people in the march and those who had become the faces and voices of various liberal movements.
The vast majority of people I observed in the crowd and with whom I spoke were quite pleasant, and even displayed a great sense of humor. However, those who had bullhorns and turns at the microphones came across as whiners and blowhards.
After a time, it would hit me: if those who hold dear liberal principles and policies – of which I am proudly one – want to win over hearts and minds, a dramatic shift in attitude has to take place. There needs to be a major dialing down of the anger, combativeness and pomposity associated with all things left (or leftist), coupled with a rise in civility, humor and mass appeal.
Can that change be successful? I don’t know, but at least this site will attempt to answer that question.
Perhaps the best outcome that can be expected is not that people will eventually agree with liberal/leftist policies and principles, but rather that they will simply be a bit more comfortable with some of the language that is used. That is, they won’t bark, shriek or cower at words like “socialism” or “collective”, to name just two.
So, to that end, once or twice a week, we’ll take a more gentle approach towards certain aspects of the liberal side of life in America, ease some of the fears of it, and look at it from different angles. And while we’re at it, we’ll mix in a healthy dose of pop culture – just for hell of it. (At least that’s the plan.)
Who’s up for it?