It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. The good “Liberals” (i.e., the illiberal liberals) who voted for Obama the first time around, the mostly white, privileged products of elite schools and progressive attitudes, were supposed to be on the winning side of all such controversies. They were the enlightened ones. Republicans, the people who voted for John McCain and — Ohmygod! — Sarah Palin, didn’t go to the right schools; didn’t ingest the proper balance of gluten free, free-range, macrobiotic, whatever; wore the wrong sorts of clothes; had funny hairdos; owned guns; and (often) were God-fearing people who took religion seriously. Such people were less objects of pity than of contempt, though when their politics were not on view they provided vast fodder for interventionist government programs aimed at transforming these unfortunates into consensus-chic, testosterone-free liberals.
The deep problem now is how to help the vast regiments of disillusioned liberals. As I’ve noted in this space before, momentum towards Romney is mounting. Soon, I predict, it will be all but irresistible. And then the consensus-chic liberals who had supported Obama in 2008 will be ideologically homeless. It is up to us to offer them a helping hand: a two-step program of recovery. Self-knowledge is the first step. They must have the courage to stand up before their friends and say, “I’m John Doe, and I supported Barack Obama.” Their friends, most of whom are likely to be in the same position, will applaud and tell their own war stories. About the time they blacked out at an Obama fundraiser, or the time they couldn’t remember who James Madison was. There will be solidarity in numbers.
Once that critical first step is taken, the rest will be easy. Sure, there will be bad days, days when a copy of the New York Times will be open beside them in a taxi, with an article by Paul Krugman staring them in the face, or nights when they find themselves at a party in which some acquaintances have yet to confront their addiction. It will be hard not to join in, to have just one sip of the old intoxicant. But with every day that passes, members of this new support group will gain in confidence. Soon they will be ready to take the important public step of declaring their support for the candidates who want to help America prosper and help Americans help themselves, who are not ashamed to criticize Obama’s dependency agenda as a prescription for national servitude. I’m not saying the process is painless. But the satisfactions of having stood up for oneself are great. More and more people are doing it today. Which means that even more will be doing it tomorrow.
Thumbnail and photo courtesy shutterstock / Gts