Digby, writing for Salon, on the right's fierce pejoratization (if that's a word, which it isn't) of "liberal" and "liberalism":
You can run, but you can’t hide. Right-wingers are going to demonize whatever terms those on the left use to describe themselves and they are going to define them as deviant, authoritarian and un-American.... If these latter-day radical reactionary know-nothings can call themselves "conservative" there’s no reason that liberals shouldn’t be able to define themselves as progressive and progressives shouldn’t be able define themselves as liberals.
Is Digby thinks she has problems, she should try describing herself as a socialist someday.
Whenever I'm asked if I'm a Democrat--meaning librul--which really isn't that often, I invariably hesitate as I decide whether to go the easy route and simply say "Yes," or the weirder, more involved route of saying "No, I happen to be a socialist, but I vote Democratic, which is the nearest philosophical relative to proper political thinking, which is socialism."
This of course creates a whole brood of problems that the mere use of "liberal" does not. Without fail I am instantly met with the most puzzled and troubled of looks, one that 13th-century plague victims surely encountered. What manner of contaminated beast is this, I can hear them asking without asking. A what? A pinko? A commie? One of them there far leftists with whom Glenn Beck is obsessed and forever confusing with Democrats? My God, I shook hands with the man. Oh my God!
I'll cop to the pinko charge. But I haven't been a commie since my college days, when I was naïve enough to think the world fixable. I've grown considerably more conservative and have settled for social democracy. If I live long enough, I may yet morph into liberalism.
For now, though, I'll adhere to the civilized belief that privatization and profits should be banned from public-policy areas of, for instance, healthcare and education, and that incomes--as high as any citizen wishes to take them--should be taxed progressively and aggressively. In 500 years, I suspect, such "radical" notions will be regarded as rather conservative.
"Liberal," Digby? Seriously? You think that's rough? Try telling the next person who asks that you're a socialist. Then watch in good humor as they contort their brains to comprehend this dastardly appellation. It's a hoot.