Open Letter to American Liberals


by Thomas S. Harrington, via Common Dreams

I would love to share, my liberal friend, in your sense of incredulity about the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of United States. I would love to stand with you in the sense of woundedness that, while certainly painful up front, carries with it the secondary compensation of a warm and nurturing solidarity. I would love to sit with you and fulminate in righteous anger about the unparalleled vulgarity and cruelty of Trump and his followers.

As much as I’d like to do these things, I won’t.  Why?

Because I know you, perhaps better than you even dare to know yourself. I know you well because I have watched you with great and detailed care over the last three decades and have learned, sadly, that you are as much if not more about image and self-regard as any of the laudable…

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25 Responses to Open Letter to American Liberals

  1. diane says:

    That was beautiful, thank you, so surprised to see it at Common Dreams.

  2. After one of your recent posts, I was trying to recall what these “wounded,” whiny, smarmy, smug, self-righteous, incredibly annoying liberals reminded me of. Then it came to me: this.

    “Well, Donald Trump is ghastly. He’s just ghastly.” Liberal, thy name is Gloria Upson.

    • Tarzie says:

      Ha ha. That’s perfect.

      Nice to see you, Arthur.

    • No soy yo says:

      Though the liberals aren’t greeted with silence (except by the rest of the world), because they have their liberal friends all agreeing that it was just ghastly and trying to tell their own, even ghastlier version to outdo the last Gloria Upson. Then they can all decide on the smartest response to such ghastliness (let’s all sign up on a registry so the new Hitler won’t even need the NSA [et al]. He’ll have our addresses, phone numbers and email addresses! He’s just ghastly, and we’re so smart and compassionate!)

      I’m also glad to see you here!

      On a different thread here, someone asked for Netflix recommendations. They didn’t specify a theme or genre, but I’m sure you have lots of good recommendations of all types. I don’t think The Americanization of Emily is on Netflix but I’m very grateful you wrote about that, since it was so great and especially fitting considering the obsession (particularly by liberals) with heroes.

  3. Hummus says:


    Seriously though you’ve been linking me to great shit that I would have been reading had I known it was out there.

    • Tarzie says:

      Reblogging is my new thing now that I’m off twitter and can no longer promote things. Also taking a less labor intensive approach generally. Figured a lot of people were made unwell by the orgy of hypocrisy and childish drama that ensued after the election and might want to talk about it. Focusing on quantity to keep the conversation going.

  4. Rob Payne says:

    In one conversation I had with a liberal friend I tried to explain to him that I didn’t vote any longer because of the fact our government has destroyed whole nations, murdered millions of people, and all for the profit of a few and I didn’t want to condone it by voting, and he replied he’d thought about that and had decided that’s the way the world has always been and that’s how things work. And that’s why he’d vote for Hillary Clinton. I thought that was very humanitarian of him. Of course earlier in the conversation he asked me what all my other liberal friends asked me which was what was I gonna do, vote for Trump? In another conversation with a different friend I was criticizing Israel for their barbaric treatment of the Palestinians (among others) and his reply was that he was Jewish as if I didn’t know that he was Jewish or that this was supposed to devastate me in some way. I told him it wasn’t about being Jewish so he changed the topic. What I’ve noticed the most if you apply facts to liberals the most common reaction is that they will tell you that they don’t want to talk about it. I’d say if liberals are going to fight the so-called fascists then the so-called fascists have nothing to worry about.

    • Tarzie says:

      I’d say if liberals are going to fight the so-called fascists then the so-called fascists have nothing to worry about.

      As ever the reds will do the heavy lifting.

      • Rob Payne says:

        Yup, but Putin was yesterday’s Hitler, oh wait, he can’t be Hitler because he’s a commie, but today’s Hitler is Trump. My first friend did say that the Russians were killing civilians in Syria which meant that made the USA better in some way ignoring the fact that we’re responsible for an infinitely greater number of deaths in Syria. But this would require thought and self criticism. Can’t have that, wouldn’t be nice.

      • Tarzie says:

        Morals are for other people.

      • Hummus says:

        According to liberals, not only can you be a communist and Hitler at the same time, it’s the natural order of things.

    • Tarzie says:

      I’ve had the same experience. Their heads are a muddle and they don’t know anything. Talking to them is too much work and never accomplishes anything. I try not to talk politics with them anymore. I find it easier to talk politics with people who don’t strongly identify politically one way or the other. They generally have more on the ball due to a common sense understanding of power and basic morality. liberalism makes people dumb and amoral.

      • No soy yo says:

        There was a time when I thought Fox News viewers were way more clueless than MSNBC viewers, and more likely to mindlessly repeat things they heard on teevee. I was wrong, but I swear liberals are getting even more stupid and mindless as time goes on. Oh-so-smart Rachel Maddow (and Chris Hayes etc) seems to make people oh-so-stupid. I just watched a clip of Maddow on Youtube after not having seen her in years, and she was practically maniacal in her glee at her takedown of Trump for which she said totally false things (that “Peanut Gate” shows that presidents “have to” put their assets in a blind trust [it had to do with alleged diversion of election funds before he was elected, based on laws at the time], and blah blah blah.”) We talked about glee that Hillary lost not equalling glee that Trump won over at doloresvek, but based on her demeanor I swear that Rachel Maddow now feels glee at Trump’s win since she’ll be able to really show how smart and moral she is. As if presidents didn’t make choices every day to make themselves and their class richer, no matter where their assets were.

        Then of course on Twitter I saw someone repeat the same info (which is what made me watch the clip) in the same we’re smarter and more moral tone.

  5. wendyedavis says:

    may i add jeffrey st. clairs’ ‘Roaming Charges: When the Pterodactyls Came Home to Roost’, in which he describes the two different sorts of hubris that were in play in the dethroned red queen’s campaign?

    love your channeling maddow’s coming moral superiority, no soy yo.

  6. Hummus says:

    I suppose that a topic on American Liberals would be the perfect place for the Hummus Brooklyn Weekend Report

    I got out late on Friday night and really just aimlessly walked around awhile until I hit Franklin Ave, your one stop gentrification stop in Crown Heights. Most bars were packed so I hit Bunsmith since their food was pretty good the one time I had it on a night I couldn’t find any grass and a helpful stranger gave me some and we went there. I buy a beer. “$7.24 with tax, going to President Trump” says Liberal Bartender. I’m unsure if he wants to commiserate (if I were a bartender I’d be sick of talking about this shit the first day) or what but I take the bait, look him in the eye and said I didn’t vote. Liberal Bartender huffs and moves to the other side of the bar, where in a few minutes he would be talking about how terrible right wing extremists are, like that guy who did Waco.

    “David Koresh?” I ask.

    “No, that’s not him, he blew up the Federal building.” said Liberal Bartender.

    “Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City Federal Building, Waco was David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.”

    “Oh yeah, that’s it!”

    So clearly people do not even remember what has happened, at least in my own late 20s early 30s range. Paid and left. It wasn’t that bad compared to Saturday night.

    I was at the spot I’m usually at close to home meeting a friend of mine, who I’d describe using my own totally nebulous and meaningless term of “soft socialist,” and his friend, who is about the same. My friend’s friend was talking to some Liberal Photographer next to him who was doing the whole “this is awful fascism” spiel while I was talking with my friend. Eventually conversations merged and Liberal Photographer moved into “If You Didn’t Vote You Have No Right to Speak” country.

    “I didn’t vote.” I said.

    “THEN YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TALK AT ALL YOU GAVE IT UP.” Liberal Photographer starts shouting over me repeatedly, despite repeated attempts to get him to hear that yes, in fact, I did and would talk about it. But he just kept shouting so I could only laugh about it. The soft socialists were not impressed by his daunting rhetoric.

    • Tarzie says:

      Don’t you hate how they just assume you’re on their side and are just dying to commiserate? What the fuck does “$7.24 with tax going etc” even mean? Do these children think the president gets All The Money? I love that you’re seizing every opportunity to say you didn’t vote. You should start saying it to random strangers and report back.

      Liberals must secretly hate all their friends. Why else this scorched earth approach to everyone that didn’t fall in behind Hillary? Are they this vindictive about everything? The fact that they get worked up about not voting in a state as locked up for Clinton as New York shows they’re practicing religion, not politics. You failed to say the mandatory prayer, hummus. Or maybe the idiot doesn’t know what the Electoral College is, though considering that’s their new obsession, that’s unlikely.

      • No soy yo says:

        Liberals mostly don’t have friends that are seriously to the left of them. And they put their fingers in their ears when they do hear them, and get angry when forced to listen. Mentioning not voting and/or voting third party is the easiest way to get them hysterical. Look at the Coen op ed Arthur Silber talked about. I have too many liberals (family and old friends) on FB so I had to leave (though most of them unfollowed me during lead-up to election). There’s all this talk about listening to other people’s pain, etc., but there’s no millisecond of consideration of listening to a left analysis.

        One person posts, “don’t unfriend someone because they disagree with you, that’s what got us into this mess.” A friend of his replies, “what if their views are a threat to my family?” (not sarcastically: really wanting to know the response) and original poster says, “well, only you can decide, but I don’t see how limiting our circle can ever help.” So, the lesson from the election is, “be nice to and listen to racists,” but not actually think about the empire that Hillary represents, or analyze anything from a new point of view. These same people would probably still start screaming “Ralph Nader!” if you mention not voting.

    • Amish Rake Fight says:

      I enjoyed the report, Hummus, thanks for sharing. It echoes many experiences I’ve had. I notice that Liberals engage political discussion in precisely the same manner as the common liberal news and opinion websites. They are armed and ready to argue against a Republican, or anyone they view as being to their right, just as those websites do on an hourly basis. But against lefties, they can only sneer, condescend, and Nader-shame, again just like those websites do. Liberals like to think they are so much smarter than their Republican counterparts who watch Fox News, but they internalize and regurgitate their media in exactly the same way.
      To share my own anecdote, I recall when I was stopped on the sidewalk by a man who was volunteering for Greenpeace, gathering signatures or trying to sign up new members. He gave the usual spiel, and when I responded that I wasn’t interested because I have some serious problems with the way Greenpeace operates, he cut me off and asked if my misgivings were a result of reading the Wall Street Journal. It took several iterations before he finally understood that my critique of the organization was from the left, and at that point he basically wished me a good day. Either had no interest, or had no preparation, for engaging with a left critique, and was even stunned by the revelation that a left critique of Greenpeace could actually exist.
      At least he wasn’t an asshole about it. That was downright polite compared to most engagements I have with Liberals, and especially green Liberals. Typically you say is a reprehensible organization or something along those lines and they look at you like you just shot a kitten while simultaneously setting fire to a pile of old tires.

      Tarzie, thanks for providing the blog posts and re-blogs. The posts and comments have been a much-needed breath of fresh air after the nauseating election and the more nauseating aftermath.

  7. diane says:

    I loved this, thanks for the bleak smile regarding our proclaimed Thought Leaders™, Fried…:

    • diane says:

      (oops, the cheap dry red wine is having the desired effect, and I misspelled my bogus email address, but hey, I like that wordpress assigned ‘avatar’ better than the one they inexplicably reassigned to me recently, may switch to it.)

      • diane says:

        ( … for all Blue [/Red] STATE™ lurkers who just slurred me as a wino, just imagine your fave DemoRat Tool who regularly heavily imbibes prior to destroying the fate of billions, behind those Stunningly Insular Mahogany Walls which proclaim death for anyone in their way, do you label them as winos? I’m pretty sure I drink less than they do, but even if I didn’t … .

        in closing, )

      • Tarzie says:

        Diane —

        I deleted one comment because it seemed like a note to me and unimportant. Since you replied to yourself, your other comment went with it, which I didn’t notice. Everything is now restored above.

        I deleted the argument with Wendy because it was off-topic, in case you’re wondering about that too.

  8. Jacob says:

    This was great. Whenever I read something like this, I consider trying to share it with my liberal friends and family. I think that maybe, just maybe, someone will read it and actually engage. I don’t even really care if they like it and it changes their mind as I’ve already given up on that. Honestly, I just want to understand how someone can continue canonizing Obama and unironically think of themselves themselves as anti-racists after having been confronted with all the horrible shit that the Democrats have done. Just today, I’ve see liberal friends on Facebook denouncing Trump, talking about how much they’re gonna miss Obama and then demanding that people stand with Standing Rock. Their intellectual dishonesty is draining and it’s getting increasingly difficult to talk with them about stuff that isn’t even political.

    On a more positive note, on Saturday there was a White Lives Matter demonstration in Austin. Local antifas organized a counter protest and completely drowned them out. The nazis were surrounded and police had to escort them to their parking garage and blocked the entrance while they snuck out the back. There were several hundred antifas and only like 15 or 20 of them (some liberals too, but I think they got scared away by the “cops and klan go hand in hand” chants).

  9. RUKidding says:

    Most US citizens are blindingly uninformed about what is really happening at any level of government. And most US citizens, not just Fox-watching Republicans, are authoritarians. So-called Liberals or leftists or Democratic voters or whatever love to believe that it’s only rightwing troglodytes who are brainwashed by Fox/Rush/Christian Broadcasting/etc propaganda, and that somehow they have escaped all propaganda and live in “reality.” Then they read swill like Time, Newsweek, read the NYT, and listen to NPR, watch PBS “news” and think they’re “informed.”

    It’s equally as difficult to talk to my “liberal” friends as it is to talk to my rightwing fundie family members. They’re all deluded, and they all cling and grasp to their super special fairy tales about their “correct” POV. How many times have I heard friends and acquaintances gush and wax lyrically about what a “good man” Obama is, and he has “the best intentions,” but he’s just ever so “thwarted” by obstructionist Republicans? On the other side of me, I have rightwingers raging about what a Commie the Kenyan Usurper is and how he’s letting in “millions of illegals” and “stealing” all of our money. Which POV is more kooky? Which POV is more correct?

    It’s just that the left tends – not always but sometimes – to speak more politely, and sometimes (not always) can sound more, uh, rational. The right (at least from what I’ve experienced) tends to be more shouty and some of their propaganda is truly out there and/or just silly. But really there’s not that much difference.

    I’ve been horrified by Obama and what he’s done, and now there’s all this hand-wringing going on because Trump will be in office and have his tiny hands all over the levers, buttons, bells and whistles. Allegedly Obama was this sane and sensible and rational being, who only acted in the most correct and just ways, and now Trump will simply run rampant and go crazy nuts. Well EVEN IF that were true about Obama, why would he/the US populace NOT limit the power of the Executive based strictly on the FACT that eventually some nutcase will get in power??? Of course, it makes no sense, and of course, Obama was also a monster. He just was better at hiding his monsterousness behind a facade of cool, calm intellectualness that soothed a lot of liberals to sleep.

    I have no idea what Trump will do. Chances are he might be worse than Obama, in which case why did Obama and the putative “Democratic” party let that happen. But chances are more likely that he’ll be similar to Obama, which pretty bad, but possibly no worse. None of it’s good, but hand wringing and diefying Obama sure aren’t gonna solve anything.

    Clinton for sure would’ve been ready to start more Wars; she signaled just that in her campaign. Yet her sycophantic fanatical fans are all about how super duper “progressive” she is, and how everything would be ever so much better if Clinton won. Doubtful, expect possibly Civil Rights within our own Borders – all bets are off once you leave the USA – might have been protected somewhat more. Maybe it’s time US citizens started experiencing what a lot of what the rest of the world has to experience to finally awaken from their long slumbers… and see that they’re all monsters. And most of them mean harm. And most of them employ divide and conquer tactics which make a mockery of us chumps in the 99%. Will we ever learn? I’m not counting on it. US citizens just love the notion of Big Bad Authoritarian Daddy or Mommy to take over and tell us what to do whilst bullying, murdering, droning and torturing the rest of the planet.

    Good luck to us all.

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