The real problem is that liberals, both on an institutional and a personal level, have chosen to treat for-profit propaganda as news. In so doing, we have helped redefine liberalism as an essentially reactionary movement. Rather than initiating discussion, or advocating for more humane policy, we react to the most vile and nihilistic voices on the right.
I’m as heartbroken as the next liberal at the cynicism of the Republican Party and the inability of Democrats to confront them in blunt moral terms. But as Americans, we are endowed with the freedom to vote for the sort of democracy we want — not just at the ballot booth, but with our attention and energy. The more we devote to amplifying conflict, the less we listen to each other. Which is precisely what those special interests want: a nation too distracted by wrath to follow the money.
My personal goal is simple: to go cold turkey on conservative wing nuts and instead take up the hard work of genuine political action. It’s time for all of us — liberal, conservative and otherwise — to define ourselves as Americans not by who we hate but by what we can do to strengthen our communities and country.