It's no secret that a lot of liberals nowadays don't want to be called ... liberals. Can you blame them? In recent years the word has taken a beating; conservatives would say, for good reason. So instead of liberal, the word many of them choose is … progressive.
Who's against progress? But euphemisms can't hide inconvenient truths: that too many liberals have forgotten how to be liberal - and too many progressives act more like "regressives."
Take race. Remember when liberals were the ones leading the fight to dismantle segregation? When they were the ones who wanted to take skin color out of the equation? Today, it's progressives who sound like George Wallace.
On college campuses around the country, liberals still care about racial segregation - but not the way liberals used to care about it.
At some schools they want a "safe space" reserved for students of color - no whites allowed. At Evergreen State in Olympia, Washington, students demanded a day with no whites on campus. At several other colleges, they're offering segregated housing for black students. And a few weeks ago, Harvard held a special graduation ceremony — for black graduate students only. It's the first time in the schools long history they've done anything like that.
Free speech, once the hallmark of American liberalism has also taken a hit. We all know about those sanctimonious college kids who shout down speakers whose views they don't like. No need to go down that road for the thousandth time.
What else, besides segregation, do progressives - and not just the kids on campus — celebrate? Well, how about terrorists.
At the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City, one of the participants will be Oscar Lopez Rivera - the "prime recruiter" for the terrorist group FALN. In the 1970s and '80s FALN carried out more than 130 bombings that left six people dead. This apparently didn't bother the progressives who organized the parade; they had originally named Lopez Rivera its first-ever National Freedom Hero. A backlash stopped that, but he’ll still march. Rivera had been serving a long prison term until a well-known man of the Left — President Barrack Obama — granted him clemency just before he left office.
And why is it that a lot of progressives get more worked up over President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord than they do about ISIS?
Mark Hertsgaard, the environment writer at the far-left Nation magazine, wrote a piece that echoes what a lot of progressives are thinking: that the president's decision on Paris amounts to "murder" and a "crime against humanity."
"To refuse to act against global warming is to condemn thousands of people to death and suffering today and millions more tomorrow," he wrote. "This is murder, even if Trump's willful ignorance of climate science prevents him from seeing it."
It would be nice if progressives could muster that kind of passion and anger over what ISIS does. But it's liberals who tell us to calm down, that we have a better chance of getting hit by lightening than being killed by a terrorist. Climate change, the progressives tell us, is the biggest threat to our national security - not ISIS.
And then too many on the Left make excuses for terrorists; they're poor, uneducated, alienated young men, they tell us - even when they're not. But anyone who doesn't stay up nights worrying about the climate gets no such sympathy; instead they're called "deniers" - not by accident, the same word used to describe lunatics who believe the Holocaust never happened.
Full disclosure: I used to be a liberal when I was younger. But as things "progressed," being pro-choice wasn't good enough. Liberals had to be for a woman's right to choose - no matter what. That presumably included late term abortion on grounds that women are the only ones who can decide what they want to do "with their bodies" - even when the fetus is really a baby days away from birth.
And we liberals were supposed to embrace the nutty feminist idea that women had some kind of constitutional right to be firefighters just because that's what they wanted — even women who weren't strong enough to carry a big man out of a burning building.
And I could never figure out how a black kid from a good upper middle class family was more worthy of affirmative action points than a white Anglo Saxon Protestant kid from West Virginia whose father worked in a coal mine. How was that white boy privileged?
It just got to be too much. Liberalism became something I no longer recognized. I didn't want to be on that team anymore. But I'm pretty sure I didn't leave the Left; it's more like the Left left me. And I'm not alone.
We get a daily barrage of news about how bad off we are with Donald J. Trump in the White House. About how unfit he is to be President of the United States. About how he has "obstructed justice" and, who knows, may even be a traitor. About how any day now he'll be impeached.
I wonder if the liberals who detest this president ever think about how they're a very big reason he got elected.
He is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey and a member of the school's Hall of Distinguished Alumni and proprietor of BernardGoldberg.com.