The caboose in today’s Reader Mail is pretty funny with a young liberal inviting Bill Tucker to spend some time in rural Pennsylvania with him–cue AmSpec slumber party-esque chit chat as to whether such a trip would constitute a date–where he will presumably continue to take our esteemed colleague to task for a recent column “What Conservatives Want.” His letter reads, in part: Liberalism makes sense to me. I like the idea of making sure that my neighbor is taken care of. And I like the idea of my neighbor taking care of me.
Okay, so then…take care of your neighbor. Do you really need the government or Bill Tucker to validate that dream before you make it a reality? Is Barack Obama’s ascension the starting gun to allow young liberals to stop lecturing and start actually–gasp!–living up to their professed ideals? Then again, I suppose leading by example is a quaint notion in a nation that has spent the last 100 years convincing itself it is more noble to compel with state power than force of argument. (No, Young Liberal, I obviously do not believe Republicans are guiltless on this point.) Charity is the business of the government and not the individual, etc., etc. It’s sad to see people so convinced of their own personal impotence making declarations of faux strength like: You guys blew it. It’s our turn now. Turn to do what? Let someone else do it for you, yet again?
Alas, we’re asked to believe people who by their own admission cannot hope without a certain politician they’ve never met winning the presidency are the ones who will empower us. Nonesense. Having come up in the kind of towns and trailer parks Russell Banks has made a career of detailing and, thus, knowing the kind of people this kid claims to have come to know between episodes of The Daily Show, I can’t help but suggest he give himself another in-depth tour of his town before he brings Bill Tucker down there. I think he’ll find his neighbors don’t feel nearly as bad for themselves as he feels for them.