Tuesday, February 24, 2009


A kind of hush seems to have fallen over Progressiveland.

A month ago, a year ago, or six years ago--whatever the political topic of the day and wherever I went in the liberal community where I live--I encountered animated exchanges of remarkably similar opinions. Almost everyone seemed to agree on political matters--no questions asked. Clearly, all these similar opinions were being fed by the same set of fashionable liberal sources.

In the last three weeks, however, as Americans observed President Obama's wild ride into the presidency, the liberal ruckus has quieted, at least in my neck of the woods. Groupthink seems to be in hiding. Wander wherever you choose in my neighborhood, you will not hear that progressives are about to save the world, the environment, or even the prisoners of Guantánamo Bay.

What is behind this sudden silence? Some quiet embarrassment, I think, a growing suspicion of having been taken to the cleaners. A slow coming to terms with what it might cost to hold true to one's professed ideals while gale-force winds rip away one's financial security and shred one's cherished plans. A face looking back from the mirror. These are not moments much enlightened by fashion.

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