Thursday 8 August 2013

What being liberal is for

Like all activists (I suppose I can claim to be semi active), I sometimes ask myself what it is all for. You stuff envelopes, you deliver leaflets (and every time you do, you think “There must be a better design of letter box”), you talk on doorsteps, you get buckets of abuse from people who know that all disabled people are faking it and all foreigners are living in million pound mansions at our expense, and all LibDems are liars (that one's really good, coming from some of the people who say it....).

You get fed up to the back teeth trying to talk in nuances to people whose lives are constructed of binary certainties made up for them by the Daily Mail. Britain good EU bad. White good immigrant bad. Hard working families good claimants bad. (Have you noticed how there seems to be no such thing as a hard working single person?)

You get conference papers and the motions have been earnestly constructed by Rubik's cube experts on speed. You keep doing it while people's jobs, hopes, lives remain miserable. Progress is very incremental, very gradual, sometimes we seem to be taking several steps back for each one forward, and then somebody else comes along and says we ought to be going sideways....

But just occasionally something happens that reminds you. This is one such thing. It didn't happen here, it happened in the USA, in Minnesota to be exact. But liberalism is global. “75 Unforgettable Moments From Minnesota’s First Day Of Marriage Equality” (hat tip to Jess Brammer). This is what being liberal is for. (I don't mind admitting I started crying around photo 6, and didn't stop till well after the end.)

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