Rosetta Stone has quite a catalogue of languages you can learn. Want to vacation down in Mexico and sound like a local? Then pick up their program on Spanish. Planning a business trip next year to China but don’t speak Mandarin? Rosetta Stone can help you. And yet, with all of the languages they offer, there is one that is curiously absent. It’s a sort of ubiquitous Esperanto that isn’t bound geographically, ethnically, economically or politically. It’s called, “Liberal.” That’s right: Liberal.
Do you speak Liberal? It’s a language many of us hear in our day-to-day lives, be it at work, sporting events, or dinner parties. Family reunions are a great place to pick up this language, as are European vacation spots or the urbanized ghettos of major U.S. cities. It’s also used frequently on television and in various media outlets by those who are skilled in the nuances of this elastic dialect. No matter where you go, we guarantee that you’ll meet someone conversant in this language. And oh, that accent! A hint of Russian mixed with University French and populous Greek … no wonder the Liberal tongue is so seductive and exotic.
As with learning any language, you’ll miss something substantive unless you’re completely immersed in it. That’s because the Liberal language is linguistically sophisticated. It often selects words that have historical meaning to most people, it deconstructs them, and then it utilizes them in subversive, unexpected ways. For instance, if there were such a thing as the Liberal Lexicon, you would find key words such as fairness, justice, diversity and profit. What traditionalists hear and what the Liberal language is conveying are usually two different things.
One of the most significant words to be found in our hypothetical Liberal Lexicon is tolerance. The entry might read something like this: Tolerance: 1) the ability to present your position in a hostile-free environment while simultaneously demeaning those who disagree with you; 2) a virtue in which opposition is silenced through fear, intimidation and potential litigation; 3) a word used to cloak what traditionalists call “intolerance”; and 4) a quality that is exclusively found in those who speak fluent Liberal.
By way of example, Dan Savage had some incredibly memorable things to say to a number of high school students at a journalism seminar held a couple of weeks ago. Maybe his comments regarding Scripture or his creative use of the English language to identify the adolescent followers of Christ sounded intolerant, but because Savage speaks Liberal, this simply can’t be the case. Traditionalists heard inflammatory speech by an angry bully, but Savage was only speaking with clarity and righteous indignation. After all, those Christian students were simply getting a taste of their own acidic medicine. It’s about reciprocity, right? You see, the funny thing about speaking Liberal is that using it immediately insulates you from any criticism. It’s a free pass. It’s the attractive friend who gets you in the night club while all the other suckers have to wait outside.
Ironically, after having written a recent column about Dan Savage and his obvious lack of true gayness, he hasn’t said much. Frankly, those who would usually defend the outspoken activist rarely mentioned his name when they blogged their disdain for our article. They were able to call us names, though … and plenty of them. They read our hearts, knew our intentions and explained what was in the core of our souls. The only conclusion one fluent in Liberal could draw was that we were (please remove young children from the room now)… intolerant. You see, when it came to investigating our motives there was plenty to say. But when it was time to address the substance of the article it was as quiet as the loser’s locker room after the Super Bowl.
We know Savage supports the Day of Silence, but it’s now turned into two weeks. We’re not trying to rattle the cage of a Savage beast, though we are curious why he hasn’t responded. Maybe he’s giving new meaning to yellow journalism. Maybe he doesn’t want to call further attention to this incident because it makes him look a little duplicitous. Or maybe he hasn’t responded because the language we used has become foreign to him. Whatever the reason, we’re still waiting to hear back. “Daaaaan. Daaaaan. Mr. Saaavaaage? Come out, come out, wherever you are. …”
Perhaps we should have a little get-together, a debate, of sorts. We’d like to discuss this incident, not spin it or sweep it under the rug. We’d like to chat with him about what tolerance does and does not look like. We’d like to know why his campaign, “It Gets Better,” only addressed the emotional assuagement of homosexual youth but didn’t factor in the Centers for Disease Control report regarding the extreme health risks and shorter life expectancies of practicing male homosexuals. We’d also like to know why he continues to equate the current social struggles of homosexuals with what black Americans experienced in the Jim Crow South. So, there it is: an open invitation to have dialogue, not diatribe. A chance to respectfully debate positions, not deride people. We’ve seen what he can do with seasoned 15-year-olds; now let’s see if he’s willing to talk with people who have a little more life experience.
For us, the intolerance in his tolerance is intolerable. Then again, we don’t really speak Liberal. We hear it, but don’t quite understand it. But from what we are told, it’s not that difficult to learn. Just kick back, join an Occupy movement, ridicule traditional values, let the government nurse you from cradle to grave, and you’ll be speaking Liberal in no time at all.