Dear Tell All: I'm a classic Madison liberal in most ways. I lived in a housing co-op, worked for nuclear disarmament, fought against Apartheid, picketed against both Iraq wars, marched in Take Back the Night rallies, and voted for Mondale, Clinton and Gore. I still believe in all my old principles, but as I get older, I find myself parting ways with local liberals more and more. Sometimes, it feels like the positions they take just lack common sense.
For example, there's the outrage over the Dane County sheriff's habit of reporting the illegal immigrants in his jail to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Well, these people are not only living in the country illegally, but have actually committed crimes. Aren't those pretty good reasons for reporting them?
On another law enforcement issue, liberal activists have decried the city's attempts to nudge the vagrants and panhandlers out of Lisa Link Peace Park via the recent renovation. Hmmm. Would shooing away the people who cause a nuisance really be the most horrible thing that ever happened to State Street?
Regarding public employees, I value them highly and count many as my friends. And I'm strongly offended by the recent attempts to demonize them. But in a time of economic crisis, is it really so unfair to ask them to pay in a bit more money for their pensions? Myself, I get no pension at all in the private firm where I work.
A lot of people I know hate President Obama for not fighting more aggressively for liberal causes. Some of them say they won't even vote for him again after his various compromises with Republicans. But to me, compromise seems like a necessary part of governing a multifarious country. Liberals who expect a Democratic president to give them everything they want - or else - seem a little infantile.
Given these kinds of conflicts with my liberal friends, I don't even know what to call myself anymore. Do you?
Dear Neo-Something: I do think there's a word for what you've be-come, but you probably won't like it: "conservative."