Hollywood elites know nothing of real liberalism

Tim Paluch

Leave it to one of the greatest political minds of our time to sum up the current climate in Washington. This person put it brilliantly this weekend, calling on Democrats to get their asses in gear and stand up to “evil” Dubya and the Republicans.

The Republicans, this respected political analyst said, are “poisoning our air and water” and “poisoning the political system as well,” adding that the public is “being fooled by Bush.”

I am referring to recent comments made by none other than Barbra Streisand. Yes, the star of such classics (ha) as “Funny Girl” and “A Star is Born” has entered into the political arena of know-it-all pundits.

And, believe me, that auditorium is getting a little crowded.

Whether it be Alec “I still can’t find my passport” Baldwin, who threatened to leave the country if Dubya was elected, or Charlton Heston, who looked a lot better in his Planet of the Apes loincloth than he does in the suit-and-tie/sniper rifle combo he’s sporting these days, the number of celebrities claiming to be political activists is increasing.

And, with the exception of a few conservative celebrities like Heston, Mel Gibson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, most claim to be “liberal,” which in Hollywood is roughly translated as “one of the good guys.”

Unfortunately, Hollywood’s “limousine liberals” aren’t exactly progressive social muckrakers out there fighting for the little guy.

Sure, Julia Roberts can bash Dubya the night she wins some shiny gold award, but what does that do other than get her name in the next issue of Entertainment Weekly?

Julia may have played Erin Brockovich on the big screen, but I doubt worrying how to help the less fortunate keeps her up at night. In fact, I would be willing to bet it’s lights out as soon as her pretty little head hits her $2,000 pillow.

Whether they’re driving around in their limousines, wearing their outrageously expensive clothes or rejecting a movie offer that pays less than $10 million, celebrities are completely out of touch with populist progressive views that “liberalism,” their ideology of choice, is founded on.

I, myself, have been called a “liberal.” I have been called a “socialist extremist,” and I have been called a “Democrat.”

I disagree with all three. While I admit I tend to lean a little to the left on virtually every social issue, I don’t consider myself a Democrat, I surely don’t consider myself a socialist extremist, and I don’t consider myself a liberal, anymore.

That’s right, for the literally tens of regular readers out there who are hyperventilating with shock at that last statement, allow me to divulge.

I’m not a big fan of stereotypes, and just like I don’t throw every conservative into the Rush Limbaugh/Jesse Helms/”God hates fags” looney bin, I don’t want to be put into the same category as a bunch of richer-than-sin celebrities who think because they criticize the president to the national press, that makes them someone who fights for social justice and progressive causes.

So, to avoid all confusion, I am retiring as a liberal. Just like that, I’m done with the nonsense.

I am tossing my official laminated membership card into the fire, thereby elimating the possibility that someone will ever confuse my progressive and equality-driven political views with those of Julia, Alec and, of course, Barbra.

While I used to be able to stand up with pride and denounce the selfish conservative agenda in the name of “liberalism,” it has come time for me to hop off that soapbox and erect a new one.

And in case you were wondering, no, I haven’t gone over to the conservative side. Don’t hold your breath waiting for my David Horowitz-like metamorphisis. It’s not going to happen until I make my first million, at least.

Today, I am offering a new plate to eat from, another option for those out there who can’t seem to associate themselves with the media’s “liberals,” Washington’s “moderates” or the Lord’s “conservatives.”

Until I can think of a better, catchier name for my ideology, it will be referred to merely as “common-sensism.”

Common-sensism is founded upon the principles of, well, common sense.

I think I hear a question from the audience.

“What is the difference between a common-sensist and a liberal?”

Well, the main difference between the two is that a common-sensist will remain consistent on issues when confronted by big business, special interests and public opinion polls.

Common-sensists will not compromise our political ideologies. Democrats, like Al Gore, for example, waver between centrism and liberalism depending on the public climate at the time.

Gore, an ardent supporter of the death penalty, increased military spending, welfare reform and free, but not necessarily fair, trade, was called a liberal. Clinton shared virtually identical political views. He was called a liberal, too.

So, I wondered, why would I share ideology taglines with people who I disagree whole-heartedly with?

Clinton may have been a liberal, but he is no common-sensist. After promising to curb pollution outputs by major corporations during his two campaign runs, the Clinton Administration was silent in the environment arena until the last month of office, when he enacted policy for the sole purpose of having Dubya eliminate it a month later.

People don’t remember the old bad guy when there’s a fresh one on television everyday.

Common-sensists see a problem with killing someone to prove that killing someone else is wrong.

Common-sensists think it’s wrong for rich, white old men to tell a woman that they have to have their unwanted baby and then cut that baby off of welfare.

And we common-sensists see something wrong when big-business has the power to persuade our beloved government to forget the necessity of environmental health in favor of corporate profit and campaign contributions.

I think the ideology will catch on. How can’t it?

I guarantee that I am not the only person out there who hates being called a liberal, especially when that illustrious stereotype includes Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton and Julia Roberts.

A “liberal” who says things for the camera and then does things for themself only, is not kosher with me.

I think it is time for a change, and what better person to initiate that change than a midwestern college newspaper columnist?

Don’t be surprised if the next time you turn on Crossfire on CNN, you see a conservative, a liberal and a common-sensist.

Rejoice, the left has a new ideology, one that doesn’t include Rosie O’Donnell, Doug Flutie or Tom Arnold.

So, if you lean left with your political views but don’t want to be tossed into the same bucket as Julia, Barbra and all the other Hollywood “liberals,” come join my side.

Tim Paluch is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Orland Park, Ill. He is wire editor of the Daily.