A Facebook friend, maybe someone I’ve met once, maybe someone I’ve befriended only because we have a lot of common friends, noticed that it was my birthday recently and left me a FB message: “Happy Birthday to my favorite Lib.” Does he think I’m a liberal, I wonder, because I’ve posted a message recommending abolishment of the Second Amendment? Or because I’ve posted proposed legislation requiring every person and company involved in the manufacture, sale, ownership, and use of guns be held liable for all murder and mayhem perpetrated with those guns? I can see how someone might get the impression that I was a die-hard liberal from those posts. That someone would be correct.
But, if I’m one of those liberals, the l-word which is a dirty word these days to so many other Americans, then what does it mean that I did not berate the jury that found George Zimmerman innocent of homicide in the death of Trayvon Martin. What does it mean that I defend pharmaceutical companies in civil litigation, when any true liberal ought to think that someone suing such defendants must always be in the right or must always be given money regardless? What does it mean that I’m much more sympathetic to police officers these days and much more appreciative of the risks they take than I was when, as a much younger lawyer, I prosecuted police brutality cases?
Could it be that labels for people, as convenient as they may be, are ultimately lies? That truth about people and labeling of people cannot reasonably co-exist? When it comes to mental illness, for example, could it be that our elaborate names for various diseases shield real knowledge of the people who purportedly bear those diseases? It’s a question that is never far from my fiction.