Sunday, June 01, 2008

Liberals are the new Cassandra

We all know the story of Cassandra. In the Greek myth, Cassandra was the daughter of Trojan king Priam. She was loved by Apollo, who taught her prophecy, and tried to seduce her. When she refused, he placed a curse on her: no one would believe her prophecies, even though she was always right.

It was Cassandra who warned the Trojans not to let that big wooden horse through the walls.

Liberals are the new Cassandra. So reviled are our prophecies that we are often ashamed of ourselves. Most of us can't even stomach the word "liberal." No, we are "progressives," a Republican term borrowed from the era of Teddy Roosevelt.

Yet time after time, our prophecies come true. We predicted the disaster in Iraq, the economic meltdown we're now experiencing, the petroleum shortage, the resurgence of Al Qaeda-like extremism in the Middle East, and the ravages of global warming that are already impacting low-lying areas in the Pacific and the polar ice caps.

We are the new Cassandra. Long after our prophecies have come true, we are ignored and even reviled in favor of those pundits on the right who were wrong and yet are still consulted on all the news programs. Those are the "prophets" who predicted a cakewalk in Iraq, the fanciful idea that lower taxes increase tax revenue, the "liberal hoax" theory of global warming, the notion that we could wipe out extremism by military force abroad and by limiting our civil rights at home. With a track record like that, why are these people still being consulted?

Like Cassandra, liberals continue to be branded as crazy or even malevolent. Yet our predictions come true, with monotonous regularity. The next time you scoff at a crazy liberal prediction, take notes. Knowing the future can come in handy.

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