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Left at the Altar

A new website offers liberal love

By Gersh Kuntzman

FINALLY, someone is being honest about the link between political activism and gettin' some action. For too long, we've been fed the myth that young people who get involved in political campaigns do so because they are committed to Big Ideals, Great Candidates or Other Capitalized Nouns.

But a new website admits that there's another motivating factor: Hooking Up. The website, actforlove.org, is the latest master stroke by political animal/Internet buzzmeister John Hlinko. Hlinko is one of those guys who have figured out how to actually get some use out of the Internet. Hlinko helped create MoveOn.org, one of the web's most successful political crusades. Now, he wants you to meet Mr. or Miss Right (or, more accurately, Mr. or Miss Left). "My sister met her husband on Match.com and I met my fiancee online, so I said, 'Why fight this trend?'" says Hlinko. "If you can get people interested in activism by helping them get some action, too, that's a great thing." So ActForLove promises to create "an ever-growing network of activist singles--and turn them into activist doubles."

Considering how we liberals are constantly being told that we're a dying breed, we've got to do something to protect our numbers--and, more importantly, save valuable time. If you hook up with someone on Match.com, for example, it could take four dates before you find out that he drives an SUV, believes in the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war or thinks that federal anti-pollution regulations are destroying corporate competitiveness.

You know Hlinko is onto something because Rush Limbaugh lampooned ActForLove in a recent, post-rehab column. Clearly, Rush is terrified that like-minded lefties will no longer be watering-down their political strength in mixed marriages.

"Why do these people need a website? They all go to the same protests and they can meet each other there," mocked Limbaugh, as if only liberals protest things or attend rallies. Then Limbaugh further mocked the whole idea by offering his parody of an ActForLove personal: "Tall, blonde, 'No Blood for Oil' activist seeks same. Let's have fair-trade coffee sometime."

Limbaugh's parody pretty much describes the liberal of my dreams. In reality, though, you'd have to be a pretty darn committed liberal to date some of these people. One man confesses that he's currently reading "a treatise on the rise of Western quantification from 1250-1350. Yes, I am a geek." And another confesses, "I'm horribly bored, so I'm always up for doing pretty much whatever you've got planned. No scheduling conflicts to worry about with me!" (Sample conversation with this guy: "I don't know, what do you want to do tonight?" "I don't know, what do you want to do tonight?")

Even the women raise red flags. One, for example, claims to be "bisexual, in great shape, and a pretty good vegan cook" (well, one out of three ain't bad). Another says that one of her most attractive features is that "I know how to spell and use correct grammar." (Too bad for her, however, because another woman seems to be targeting the same men: "I can use apostrophes correctly.")

Look, I'm not above such things. The truth is that I was a loser in high school (actually, "loser" is too generous. I was the idiot who always wanted to know your favorite Star Trek episode). I've come a long way since then (although if you say "The Trouble With Tribbles," you lose)--and I have Ronald Reagan to thank.

See, when Reagan became president, college students like me were still much more likely to be liberal. So anything Reagan did--from claiming that the ketchup in school lunches qualified as a vegetable, to illegally funding the Nicaraguan contras, to hoping that silence would end the AIDS epidemic--sent us scurrying to the College Green decrying the end of civilization. It may sound as though I was passionate about my country but, really, I was just trying to meet women.

If Al Gore had only invented the Internet a decade earlier, I could have avoided a lot of frustration.


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From the February 18-25, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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