Liberals are dreamers. I have proof.
According to the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, a dream researcher from John F. Kennedy University in California studied the dream sequences of self-described liberals and conservatives. The researcher's name is Kelly Bulkeley.
Bulkeley found, in a nutshell, that liberals are restless sleepers who have a higher number of bizarre, distorted dreams, whereas conservatives are more likely to sleep well and have dreams that portray normal characters, settings and activities.
Here's one interesting finding: Both liberals and conservatives have amorous dreams but they sure do go about it differently.
Liberals are far more likely to dream of wild encounters with strangers or a variety of partners. Liberal women are far more likely to dream of themselves with other women.
Conservatives, on the other hand, are far more likely to have such dreams about their spouses or current partners probably while fully clothed with the lights off, and only after the kids are asleep.
Bulkeley found another key difference. Whereas conservative dreams focus on the here and now, liberal dreams have no boundaries.
"Liberals don't just dream about what is," says Bulkeley, "but what could be or what they wish could be."
A world in which dictators are nice? Or religious extremists become atheists? Or Teddy Kennedy is sober?
Another difference: Conservatives show a higher tendency for lucid dreaming. That is, they're aware they're asleep and able to wake themselves if the dream gets rocky.
I do this all the time. When I have one recurring nightmare that it's Monday afternoon and I'm way behind on a deadline I simply will myself awake. Unfortunately, when I wake it's usually Monday afternoon and I'm way behind on a deadline.
Another interesting finding: Conservative males sleep the most soundly and tend not to remember their dreams, whereas liberal women are the most restless sleepers and fantastical dreamers and they remember plenty.
That makes perfect sense. Many conservative males have a good job, a nice home and a lovely wife. Such an existence promotes sound sleeping.
But I don't know how liberal women sleep at all. How could anyone get some shut-eye with so many people, real and imagined, jumping in and out of the bed?
Which brings us to bad dreams. Liberals, at the moment, have a much higher frequency of nightmares. Bulkeley thinks this has to do with the current political climate. Liberals fear and loathe Bush, and have nightmares about it (when Clinton was president, conservatives had more nightmares).
For instance, one female liberal dreamt that Bush won the election with 80 percent of the vote. A male liberal said he dreamt he was at a presidential rally. Bush said to the crowd, "We should be proud to sacrifice our freedoms for America!" and the crowd went wild. This caused the male liberal to wake in a cold sweat.
Bulkeley says that although dreams appear to be jumbled and mixed up, they are actually expressing a complex but meaningful language of symbol and metaphor. Dreams mean things. And a good dream, properly interpreted, can help us better understand ourselves and the world.
What's just as interesting is that everybody dreams even dogs. Which reminds me of an old Garry Shandling line: "What is a dog nightmare, anyhow? You're drinking out of the toilet and the lid falls on your snout?"
In any event, Bulkeley concludes that our dreams provide an accurate reflection of contemporary American politics. And though the research reinforces the stereotype that conservatives are repressed and uptight, Bulkeley says it also shows that many liberals may be hanging on the edge of well-being.
I couldn't agree more. Just last week I dreamt of a beautiful woman. She asked me who I was going to vote for and I told her. She screamed so loudly she nearly woke the dead.
She was a liberal and I was her nightmare.