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Are you a progressive? Well, no, you say, I'm a good conservative Republican. Besides, progressive is just another word for liberal and liberals are bad. Well let's imagine some scenarios and see if you really believe what you think you believe.

Imagine you arrived at work this morning and there was a memo informing you that your hours were being changed from Monday through Friday, 8am to 4:30pm to Monday through Saturday, 6am to 6:30pm. No problem, right? You'll just find another job with more reasonable hours. Except every other company you contact has instituted the same policy. Some even require work on Sunday or 14-hour days.

While this is really not the best situation to find yourself in, you comfort yourself with the thought of all those extra hours in your paycheck. 72 hours in a week... 32 of that will be time-and-a-half... boy, you'll be raking it in. You're not sure when you'll have time to spend it, but money's money, right?

When payday comes, though, your new check looks an awful lot like your old check. Sure, the number in the hours column is bigger, but the final dollar amount is the same as it was the week before. Convinced there must be some mistake, you storm into HR and demand they fix it right away. They, of course, look at you like you've lost your mind and inform you that if you don't get back to work you won't have a check at all next week.

Could this get any worse? Unfortunately, yes. Upon closer inspection, your check isn't a check at all. It's a voucher for store credit at your local Walmart. Attached is a note stating that your company has been purchased by Walmart, Inc., and these stores will provide all your necessary goods and services from now on.

Now, this could never happen, of course. We have laws that prevent this sort of thing. But have you ever stopped to think about how those laws came about? Who decided that workers deserve a decent wage and reasonable hours and time off on the weekends? Progressives, that's who. And how did they convince business owners to go along with this? They formed unions, went on strike, pleaded their case in the press and to their elected representatives. And for their trouble they were vilified as traitors, beaten, had the Army called out to crush their efforts. Thankfully, they persisted and public sentiment finally swung in their favor. Otherwise you might be working your fingers to the bone today with nothing to show for it at the end of the week but a Walmart gift card.

Now imagine it's November and you're headed to the polls to vote. Are you a woman? Might as well stay home. Black? Well, you can try, but you better study up on state and federal laws... like how many years are military appropriations good for?... or does enumeration affect the income tax levied on citizens of the various states? [Note: those are actual questions on the 1965 Alabama literacy test.]

Just one more. Imagine you were honorably discharged from the Marines after spending the last 18 months destroying IEDs in Iraq. Unfortunately, your legs didn't make it back home with you. Both were amputated above the knee and, on top of that, you lost your hearing in the blast. Well, thanks for your service, but you're going to have to buy your own wheelchair and pay your own medical bills when one of your stumps gets infected. I'm sure it won't be easy, but life isn't fair sometimes. Maybe your family can help you out or a local charity could spare some money.

Those are all horrible scenarios and most of us are too young to imagine them happening here. But they did. And they would still be happening if not for progressives. Conservatives weren't fighting to pass the War Risk Insurance Act for WWI veterans in 1917. Conservative women weren't tortured in prison psychiatric wards in 1916 for daring to demand their right to vote. Those weren't buses full of conservatives that were attacked in Anniston and Birmingham and Montgomery in the 60s. They were progressives. They were progressives and so are you, whether you are Republican, Democrat or Independent. You are fooling yourself if you believe otherwise.

Originally posted to MrCatullus on Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 08:17 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  good diary (0+ / 0-)

    but the so called "progressives" who gather here to trash the President have done more to slime the term than Glenn Beck ever dreamed of...I'll prefer "liberal" henceforth.

    "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

    by durrati on Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 08:21:06 PM PST

  •  Wait, what?! (0+ / 0-)

    If you trust the CoC, I've got a public option to sell you. -- accumbens

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 08:26:24 PM PST

  •  what planet is this from (0+ / 0-)

    Every salaried employee I know works 10 hour days 6 or 7 days a week.  There are so many exemptions to the wage and hour laws hardly anybody qualifies anymore.  And I've never seen a law about getting paid in US currency or scrip.  If a company pulled that on an employee, that would a contract dispute settled through the courts, just as it would have been in the 19th century. All of the early 20th century concessions to labor went out with the end of the threat of world communism.

    "The politics of failure have failed. We must make them work again." - an alien

    by Marcion on Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 08:30:40 PM PST

    •  the larger point being (0+ / 0-)

      that the progressive movement did not manage to bring about fundamental change in the exploitative relationships on which capitalism is based. All it managed to do was get a few scraps from the table, all of which have been paid for by roundabout exactions from the same people who receive the so called benefit. That's why people don't want them anymore, that's why you can have an expansion of health care benefits that's met with a huge collective, "God no!" from a public being strangled by rising premiums instituted by an industry that is now slowly merging with the state and with whom the government will now be forcing us to contract.

      "The politics of failure have failed. We must make them work again." - an alien

      by Marcion on Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 08:33:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We are (6+ / 0-)

    But really, it isn't hard to find people who do still oppose all the things you say.  Lots of Randroids waiting to give you stern lectures about productivity and mooching for supporting child labour laws and the 40 hour work week.

    Grover Norquist most famously said that thing about bathtubs, but less famously said he wanted to return America to the days before Teddy Roosevelt and the socialists took over.  Yes, he's serious about repealing the laws passed in response to Sinclair's The Jungle and the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, and children falling into machines and company towns and all the horrors you outline above.

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