It means we are all in this together and no one is left out. We understand that democracy is based on trust and we work to build it further with even those who disagree with us. This social cohesion means an effective safety net must be active at all times and bolstered during tough economic periods. It means systemic racism must be believed when described by its targets, then exposed and eradicated.
To be progressive means to want society's progress to include all of our people. It means we value cultural diversity because this diversity creates strength. It means E Pluribus Unum, unity within plurality not conformity to majoritarian wishes.
To be progressive means to want a future that is socially and economically sustainable and to take concrete steps towards that. It means understanding power comes from nature if we work in harmony with it rather than by destroying it. Pollution and waste are cleaned up at their sources of production, bringing a future free of the ravages of energy accidents and cumulative poisons and colored green with lush abundance, filled with healthy, happy, active citizens.
It means understanding the difference between capitalism that favors owners of capital and lends unfair advantage, and truly free enterprise which maintains a level playing field for all, open to commerce with fair play at all levels.
Progressive means people and corporations are taxed according to their means to pay. Profitable corporations pay plenty in taxes and in doing so help maintain the infrastructure they help wear down. It means regulating concentrations of power and wealth not the private lives and personal choices of individuals. Public institutions are not for sale to be privatized for the benefit of for-profit interests.
It means wages that are actually enough to live on and are automatically adjusted for cost of living without requiring an act of Congress. If prices can rise without an act of Congress so should wages. Worker organization for collective bargaining is not only a right, but is actively protected by the government.
Progressive means women are truly equal to men in wages paid for equal work and equal in respect for the autonomy over their bodily persons.
It means housing and health care are fundamental human rights and there is no glory for a society that treats those without homes as criminals and denies medical care to those with deadly diseases. These conditions are evidence of a regressive system that needs to be repaired and re-balanced.
It means we actually believe in the Bill of Rights and see it as part of the foundation of legitimate government. Those freedoms are not just rights of the people, but define the limits of governmental power.
It means a society that works systematically for peace and uses diplomacy as its favored tool. It keeps the mechanisms of war-making under control and publicly accountable to adhere to the same ethics of honesty and disclosure that guide our lives as citizens. This society takes care of its soldiers and only calls upon them to fight when we are actually threatened and only so long as is reasonable so they may return to their families and loved ones to heal. It does not penalize them for speaking out against human rights abuses or other offenses committed by their government or the military, but gives them a formal process for registering their grievances.
It means respecting the agreements our government has made with autonomous tribal nations. It means holding our government accountable to make reparations for past wrongs and changing its ways so that it cannot continue the pattern. It means directly admitting to each offended American Indian nation these acts of government sponsored brutality and genocide and begging forgiveness.
It means the Golden Rule. We treat others the same way that we would want to be treated in their situation. People before profits. People over property.
It means that Lady Liberty still stands as Mother of Exiles, torch bearer of human dignity and liberty, and welcomes still the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free.