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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.

Originally posted to Kannon McAfee on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 10:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It also means... (13+ / 0-)

    Restorative Justice that engages offenders in personal reparations and restoration to membership in community before throwing them into a prison system for first offenses or "crimes" without victims. It means publicly owned and governed prisons that profit no private interest and tolerate no extra-judicial punishments or or other violations of human rights.

    People are always more valuable than properties.

    by Kannon McAfee on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 10:16:21 AM PDT

    •  I didn't really learn what (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FarWestGirl

      Restorative Justice was, until I attended sort of a neighborhood workshop in it last summer. It's a very interesting model. I feel it holds a lot of promise in this society, as some kind of alternative to for-profit prisons, and in general.

      Where Restorative Justice falls down, in modern western culture, is that it is so time-intensive. To do a proper mediation, takes days--several evenings, at least--and involves many people. Most of us, most of the time, wouldn't be able to swing this.

      I heard of a case recently where a man was beaten, savagely and without provocation, by strangers several years ago. The aggressors were arrested and charged. One of them got out of jail time, or had it shortened, by agreeing to speak to his victim, in a restorative-justice, or modified restorative-justice, format. Literally, the victim got to hear the aggressor tell him, in his own words, why he'd kicked him in the head repeatedly. The victim got to tell the aggressor about how lasting neurological deficits from that attack had affected his life. The two agreed to do community outreach, to give presentations together. As far as I know, this mutual project is in the works. Powerful stuff.

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:52:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        karmsy

        Restorative Justice is time/effort intensive. I think it is a matter of holding on to this model and continuing to learn it and develop it more so that we can get better at it.

        The more trained mediators we have who are willing to wade in and face some failures, the sooner the methods will become better perfected.

        I applaud you for taking the mediation workshop in your neighborhood. Maybe you are just ahead of your time. That's the way it is often with progressives. It is important, however, that we not give up or lose heart, but ask ourselves the internal questions along the lines of 'this is good, but what are the flaws and how can it be perfected?' -- Meditate on it a while and talk to others. Your contribution could be absolutely invaluable not just in your own community, but to future generations everywhere.

        People are always more valuable than properties.

        by Kannon McAfee on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:08:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary! I second all you said. Would add that (8+ / 0-)

    being progressive means enacting laws that eliminate or limit the private profits that can be made from our nation's engaging in war.

    The right of the women of this State to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches shall not be violated by the State legislature.

    by Mayfly on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 10:20:31 AM PDT

  •  An important reminder (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leema, micsimov, praenomen, Chi, CenPhx, starduster

    Being progressive is about advancing these principles both through policy and in advocacy alike

    There’s no way for a healthy human being to maintain the level of outrage warranted by the situation. - Dave Roberts, grist.org

    by Mindful Nature on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 10:40:01 AM PDT

  •  And might I add, (11+ / 0-)

    Progress is, by nature, an incremental thing. Sometimes it takes big jumps but mostly it is inch by inch.
    Where a lot of "Progressives" get into trouble is expecting that we will make massive changes, overnight, without regard for the displacements that can follow such earthquakes.
    The perfect example of this is the push for Single Payer.
    SP is my goal, always has been, but we can't make that change, to a Brit-style National Health overnight as many people were adamantly demanding. The ACA is a baby step in the right direction in that it 1) is a reform (getting any organized reform AT ALL has resisted passage for 75 years) and 2) it has within it the seeds for a gradual evolution into a Single Payer system (by expanding MedicAid as part of the exchanges).
    I would love to see the Insurance Industry pushed out of healthcare, but I also would not like to see the 2.5 million people that work in the Insurance Industry suddenly unemployed, particularly not back in 2009 when unemployment was in double digits. I live in CT, "the Insurance Capitol of the World™" and 70 000 people put out of work in this small state would kill us. That's reality.
    Unfortunately the idea of incremental progress has been demonized in society in general and in the Left very strongly. It has corresponded to the rise of extremism on all sides, in everything, not just politics but extreme sports, extreme soft drinks, et cetera!
    To me, one of the hallmarks of Progressivism is the willingness to walk in the other's shoes, to work for the betterment of everyone, not just a single group and that requires a certain amount of flexibility and compromise.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 11:01:57 AM PDT

    •  You know, I don't disagree with you in principle (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy, Catte Nappe

      about the fact that sometimes progress happens in small steps, not a huge leap forward. Sometimes it is the opposite and the only way we move out of stagnation is with an explosion. Sometimes the status quo is so intolerable, so egregious, that incrementalism cannot be reconciled with progressivism. But I think reasonable, well meaning, and good hearted people can disagree which situation we are finding ourselves in on any issue facing us today.

      I think the reason I react somewhat negatively to your comment is that I feel like sometimes the issues I care extraordinarily passionately about are the ones where I am being told small progress is enough. Sometimes I feel that the small progress argument is being used to justify no real action at all.

      I need to remind myself that not every person is who championing real, measurable, achievable small steps is just trying to stop the bigger progress I feel is immediately necessary.

      The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

      by CenPhx on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 04:14:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It isn't that small progress is enough, (10+ / 0-)

        It's that that is what is possible in a juggernaut as big as modern American society.
        Rapid change, in a positive mode, comes when an idea has permeated society to the point where the vast majority become aware of the change and are ready for it. Example: Gay Marriage. It took years of incremental change for the sudden rush to be possible.
        And I think the idea of the 99% that Occupy brought to the fore is percolating out through society in that manner. With small legal steps, small social steps, small political steps, people are starting to catch on and connect it up. They connected it to the 47% comment and rejected Rmoney. They rejected the TeaBag/Wall Street Brown in favor of 99%/Mainstreet Elizabeth Warren, The name ALEC is starting to ring in many people's ears and not in a good way. If the GOP shuts down the Government as blackmail to cut Obamacare many people will now connect that too.
        Trying to push a society-wide change without a social movement already going that direction is a thankless and frustrating place to be. The most effective agents of real progress have tackled their tasks one bite at a time.
        And of course, the ones that pushed hardest got martyred.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:24:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  deeper, even (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          karmsy, orestes1963

          the rightward lurch of the last few decades was anything but small and incremental. It has been a parade of overreach followed by smug intransigence and obfuscation.
          It's how the Overton window gets moved by the right. Their model is like that of a developer; come in, flatten everything, then build a phony McMansion to cover up the huge and bleeding scar. It's the preferred method of those with power and the ruthlessness to use it in any way they can.

          One of the things it means to be a progressive is that that model is unacceptable; it is authoritarian, paternalistic, selfish, and destructive (No wonder they love it so much).

          When movement in a progressive direction directly challenges the power (moneymaking avenues) of the right and the powerful ,we are kneecapped and hobbled by targeted efforts using the RW scorched earth model. It is no mystery to me why things like medical marijuana and marriage equality are moving forward with breakneck speed, but we can't get anywhere with financial reform, progressive taxation,  or anything that threatens the powerful. Those are our current circuses. We aren't to ask for any more bread. That is clear.

          Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985 - Harper's Index, 2/2013

          by kamarvt on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:04:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I read this paragraph very carefully: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kamarvt
            When movement in a progressive direction directly challenges the power (moneymaking avenues) of the right and the powerful ,we are kneecapped and hobbled by targeted efforts using the RW scorched earth model. It is no mystery to me why things like medical marijuana and marriage equality are moving forward with breakneck speed, but we can't get anywhere with financial reform, progressive taxation,  or anything that threatens the powerful. Those are our current circuses. We aren't to ask for any more bread. That is clear.
            I am still thinking about it.

            I'd agree with you that humanist-democratic reforms involving high sums of money are more difficult to achieve than reforms that are basically social in character. Also, I'd basically agree as to your reasons why. But is it true we've made "no progress," broken no ground, in the area of humanist-democratic financial reform?

            I am thinking, for example, of the remarkable career of Senator Elizabeth Warren. She's promoted the re-regulation of the financial sector, through her sponsorship of the Glass-Steagall Act. She's explained it so well, I can't imagine anyone not understanding it. That's a feat all by itself. And, no flaming liberal who's clueless about coalition-building, she has gotten John McCain to sign onto it. John McCain, people. She has effectively reached across the aisle to push for real, new brakes on Wall Street, the first ever in my lifetime.

            Through electing the right people, and doing grassroots activism right (if I wanted this comment to be longer, I'd go into that, too), I believe we'll slowly get there on financial reform, too.

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:18:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, you may have missed the incremental (5+ / 0-)

            element....it started in the 60s, when liberalism was at its apex. In truth, the modern right wing was carefully built over many years, starting with appeals to the white working class who saw their livelihoods threatened by having to compete with newly enfranchised blacks and immigrants for jobs, as well as the threat to the traditional family posed by the sexual revolution, women entering the workforce, etc.

            Fox News and Rush Limbaugh didn't create the conservative movement, they skillfully harnessed something that was already there and had considerable grassroots presence. Liberals lost influence because they were no longer seen as representing the working class, and in fact by the 1970s liberal (New Deal) economic policies came to be taken for granted. When the rampant inflation of the 1970s hit, liberal Democrats were blamed and the combination of anger at the Iran situation and double-digit inflation provided the opening for a far-right ideologue (Reagan) to win the presidency. As luck would have it, the Fed policy initiated by Paul Volker during the Carter administration, which continued under Reagan, finally brought inflation under control and the economic malaise of the 70s was supplanted by the 80s boom, which would have happened no matter who was president but, human nature being what it is, Reagan got credit for reinvigorating the economy...which then paved the way for the piecemeal dismantling of the New Deal structures.

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:31:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you're both right, of course. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              karmsy

              I shouldn't have said 'no progress', but the pace of change is glacial and fitful by comparison. We must constantly guard against recidivism. The positive signs karmsy mentioned would only get us back to where we were in the 90s, but with the Bush tax cuts still in place (minus the little slice Obama managed to claw back in January.)

              Alice, you are dead on. Like any cancer, it is slow and hard to detect at first. Then it explodes and changes everything. I was thinking of the SCOTUS appointing a president, and its present radicalization, the blatant warmongering and current congressional nihilism, and so much more. It's easy to forget the loving care it took to create this beast that was so recently arrogant enough to grab huge portions of our nation, and is now desperate enough to double down.
              Maybe that famous luck is finally running out. It's about damn time.

              Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985 - Harper's Index, 2/2013

              by kamarvt on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 09:03:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Literally, we've had at least 40 years (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sewaneepat

                for things to get this bad. People 20 years older than I am (Baby Boomers) lament that "it's been all downhill" in terms of social change in their lifetimes. In their postwar-to-present frame of reference, perhaps this has been the case. Me, I came of age--graduated high school, turned 18, graduated college--when Reagan was in office. I tell you, it was awful then! From my perspective, things have ever-so-slowly improved since, and we've seen a few previously-unthinkable social reforms (marriage equality, anyone?) take place just in the past few years.

                It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

                by karmsy on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 10:56:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  And let's not forget.. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              karmsy, lenzy1000, orestes1963
              the modern right wing was carefully built over many years, starting with appeals to the white working class who saw their livelihoods threatened by having to compete with newly enfranchised blacks and immigrants for jobs, as well as the threat to the traditional family posed by the sexual revolution, women entering the workforce, etc.
              The Corporate 1% not only used the Republican Party but also took over the Democratic Party.
              It was Bill Clinton who ushered in NAFTA.

              It was Bill Clinton who deregulated banking and erased Glass-Steagal.

              It was Bill Clinton who "Ended Welfare As We Know It"

              It was Barack Obama who selected three different Banksters as his Chief of Staff.

              It was Barack Obama who ushered in more Free Trade with Panama, Columbia, and S. Korea.

              It is Barack Obama who is pushing through in secret the Trans Pacific Partnership.

              It was Barack Obama who put a Wall Street Thug in as Treasury Secretary.

              It was Barack Obama who created a Deficit Commission to continue the meme of "Cut Social Programs To Cut The Deficit".

              It was Barack Obama who publicly praised Wall Street Banksters as "Savvy Businessmen".

              It was Barack Obama who publicly praised Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan.

              It was Barack Obama who publicly said "Corporate Taxes Are Too High"

              It was Barack Obama who selected Larry Summers as a key adviser.

              It was Barack Obama's Homeland Security which supplied Intel and Coordination when cracking down against the Occupy Movement.

              It was Barack Obama who asserted the right to issue secret non-reviewable kill orders.

              It is Barack Obama's administration that is pursuing truth tellers about Government misdeeds.

              It is Barack Obama's administration which had Empire's allies in Europe force a S. American President's plane to land for fears it had Snowden on board.

              It is Barack Obama who continues to saber rattle against Iran.

              Corporate Rule is not confined to one party.  Until that sinks in with enough folks, there shall be no change:  Only pretty speeches and petty excuses.

              The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

              by Johnathan Ivan on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 09:44:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Very good points Johnathan (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                karmsy

                I said just yesterday that Obama got into running for elected office before he was completely clear on what progressive principles actually are all the way through. You then get stuck taking positions on issues in conventionally run political campaigns. I think George Lakoff would refer to him as a 'biconceptualist' who is mostly progressive, but whose concepts (frames) include some regressive/conservative ideas.

                People also have to understand that Presidents become part of the system as soon as they are elected. Practically speaking they have to become part of that system to even get elected in the first place in today's political landscape. Many may have voted for Obama expecting him to change the system. Really? One man in one branch of government in a lobbyist-laden capitol? Here is where some realistic expectations need to come into play.

                WE the PEOPLE must continue to clarify what principles should be in operation in our government. Things like the Bill of Rights! Real continual push for change has to come from outside the system if we expect those inside the system to do what we want.

                People are always more valuable than properties.

                by Kannon McAfee on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:18:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  The 80's boom (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              karmsy

              was founded on government overspending, especially military overspending.  We all remember the $900 toilet seats, no?

        •  You make assumptions (0+ / 0-)

          upon which you base your argument, but provide no evidence for the assumptions.  That is circular reasoning.  See, for example, your first two paragraphs.  Where is the evidence to support these points?  What is the incremental change that led to marriage equality?  And how is the fight for marriage equality different than the fight for social justice, which has been going on for much longer, with a continual loss of ground?  

          And how do you reconcile your vision of incremental change as the natural order with the dramatic rightward push of our society?

          •  I'm not sure why you think there has been (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            karmsy

            A continual loss of ground in social justice. I remember separate drinking fountains, as well as schools, housing, employment, hotel accommodations, restaurants, movie theaters, zoos, libraries, to name just a few things, all based on race. I was grown before it was illegal to refuse a credit card based on gender. And these were just the tip of the iceberg. To be sure, there is still much to be done, but things have improved drastically in my lifetime.

            As to the incremental changes that led to marriage equality, some include gay characters on TV, DADT (yes, that was an improvement from the previous policy of a BCD for suspicion of being gay in the military, then getting rid of DADT, civil unions, acceptance of gay clergy in many churches, ending housing and employment discrimination in many states.

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 01:55:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fair enough (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              karmsy, sewaneepat

              I should have been more clear.  I agree that there have been great strides in my lifetime regarding racial, gender, and other equalities.  I was thinking about social justice in terms of the right to a decent education, the right to medical care, the right to a decent standard of living, of economic security, of physical autonomy (including reproductive rights), adequate redress  in the courts, and the right to privacy.  The lives of most Americans have been in a spiral entropy of decline on these and other levels.  

              As for the rise of gay rights, I personally believe all of the strides you cite are the result of our increasing willingness to be open about our lives.  I agree that DADT was an actual movement forward.  Clinton was the first president to publicly and programmatically acknowledge the lives of gay and lesbian Americans.  (I am surprised to find agreement on this point as most people around here deride Clinton for DADT, which I think is an ahistorical viewpoint.)  I raised the question with the commenter not because I am unaware of the strides made, but because I wanted to understand the commenter's view on this.  Based upon my experience, I would classify the rise of gay rights as a "fast" shift, not a slow one.  From the early 80's to today, we have made great strides and appear to be on the crest of winning the major battles.  The enfranchisement of women and black Americans was a much slower process.  

              •  I absolutely agree that the LGBT community (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                orestes1963

                Being open about their lives is the main impetus in change. It becomes much harder to see someone as other when you find that they are one's friends, relatives, and co- workers.

                You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

                by sewaneepat on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 02:13:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I also agree that in the last 30 years (0+ / 0-)

                there has been a backwards shift in the areas you cite and that progress has slowed or reversed in the area of women and black Americans. I wanted to write more about that yesterday afternoon but company came while I was writing so I had to stop.

                We did make progress during the 60's and 70's regarding medical care (Medicare and expansion of Medicaid and Roe v Wade) and women's rights. And I believe that the ACA  is a step in the right direction also. But there is no doubt that these rights have been assaulted in the last 30 years.

                In addition, the lack of progress on raising the minimum wage, the incarceration of black men in particular, and the control of the political process by corporations and other monied interest have slowed or reversed progress in economic and social justice. There is still much work to be done. I do believe that Hegel was correct in his assessment of how the process works - thesis, antithesis, synthesis - so I am not surprised that there is some pullback. The fight continues.

                (I also find it odd that DADT is not regarded here as a step in the right direction - just as some do not see the ACA as a step in the right direction.)

                You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

                by sewaneepat on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 04:33:26 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  How do YOU justify THIS big statement? (0+ / 0-)
            And how do you reconcile your vision of incremental change as the natural order with the dramatic rightward push of our society?
            It's really a sweeping generalization about an awfully complex subject (Western civilization). Don't you think?

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 04:50:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, it is sweeping (0+ / 0-)

              and I should have included the limitation "over the past 40 years."  That may not help you if you disagree with the claim.  I would refer you to the incomplete list recited in my comment above to sewaneepat.  

              •  I'm going to make a wild guess (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                orestes1963

                that you are a Baby Boomer, born in the years right after WWII, so you came of age roughly in the late 60s early 70s. I hear a common lament from many of my Baby Boom friends and acquaintances that "it's all gone downhill" since the early 70s, when the masses enjoyed relative material prosperity and when popular humanist-democratic movements for cultural reform were at their apex.

                I myself graduated high school, turned 18, and graduated college when Ronald Reagan was president. I came of age when progressive morale was at its absolute nadir. This was a time when the oligarchs and the politicians in their thrall were all about reversing humanist-democratic gains of earlier decades, and they seemed to have found ways, through ingenious popular messaging, to do that. They co-opted Hollywood and the corporate media, too. Critically, there was no internet, so there was no popular push-back to any of this. It was a perfect storm of awful.

                Today, by comparison, some things are worse than in the 1980s. The social-safety net is in worse shape than ever. Living-wage jobs continue to disappear from the economy, as they have ever since Reagan. But we did elect a Democratic president, twice, by big margins. And we have a large, savvy, mutually synergistic progressive grassroots network now watching his every move. We have had a spate of popular uprisings, which, arguably do change things, because they disrupt messaging of the status quo. We've had a run of impressive social victories recently, and we have every promise of seeing more.

                In some ways, things have "only gotten worse" in the last 40 years. But I'd argue that you need to keep your eye on the whole picture.

                It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

                by karmsy on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:42:29 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't get your point (0+ / 0-)

                  Why would my age have any bearing on an assessment whether things have gotten progressively worse over the past 40 years?  And what big picture are you advising I look to?  You don't seem to argue against my claim, so I'm a bit confused.  I don't intend my tone to sound combative.  I ask sincerely.  

    •  Thanks for starting this interesting thread. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scott5js

      This remark caught my fancy:

      It has corresponded to the rise of extremism on all sides, in everything, not just politics but extreme sports, extreme soft drinks, et cetera!
      Do the culture's fascination with extremes, and extreme politics, have anything in common?

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:55:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We'll have to see how the ACA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy

      works in practice...I fear your view may be overly optimistic. The Medicaid expansion (I thought that was separate from the exchanges?) is limited to mostly blue states, and it's not clear how successful it will be given that its lower reimbursement rates and the shortage of primary care doctors. My fear is that the ACA will cement in place our system of employer-provided health insurance, since a major promise Obama made was that "if you like your healthcare, it won't change"...made in response to polling that the majority of Americans with employer health insurance wanted to keep it as-is.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:13:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's the Supreme Court's doing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        scott5js, sewaneepat

        Medicaid expanison wouldn't have been limited to the blue states except for their decision that it was unconstituional.

        There are lots of reasons reliance on employer based insurance will gradually erode. People will feel more free to change jobs, and even start their own businesses, if they know they can get access to affordable coverage outside of the traditional large employers.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:42:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'd add a qualifier: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy
      Progress is, by nature, an incremental thing. Sometimes it takes big jumps but mostly it is inch by inch.
      It also means recognizing when structural progress does not occur and when, despite rhetoric to the contrary, results indicate the same pro-1% policies are advanced and that no progress is possible by supporting those who freely elect to advance the 1%'s interests by their deeds and rejecting excuses to cover up such deeds when such excuses have no merit whatsoever.

      The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

      by Johnathan Ivan on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 09:37:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem with seeds (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy

      is they can lie dormant forever and never see the light of day. All the while the briars and brambles of fascist alliances shade and suck the life giving moisture from the ground

      one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK

      by Klick2con10ue on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 10:07:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Incremental change... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy

      is the way we should expect change to happen. Right on.

      We must have continual dialogue stretching over generations. I think it is important to think in terms of building ideas in layers rather than just working as activists to ram through laws along the lines of issues.

      Walking in others' shoes... Well said.

      People are always more valuable than properties.

      by Kannon McAfee on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:11:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Being a progressive boils down to: (11+ / 0-)

    advocating for justice and democracy on many levels.  It is all about people, life and a future on earth.  

     It is not the selfish "me first" of libertarianism that seems so prevalent today.  

    I don't think one can be a progressive without some empathy, although it also makes extremely logical sense because it focuses on the well being of all of us, not just some at the expense of others.   We think about the we of  today and future generations of we.  

    Dollarocracy is not Democracy

    by leema on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 11:55:45 AM PDT

  •  Where are wealthy "Democrats" on (5+ / 0-)

    The matter of being progressive?

    Many of  them believe they are the bee's knees because they are all for unlimited immigration. Meanwhile our bankers and big financial people own the society, and the middle class is being destroyed. Right nw, 49 cents out of every dollar of profit generated by American companies is sucked up immediately by the Big Financial firms. (As opposed to only eight cents back in the early Nineteen Eighties.)

    What it will take to get our society back is to institute a full on boycott of 90% of the Wall Street stock market offerings. Let's face it - for the past fifty years, usually  if a company is making a profit and is listed on the stock market, it has huge ties to Big Military and slave labor and possibly both!

    Sure there are some exceptions. Back in the Eighties,  for instance, Atari made games and as far as I know, didn't have ties to Big Military. However, firms like Intel, and MicroSoft both have ties to the Big Military.

    But we need to put an end to people thinking they are "progressives" but still holding stock investments, via their financial investment advisers, to the Big Banks and to military, and to firms that are profitable that utilize the cheap labor available on foreign shores..

    Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

    by Truedelphi on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 11:56:09 AM PDT

  •  Great diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnathan Ivan

    One observation: couldn't the qualities that you have listed in your diary be touted as basic traditional Democratic values? You know the ones that the Third Way members and neo-cons forfeited to the Republicans (so they could feed at the trough with the corporatists)?

    Your diary suggests that you are a very humane person, which I believe is the highest level of achievement for mankind. It reflects the compassion that originally attracted me to the Democratic Party.

    But now, the unified compassion that was once the pride and joy of all Democrats has been replaced by agendas...a lot of progressive members still fight for civil rights, but only when it effects their agenda -- not when the civil rights of all Americans are threatened.

    The current argument over the NSA is a good example...many of the Obama supporters have no problem forfeiting those civil rights -- primarily because the president supports them -- but they became furious when the Supreme Court struck down the civil rights of minority voters. And I don't blame them for their anger, because it was a horrible ruling, but the Chained CPI is a horrible policy, also...and I find fault with their unwillingness to support other Democrats who are furiously fighting to stop the NSA's overreach and the militarization of our police forces...you can't just pick and choose which civil rights you are willing to support.

    I hope a day will come soon when we will speak as one voice...but only if our policies are compassionate, not because they are based on the idolization of one man.

    Our Party is divided, and we have to repair that rift before we can become effective again.

    •  Thank you praenomen... (0+ / 0-)

      for the compliment...

      I hear you. There does seem to be a lot of in fighting or lack of unity at times. To me this is simply a matter of loss of vision (or never understanding) core principles.

      I love Obama, but he is no sacred cow to me. I've put impertinent questions onto his facebook threads, not because I think he or any of his staff will respond, but so that there is at least some dissenting view represented.

      A good portion of the problem with the Democratic party is they do not know how to communicate their own principles and lack a clear vision. This leaves them having to bow down often to the terms the GOP/right wing which has framed the liberal response as too expensive or irresponsible or based purely on feelings (bleeding hearts) and not principles.

      Everyone should read George Lakoff's books, particularly "Don't Think of an Elephant" and "Thinking Points." They are manuals for progressives and I still do not see them being used by supposed progressives or Democrats. They've been telling the country to 'not think of an elephant' for over 30 years -- and guess what that elephant still sits there as the political animal no one seems to be able to move out of the way.

      People are always more valuable than properties.

      by Kannon McAfee on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:26:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Today's reality (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War4Sale, scott5js

    In today's world, it seems being progressive involves being aware of the reality, and consider adjustments as problems arise.  Conservatives fall into this trap where they pre-suppose the problems and pre-suppose blanket solutions in a vacuum.  It's truly like being an adult dealing with reality and responsibility, while Conservatives play fantasy children games with simplistic, magical solutions.

    There's room at the top, they're telling you still, but first you must learn how to smile as you kill. -J Lennon

    by noelcor on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 02:01:12 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the positive reminder (3+ / 0-)

    I agree with your points and really needed to hear them. It is easy to get focused on the negatives and a cheerleading diary does not help me. But remembering the very basic tenets that I hold dear does help.

    The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

    by CenPhx on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 04:19:17 PM PDT

  •  Very well put... (4+ / 0-)

    A friend of mine once asked me the difference between Progressive and Socialist.

    I invite others to expound upon the differences. In my view, the main difference is that Progressives still believe (perhaps naively) that there are 'good capitalists' -- those who make money, but understand that they haven't gotten rich totally on their own and that they have an obligation to society. One looks at the likes of the Buffets, certain Hollywood stars, etc.

    But as I said, I do invite further discussion here. It's not that I'm against socialism per se. I think we have some great socialistic programs that work well for the most part -- NASA, fire departments, police departments, etc.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

    by JWK on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 04:31:14 PM PDT

    •  Don't forget schools - (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sewaneepat

      Definitely socialist.  (I heard a wingnut once describe public schools as an idea straight out of Communist Russia.  Sigh.)

      I'm fine with capitalism as long as it is controlled by the people, who ultimately own this country.  That's why I'm a Democrat instead of a socialist.  It's when the profit motive is considered the highest good in society that things have gotten way out of hand.

    •  in my view (0+ / 0-)

      socialism is like utopia, nice in theory but completely unimplementable. Where as Progressivism is much much more implementable because it mostly is refinement of what we have.

      In the time that I have been given, I am what I am
      Shop Kos Katalogue
      Der Weg ist das Ziel

      by duhban on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:28:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I especially liked this sentence in the diary. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, scott5js
      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.
      While I believe that certain areas should be socialized - such as schools, health care, roads, fire and police, etc, I do think that other areas, particularly consumer goods, should be privately owned.

      The guy who owns the Piggly Wiggly or corner bodega is a capitalist. Likewise the local refrigerator repairman, gas station owner, gift shop, etc. It used to be that the clothing store, office supply store, shoe store, cafes, etc were also locally owned, but nowadays have been replaced by corporately owned stores.

      For me, it is corporatism, not capitalism itself, that is the problem.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 05:38:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  capitalism is corporatism (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Klick2con10ue

        the Piggly Wiggly guy gets up and goes to that store every day. He makes sure the place is ready for business. He hires the best people he can afford, and tries to keep his prices down for his customers.
        That's free enterprise.
        The guy who owns SuperGrocery Megachain doesn't go to a store with his keys in hand every morning. He reads the latest stock projections and pork belly futures, then makes bets based solely on the profit potential for him (and, incidentally, his stockholders if he has any). The job security of his employees and the financial strains of his customers are completely irrelevant to him; there will always be more commodities like them in the future. Vesides, he could just get out of the grocery business tomorrow, and buy a coal plant if the profits are fatter.

        Capitalism is a system where the possession of wealth is the way to accumulate more wealth; corporatism is just a Godzilla Vs Megalodon version of the same thing. Free enterprise is what the American Dream was supposed to be .

        Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985 - Harper's Index, 2/2013

        by kamarvt on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:12:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Capitalism is simply an economic system (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe, kamarvt

          wherein assets and means of production are privately owned. There are various types of capitalism, of which corporatism is one.

          The owner of the Piggly Wiggly does exactly what you say; however, he has also made capital investments such as buying the franchise for that store, as well as the stock and possibly the physical store. Besides paying his employees and having the best price he can afford for his customers, he also tries to make a profit for himself - without which he would soon be out of business.

          Free enterprise is capitalism in which there are few governmental restrictions on business ownership and activities. Like capitalism, this has good and bad extremes. Laissez-faire capitalism is a form of free enterprise. While most everyone would agree that anyone should be able to start their own business if they so desire, few of us would like a system with little or no government regulations, as unfettered free enterprise would entail.

          Both capitalism and free enterprise can be abused by business owners or investors who care only for their own profit at the expense of everyone else.

          To me, the American dream is being able to have a job (whether one owns the business or simply works there) which provides enough for a decent lifestyle. To me, a decent lifestyle is one in which I do not have to worry about necessities, can provide education and other opportunities for my family, and have enough for some reasonable degree of extras, including leisure time.

          You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

          by sewaneepat on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:50:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you... (0+ / 0-)

        I just prefer to make a distinction. Call it semantics if you like, but to me Capitalism as an -ism is about the Capitalists having their way in society at the expense of those who are non-owners.

        IF Democracy holds capitalists accountable, regulates concentrations of wealth and power, and allows small businesses to operate with little regulation, then we have a healthy balance.

        I prefer the term 'free enterprise' because if I cannot grow any herb I want and trade/sell it freely then we do not live with a system of free enterprise economics. We do, however, have a system that allows Pharmaceutical capitalists to take that same plant, fractionate it, alter it and turn it into 'medicine' that is then marketed to the same patients that want the herb in its natural form.

        That is capitalism aided and enforced by government regulation that falls harder on the individual then on the giant corporation -- and we are saturated with it. It is not free enterprise.

        People are always more valuable than properties.

        by Kannon McAfee on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:34:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree. The distinction I like to make is between (0+ / 0-)

          capitalism and corporatism.

          Not that I do not recognize the reason for and the need for the idea of incorporation, but in the last 30 to 50 years, it is corporation run amok, especially with the advent of multinational corporations.

          To go back to the example of the local Piggly Wiggly or even shoe repair store (if there were such a thing anymore), it is probably also incorporated so that the owner cannot be sued personally and lose his house and savings if someone slips and falls. Even with larger enterprises, when a lot of money is needed to start a new venture, without incorporation, no one will invest in anything new if each and every stockholder is personally liable for any damages or losses. So corporatization is needed.

          But when corporations get so big that they feel they owe nothing to anyone but the CEO and other high executives, then it has run amok. When they are answerable to no one - not to society or governments or even much to the stockholders, then it is corporatism run amok. This is the problem that needs to be addressed IMO.

          I agree about growing herbs. I find it interesting that it is the religious right that is so adamant about making a plant they believe God created should be eradicated.

          You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

          by sewaneepat on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 05:26:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Good capitalists (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sewaneepat

      There are bunches of them in small business. Not the government definition of small business, but the little guys who run a neighborhood cafe, or a print shop, or an auto repair shop. They are close to their customers, and know the system has to work for everybody for it to work for them.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:46:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Everyone does better when everyone does better" (8+ / 0-)

    It seems so obvious, but I think progressives have a deep understanding of this this that is generally lacking in the MSM "narratives".

    Those of us on the Left have a tendency to speak in moral terms and that's important, but I think we sometimes fail to also clearly explain to undecideds what's in it for them.  The one silver lining of the financial crisis seems to be that the corruption brought on by the concentration of wealth has become so glaringly "in your face" that the mainstream is getting the message.

    Feel trickled on yet?

    by War4Sale on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 05:53:19 PM PDT

  •  nice diary (0+ / 0-)

    I just wished some around here would actually take your intro to heart.

    In the time that I have been given, I am what I am
    Shop Kos Katalogue
    Der Weg ist das Ziel

    by duhban on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:25:20 PM PDT

  •  Wow. Thanks for saying it so well. (0+ / 0-)

    This especially sticks out in my mind:

    It means we are all in this together and no one is left out.
    Any dysfunctional system, be it a sick and troubled family, a sick and troubled workplace, a sick and troubled religion, or whatever, depends for its lifeblood on exclusion. Such a social order needs in-groups and out-groups, people whom everyone understands to matter "less" and "more." Members of "out groups" are supposed to know their place.

    It's when outcasts start to rock the boat that things get really interesting.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:44:50 AM PDT

  •  Progressive or liberal? (0+ / 0-)

    I hardly ever use the word 'progressive.' I think it sounds apologetic. People on Pacifica station KPFT in Houston use that word all the time. An exception is Glenn Urbach of 'The Other Side', who describes his program as 'liberal talk radio.'
    I most certainly do not say 'progressive' to a Republican, who would likely regard it as protective coloration.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 10:22:03 AM PDT

    •  Personally, I prefer "progressive" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scott5js

      Why?  Because "progressive" connotes something meaningful - progress.  I think that's our real ideological differentiation with "conservatives".  We want society to evolve and advance, while they want to impede social progress or even to go backwards.  When the argument is framed that way, I think most people would agree with us.

      When I see the word "liberal" in other contexts it's usually in the sentence, "Apply [product] liberally", as in, use a lot of it.  I think on a subconscious level, this plays in to the conservative argument that we want to spend tax dollars "liberally".  I want our tax dollars to be spent as efficiently as possible on effective programs and not wasted, so I'm not willing to concede that point to them.

      Feel trickled on yet?

      by War4Sale on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 03:25:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you all... (0+ / 0-)

    For your comments, your compliments and for taking the time to read this article.

    I see you went down some trails of dialogue that I unfortunately do not have time to go down with you, but am happy you have taken.

    Peace.

    People are always more valuable than properties.

    by Kannon McAfee on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:37:41 PM PDT

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