Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What is a Progressive?

Day Three. We really need to define, broadly, what Florida Progressivism is. It’ll clarify our thinking and guide us in our work and choices and which candidates we endorse, perhaps the most important of our choices. If you are not clear what you stand for, you will be seduced by liars, propagandists, careerists, Moderates and media spin, and weakened when you confront Rightwingers. (Isn’t that how we got into Iraq?) So I invite all of you: write out a relatively brief statement of your Progressive principles. Or if you identify yourself more as a Liberal or Moderate, or even a Democrat, define what that means to you. Here’s my rough draft try at this, I’m going for something more specific than the FPC’s statement, but not programmatic, since there can be a lot of legitimate differences on how to execute principles:

Progressivism to me, and as I have understood it over the past 40 years, advocates a society that rejects foreign intervention, coercion and militarism and military “aid” and uses its armed forces only as a last resort against real, emerging imminent threats or to stop genocide. Instead, it seeks resolution of international and transnational conflicts through discussion and respect for the legitimate interests of all parties and foreign economic development aid. This enables the society to focus its resources on broadening its prosperity to ALL of its people. This starts with progressive taxation based on the ability to pay. It embraces lite socialism to provide for the basic needs of society such as postal, education (from pre-school through vocational ed and college), police, fire, emergency management and prevention, housing, transportation infrastructure, targeted economic development to depressed communities and wherever the private sector fails to provide a basic need affordably to all people (that means health insurance and hurricane insurance). Progressivism advocates respect and equality of minorities. It advocates a criminal justice system that protects the individual from false detention, arrest and incarceration or for “moral” crimes and seeks to rehabilitate the truly criminal through education, counseling and humane correction with prison and harsh sentences as a last resort. Progressivism means a truly fair election system in which every person can participate on a financially even footing with an emphasis on grassroots organizing. Progressivism seeks to expand individual freedom from oppressive government and society, while constraining greed, economic predation and the unlimited accumulation of wealth at the expense of most of society. Progressivism truly means Progress, by looking forward to a better and better all inclusive society based on science and rationality as opposed to 14th century thought.

Pretty simple, huh? What do you think?

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