The Progressive Movement

Partisan divide aside, I truly believe the progressives in this country are the ones who move it forward. To see this you have to look no further than the issues they typically champion. Be it their support for public education funding, healthcare reforms that provide care for the poor and disenfranchised, energy policy that deals with the issue of sustainability and global climate change, and the variety of other social and economic causes they champion. Not to mention the idea that our foriegn policy should be about building consensus and working with the other nations of this world to prevent the wars that arise from needless conflict. Some might call this idea naive. I say better naive then self-destructive. Despite all of the worthwhile goals of the progressives in this country, those of a more a conservative leaning always manage to paint them in a negative light.

Take Healthcare reform for example. The end goal of this recent legislation was to make healthcare affordable and accessible for more Americans and to take away the ability of those seeking a profit to determine who gets to live and who gets to die. Yet, progressives and the ideas they put forth were dragged through the mud by the lies and misinformation of the healthcare opponents. Some proclaimed they sought “death panels” to deny life to the elder citizens of this country, when the truth of the matter is, that the closest thing we had to death panels were the insurance companies who chose to deny coverage to those who needed it most. Something, might I add, the reform was trying to and in many ways has eliminated. Yet we still hear the chorus of naysayers who call for the repeal of this historic reform because of its supposed harm to the job market. A largely unsubstantiated claim, might I add. As effective as it might be, distorting the truth for one’s political and financial gain is wrong.

Next, consider the tax-cuts recently passed through congress, especially those for the richest 1 percent of this country’s citizens. From a logical standpoint it seems almost impossible to support a policy like this while simultaneously calling for a reduction in government spending. Yet when the more progressive members of the congress pointed out this seemingly obvious injustice and pleaded to have this element of the tax-cuts removed they were ignored. Think how much of that money could have gone to paying down the deficit or to providing research funding to move this country to true energy independence. Instead it allowed individuals who have more money than most of us could think of ways to spend, to save a bit of money on their taxes. Yet, it is the progressives who are doing things that are wrong for this country. So sad.

An epic novel could be written about all the ways progressives attempt  to move society towards an ideal future. However, it doesn’t matter because no matter how noble the cause, if it conflicts with the narrative of those in opposition its doomed to be torn down. Does this mean we progressives should all give up trying to change the world?  Not in the least bit. Rather it means we must stand up to the lies propagated by those who would see us fail. We must stand strong in the face of conservative opposition to the policies that will allow us to adapt to an ever changing world. We are not ignorant of the challenges we face. In fact, it is because of these challenges that we must continue to move forward.

It is the silent that are ignored.


2 thoughts on “The Progressive Movement

  1. The Center Square says:

    While I tend to support many of the policies you have listed here, I do think the progressive side of the aisle has a huge blind spot. It is a fair criticism that they fail to heed the financial realities. If Republicans and Democrats were married parents, Democrats would be the ones who took care of the kids education and health and nutrition and general well-being… but also built up a huge balance on the credit card without any particular plan for paying the bill.

    (The Republican parent is the one who watched the credit cards piling up and then went to his boss and asked for a CUT in pay, referencing their unhealthy addiction to tax cutting policies.)

    You cite healthcare as an example. The bill finally enacted did a fair job of extending health insurance to many of those who remain uncovered. Yet, it did a terrible job of facing down the runaway cost of our healthcare system. Just as Republican proposals almost exclusively tend to cost issues without addressing access issues.

    Likewise, progressives have done a poor job of designing policy options for education, energy policy, global climate change and other key issues that also reflect fiscal restraint. Just because they are tackling good and worthy issues doesn’t mean they are going about it very effectively.

    Thanks for an interesting post and for letting me put in my two cents’ worth.

  2. thoughtninja says:

    Definitely some good points. I think the key for progressives are to remember what they working toward when formulating there policies. It may help to alleviate some of these problems.

    Thanks for the feedback.

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