What does being a progressive mean to you?

Ray has started us with policy ideas, which we will be posting more and more of. We hope you all out there can contribute to this as well. Give us some ideas of what progressive minded policies would look like. Write a post, and those that are interesting, will go up on the front page. We will try and compile them in some sort of fashion, and maybe vote on them, as Ray suggested a while back.

But, for now, I have a question for all of you out there: If in one or two sentences, you can sum up what being a progressive means, what would it be? This is a purposefully vague excercise.

Leave your responses in the comments. And remember, one or two sentences only.

My answer

I believe in the power of a community and its government to actively help and improve the lives of all of its citizens.

what dan said...

+ a committment to redistributing power to promote economic and civil justice for all people with an awareness of race, class, sexual orientation, gender, ability, and sex opression.

the people

To quote Howard Dean, "It's the people stupid!"

Couldn’t do it in two sentences. Off to the woodshed for me.

As a progressive I believe that a child born into this world shall have regardless of gender, race, nationality, sexuality or religion the basic necessities required to mature into a healthy adult.

As a progressive I believe that the pursuit of happiness should be shaped not by the lottery of birth but by the content of our character.

As a progressive I believe that inequality of opportunity is not caused by immutable natural forces but by a social system of our creation. A truly free people have both the right and responsibility to reshape that system to produce a more equitable distribution of opportunity.

As a progressive I believe that political freedom is not a special privilege but a right, the strength of which is measured by the degree our tolerance and protection of those who think differently than the majority.

As a progressive I believe that I am a citizen of the world.

As a progressive I dream of the day when all the people of the world worry not about how they will eat tomorrow or pay for their education but about what constitutes a good life.

Defining "progressive" . . . hard to do

"Progressive" is difficult to define. Especially as you seek to build a platform. If the "progressive" position is X and someone does not agree, does that mean they are "regressive" or "conservative." No, of course not, that would be silly. Many thing can be accomplished in different ways. Thus, I think a true "progressive" can only be defined broadly.

Looking at "progressive" in a handy dictionary I find one definition particularly applicable, "[f]avoring progress toward better conitions or new policies." This is counterbalanced by another definition,
"[p]roceeding in steps." Thus, being "progressive" does not mean advocating sweeping change, but steady progress to better the quality of life of everyone. Thus, in terms of quality of life, which is an end, progress is a mean.

"Progressive" has to be the overarching goal. At a most basic level, if we can agree on making progress, then we need to look at policy considerations in terms of, will it make people's lives better? Will this make government more accountable? Will this make government more ethical? Not, is this what a progressive would do? Because by taking the steps to make that happen, you are truly "progressive."

The most fruitful exercise is to identify what needs "progress." Narrow down the issues, and then form the policy.

a hard task, but here's one try

I think that progressives want to use government resources to counteract the damaging social and economic effects of unrestrained capitalism, whether that's increased poverty, environmental decay, or unfair distribution of resources (along many axes), etc. Progressives also think that the civil liberties of individuals should be protected from the intrusions of government power and the tyranny of the majority.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
— Margaret Mead


My definition of progressive is embracing justice as a social goal. Justice is the means by which society and government can provide equality, harmony and prosperity to the people.


Supporting the objective of unlimited acheivement of all peoples, without the scourge of entitlements funded by taxpaying citizens. The return of the general public to personal responsibility, instead of blaming others for misdeeds and shortcomings.

some more attempts

a little contest yielding some nice efforts in a similar vein:


(via Bill Marston)

As a progressive

As a progressive, I don't mind paying taxes.

As a progressive, I will not stop fighting and am never satisfied.

As a progressive, I know what's wrong with Joey Vento.

Definition of "Progressive"

A "mindset" - the result of self-examination and critical thinking about social ills that leads one to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.


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