Pan o Palo

Parsing Persnickety Progressive Pragmatism
December 4, 2009, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

From Saturday’s Star Tribune, I give you State Senator John Marty:

If 21st-century progressives had led the 19th century’s abolition movement, we’d still have slavery. But we’d have limited slaves to 40-hour workweeks, and we’d be proud of the progress we’d made.

In earlier eras of U.S. history, progressives believed they could fight injustice and move society forward, and they did. Today, however, many progressives have lost faith in their ability to affect significant change. Many are content simply to tinker with problems, whether the issue is getting living wages for work, ending poverty or removing toxins from our food supply.

For example, consider universal health care. All progressives claim to support this, but many aren’t willing to fight for it — not because they believe it’s bad policy, but because they believe it is “politically unrealistic.”

While I’m not partial to equating past struggles to current events (yes, I know the famous quote), I think what Marty says is apt.  The larger issue here is progressives yoking themselves to a President and a congress who are clearly not progressive.

“Progressive”, like other political terminology, has been bastardized under the influx of new and constant media.  As a result, it’s become harder and harder to recapture and re-redefine a lot of words that relate to politics.

I don’t know if there’s anything that can be done in this regard, but I applaud State Sen. Marty for calling progressives out in this instance.


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