Progressivism is about moving forward.
I was reading a news article on Yahoo.com, and it reported how China built a high speed train that can go 300mph. That's real fast. If you took that train from New York to Los Angeles non-stop, it would take 8 hours to travel there. Slower than a commercial airline, but way faster than a car. It would take about 41 hours to drive that distance.
Why bring that up?
I began considering what it must feel like to be a Chinese citizen right now. It must feel like an exciting time. Things are being built, newer freedoms are being allowed, and there must be a great sense of national pride. The future looks wide open.
I remember having that feeling in America when I was a kid, and see that I lack that feeling today. I was a kid in the 70's, and one of my earliest fuzziest memories is of a man walking on the moon.
THE MOON! The freaking moon!!!
Of all the crazy things going on in America at that time, the US accomplished the impossible. Then something changed in the 70s. We began to lose our national confidence. We experienced the continuing horror of Vietnam and ended up losing that conflict, Nixon resigned, we had energy crises, stagflation (inflation combined with dropping wages), and a sober President Carter was the ultimate Debbie Downer with his malaise speech. That gave us Ronald Reagan and the Reaganomics.
Skip forward to the present.
2010: The first decade of the new millenium and we've had one of the worst president's in American history who eagerly hammered the final nails in the coffin of American democracy. The GOP is leaning toward hardcore plutocracy, the Democrats as a whole are slightly to the right of Richard Nixon and practically wet themselves if anyone accuses them of being a liberal or worse a socialist. The first African American president lacks vision and spine to stand up for what's best for America. He's trying to pander to the interests of everyone, and leans heavily toward being a softcore Republican. He ran as a progressive and works as a moderate conservative. - Lame!
So, what's the difference between China and the US? China has a vision for its future, the US has rampant conservatism and politicians arguing over small ideas, tax cuts, dismantling government, and stripping hope and possibility from the minds of Americans. Businesses are expanding business in China and other foreign countries, and the Middle Class is going the way of trilobyte. America is backwards focused.
It seems all we hear from the left side of the spectrum is nothing but complaints. The right side of the political spectrum has gone bat poop crazy.
Progressivism is about moving forward.
To move forward we have to begin asking questions. Not destructive questions of whose to blame, whose at fault, or criticism. What we progressives do best is ask questions, live in the world of "why not?", and "what's next?" How can we improve this?
Progressives are builders, forward movers, and future focused.
If we look at the national dialogue in the US, we hear nothing but regression, shrinking, and deconstructive conversations. To move forward, and win the nation we need to offer up conversations that inspire and motivate people to work for America. (Seriously, the national argument is dominated by whether billionaires and millionaires need tax cuts. How will this in any way shape or form build a stronger nation? What's the future vision of such a conversation? How will this benefit the country?)
President Kennedy didn't shirk from telling Americans that we needed to do things, even if they were hard, even if we had to tighten our belts, even if it meant hard work. Kennedy's legacy is ulitimately that of the space program. In 1961, when he proclaimed that the US would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, he had no idea how it would be done, but that it would be done.
He said that we don't do things because they're easy, but because they are hard. Taking on a challenge brings about untold rewards, encourages new learning, creates new discoveries, is really good for the national spirit and is great for business!
What things can we progressives focus on?
Green energy. Why? As the human population continues to grow and other nations modernize, the demand for fossil fuels will rise. This will put an astronomical demand on oil and coal. There is only a finite amount of such resources remaining and as demand grows the supply will shrink. Inevitably that's going to lead to higher costs and expensive energy.
We can use the existing fossil fuels to build a sustainable green energy society. This can be a global effort that will have two benefits: cheaper and cleaner energy in the long run and a cleaner and healthier planet for future generations of life on Earth.
Developing new technologies will create new jobs nationally, and bring unknown newer technologies and as a result. (Consider that the internet was developed for cities to share information in order to survive a nuclear war. Now we have Google and Amazon.com)
Universal healthcare is another thing. Why? A publicly funded healthcare system will have two benefits: widely available and affordable healthcare for everyone and it encourages entrepreneurship. Millions of Americans are stuck in dead-end jobs because they need the benefits. If we remove that how many of them would take the jump and start up their own businesses? With tax incentives to start new businesses and removal of the high cost of our current healthcare system, this would spark and grow the American economy.
Private insurance is a dinosaur. It's a plague on our economy and drags us down. It discourages entrepreneurship. Sure, it will hurt that business, but keeping it along is as logical as using vacuum tubes for computers. (Once computer scientists switched from using vacuum tubes to electronics, the vacuum tube industry went belly up. Should we have kept something old in business because people would lose jobs? The conservative argument is to keep up a worn out, tired, industry that is a major drag on America's economy.)
Peaceful foreign policy: Focus on building bridges, roads, schools, and hospitals in Third World countries. If we took a global initiative to see how we can be a better neighbor on the planet that would reduce our need to have a trillion dollar military budget. For a fraction of that cost, we could encourage American businesses to invest in the development of human civilization and work to remove poverty and improve prosperity.
A prosperous planet means: better business climate, competitive markets (which mean higher wages globally and a higher standard of living.), people who can be focused on human potential not ancient ideas that keep people locked in tyranny. And, it would be good for the environment.
Ask Questions. Build a Better Future.
Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I think and feel that the way forward is for us to ask questions, organize ourselves, and work together to build a future that is sustainable, promotes human peace and prosperity for all, and leave a legacy of a healthy world for future generations of people.
Conservatism as a political philosophy is focused on the past, protecting and defending the status quo, tearing down diverse ideas and thinkers, and being closed minded to new ideas. Republicans, conservatives, and some Democrats are engaged in public dialogue that will only take America down and regress us into a failed state. I've said the Republicans aren't just the "Party of No," they're also the "Party of Old Ideas."
They're the cranky grandfather party who yells at the kids to get off their lawn.
We can complain about them and their crazy ideas and defend ourselves against their ridiculous and absurd claims. Most progressive talk show hosts do this regularly. (Did you hear what so and so said today?)
It's time for progressives to unite. America needs us. Let's get on the cranky old man's party's lawn. Partly because its funny just to hear them yell, and it's also our cause to change and rattle the status-quo. We ask why do things have to be this way and then act to change things that don't work. (Heck, maybe we can call the GOP the grouchy old party.)
We are the one's who will unite America. Conservatives only seek to divide us with their "It's my way or the highway" mindset. We know we're all in this together. Until we can develop spaceships that can take us off this planet and colonize other worlds, we've got no choice but to get along or inevitably the human race will go extinct.
Human extinction would really really really suck. Really! It took the world four and half billion years for a self-aware intelligent tool using naked ape species to evolve. (And this naked ape can talk to boot!) Sure we've done horrible things; holocaust, genocide, nuclear bombs, imperialism, and tyranny. Yet, we've also done incredibly amazing things too: Art, music, poetry, space travel, and we've walked on the moon. The freaking moon!
We can do it. We are the party of "Yes!" We are the "Party of New Ideas!"
Let's organize. Get active, and build a world that works for everyone. Peace is possible and it's going to take hard work to do it. A major side benefit to progressivism is that it requires a democratic society. Diverse ideas insure growth. Conservatism is anathema to democracy. It demands conformity. (Not that I want to bury conservatism. In a democratic society, conservatism actually plays a key role; progressivism is like the nation's accelerator and conservatism is like the nation's brakes.)