Category Archives: Progressive Ideals
The debate over President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill has mostly been about whether it has saved jobs — and most economists say it has — but that’s not the only thing it aimed to do. The bill was also designed to help advance several Democratic goals — a green economy, computerization of the health-care system, education reform, and scientific research. Time says “Any of those programs would have been a revolution in its own right” and that the stimulus “may be President Obama’s signature effort to reshape America.”
Of late, there has been a great deal of talk about the intent of the Founding Fathers of our country, particularly as it relates to the Constitution. To some, the Fathers were infallible and divinely inspired.
While I have great admiration and am grateful that those Patriots brought to birth our nation, I do not share in the deification of the Founding Fathers. When this nation was born, women were still second class citizens and non-whites weren’t even citizens at all. Slavery and the genocide of the Native Americans were the law of the land. All men were not created equal.
The progression of a society is a slow process and sometimes that progression is accompanied by violence and even war. Some of the progress is prompted by court decision, other by courageous and principled legislative activity and more yet by seminal changes in attitudes within society.
Sometimes, the leadership that is required to facilitate progress is not recognized as such at the time. Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., but in the Sixties, he was vilified by a good portion of society. The FBI had an extensive file on him and many were convinced that he was a communist. MLK did not change – society’s attitude towards him changed.
Most take for granted the progression of society wrought by the Civil Rights Movement, but that progression came with a horrible price tag and virtually split the country in half once again.
It is said that opposition to Gay Rights is the last “acceptable” form of bigotry. I feel for those that are hurt by the lack of progress towards equality for our gay brothers and sisters, but I also remember that it was just a half century ago that racial discrimination was rampant.
That is scant consolation for those damaged by sexual orientation discrimination, but with time comes progress and time is greatly compressed in this age of high speed communication. I am not preaching patience, I am preaching hope.
The day will come when, truly, all men and women are created equal.
William Stephenson Clark
On the eve of passing a national health-care reform bill, I’ve been thinking about Senator Edward Kennedy. He would no doubt have helped make the argument that when you get this close, there are some things more important than reelection. Speaker Pelosi, who often cites Senator Kennedy’s call for comprehensive health care, made that case recently on ABC’s This Week when she said “Why are we here? We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress. We’re here to do the job for the American people.”
Back in the good old days after the Senate passed its bill and before the Democrats lost their filibuster-resistant majority, negotiators had planned to name the legislation for Ted Kennedy and Michigan Congressman John D. Dingell, Jr., the senior House Democrat who had been advocating universal coverage since he arrived in 1955. That won’t happen; there are just too many other matters to worry about now.
Senator Kennedy’s son, Patrick Kennedy, when asked what his Dad would say: “This was never for him,” he said. “The greatest honor for him would be getting more people covered, any which way or how.”