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.”
Here’s how crazy our politics have become: Legendary Republican President Theodore Roosevelt is being called a socialist by conservatives like Glenn Beck. The man on Mount Rushmore, the Rough Rider president. Beck bases his opinion on the fact the Roosevelt was a Trust-Busting, Department of Commerce, Panama Canal, FDA, meat inspections, champion for women’s rights, first president to invite an African-American to dinner at the White House. Beck’s departure point for his now-frequent attacks on our 26th president was a post-2008 election snide swipe at John McCain, who he characterized as “this weird progressive like Teddy Roosevelt.” In his subsequent book, Glenn Beck’s Common Sense, Beck devoted a chapter to “The Cancer of Progressivism” and lays the blame at TR’s feet.
If conservatives want to kick TR out, Obama seems ready to welcome him in. As if on cue, the president’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, announced yesterday that the president is now reading the classic The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris, a book that inspired Reagan’s senior staff to tap Morris as their in-house historian during the 1980s.
As TR said, “constructive change offers the best method of avoiding destructive change, reform is the antidote to revolution… social reform is not the precursor but the preventive of socialism.”
“Lots of men in the room, nothing accomplished. Where were the women at the Health-Care Summit? Dan Rather on the need to get more females in positions of power in America and around the world.
To be sure, some were in the room, most notably Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, and Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the House. The Republicans had one female attendee, Rep. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, and the Democrats had three others: Nancy-Ann DeParle, the White House health-care adviser, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, and New York Rep. Louise Slaughter. That’s it. Six women out of 42 attendees on a piece of legislation that deals with health care, an issue that affects all Americans.
If you were to rank countries by the percentage of women in their national legislatures, the U.S. would be somewhere around 75th, on par with places like Turkmenistan and Albania.”
What difference do you think women might make?
*The gap between the rich and poor has reached Depression-era standards.
*Corporate CEOs now make nearly 400 times the average worker.
*African Americans earn less, die earlier and are imprisoned at disproportionate rates than whites.
*Even in the Age of Obama, young black men are more likely to be locked up than graduate from college, and the leading cause of death for black men under 30 is homicide.
*Our government has spent more than $1 trillion on the Iraq war even as our inner cities crumble and 40 million [out of roughly 300 million] Americans live in poverty.
*A new report from the Center for American Progress, The State of Minorities in the New Economy, shows how African American and Latinos are falling even further behind during the economic downturn.
Read more here.
Jeremy Rufkin tells us in this piece that our collective empathic response to the disaster in Haiti has been remarkable. Interestingly, our ability to empathize is greater when such events are caused by nature over those caused by mankind. Rufkin tells us, “the response by people all over the world has been immediate. Governments, NGOs [Non-Government Organizaions], and individuals are mobilizing relief missions, and social websites are lighting up, as the collective human family extends a global empathic embrace to its neighbors in this small Caribbean nation.”
Rufkin continues, “Yet, when faced with similar tragedies that are a result of human-induced behavior, rather than precipitated by natural disasters, we are often unable to muster the same collective empathic response.” Rufkin explains that when human behavior imposes suffering, we tend to shrug our shoulders and say “That’s human nature, you can’t change it.” And thus our response is considerably less as a result. Rufkins asks us to question these assumptions and consider that they may be false. Rufkins reminds us of the discovery of mirror neurons – those that help us with empathy. He reminds us that our empathic abilities have steadily grown over time. He contends, ” the extension of empathy to our species as a whole and to the other creatures that cohabit this planet with us” is an acheivable goal.
I think Rufkin is on to something.
You may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one . . .
“Money is worth nothing right now, water is the currency,” one foreign aid-worker told Reuters.
The United States was sending 3,500 soldiers and 300 medical personnel to help with disaster relief and security in the devastated Caribbean capital, with the first of those scheduled to arrive on Thursday. The Pentagon was also sending an aircraft carrier and three amphibious ships, including one that can carry up to 2,000 Marines.
25 ways to get smarter!
I found this article in The Daily Beast to be fascinating! I haven’t checked out all the recommended links and don’t know whether their list is one to be relied on, but I’m betting at least a few of these hints will be appreciated! Here is a shortened synopsis, but be sure to check out the entire list and reasons why these ideas made the list! Continue reading
I will not go back there. I am referring to the WE Blog. I got into a flaming response with Anti (the only poster who posted there in oposition to another poster). I am done with those folk. I will not read there and will definitely not post there.
Please join me in this drive toward sanity…