It’s kind of fun watching the current incarnation of the Republican Party implode. It should have happened a long time ago, but frankly, a crucial subset of liberals whom I call PUBs (Progressive Unicorn Brigade) and the professional left seem to think the best way to make progress on politics is to make people angry and upset. Apparently, their immaturity has led them to believe that people only act when they’re either pissed off or fearful. That’s right wing thinking; nothing could be further from the truth.
The most startling thing about this approach is that it hasn’t worked for about 40 years and they don’t seem to have noticed. Face it; the right wing has had an inordinate amount of power since 1980. They should have been over and done with after 1992, and they should have been virtually dead when they nominated their first stiff for president, George W. Bush, in 2000. Unfortunately, because they’re so loud and so prominent, we keep giving them opening after opening. This year, we have been given a gift. in the name of Donald J. Trump. He’s not even just a stiff. This is the most dangerous person to ever run for high office in this country. Yet, PUBs and pro lefties are doing their best to try to undermine the Hillary Clinton campaign. Here, we have a golden opportunity to put the sane Democratic Party in power everywhere, possibly permanently, and these people are gumming up the works.
It’s time to fix this.
Ironically, the vast majority of Americans would actually agree with us on most issues, if they knew where we stood. Unfortunately, they don’t. How would they? The loudest progressives waste much of their time helping the right wing GOP with their ultimate strategy, which is to depress turnout. There is no cogent progressive message.
Most voters have neither the time nor the inclination to be a news or political junkie. They want to be motivated to vote FOR someone or something. They don’t want to be called stupid, or “low information” (would you?) and they get their news from other people, not “the media.” They are often unable to keep up because they work three jobs just to pay the bills. They want to know that, if they’re going to spend their valuable time standing in line between jobs on a cold November day, they’re voting for someone who will help make things better. They don’t care about details, they care about competence.
Voters are not motivated by anger and fear; they are repulsed by it. They want to feel hopeful and they want to make things better. And if we want a progressive society, we’ll need a progressive government to get there. That means winning elections. To win elections, we need to be positive, not negative. We need to stop trying to get people pissed off and get people hopeful. That means a new tack with our rhetoric.
Hence this progressive manifesto. If we can express our agenda using these generalized goals, we can get people excited about progressive politics again, which will give us a show at solving society’s greatest problems. As progressives, our goals should be easy to understand and follow, if we expect a majority to follow our lead. When you explain what it means to be progressive, try these, and watch our political fortunes turn around.
A Progressive Manifesto – Positive Goals for a Better America
- Every American should be entitled to basic food and shelter, meaning a heated, comfortable space that is as safe as possible, and enough nutritious food to keep them and their family healthy.
- Every American should be entitled to access to clean or safe drinking water, free of chemicals and contaminants.
- Every American should be entitled to the cleanest possible air to breathe.
- Every attempt should be made to make all communities safe and secure, not just from crime, but from the negative effects of past activities and pollution.
- Every American should be entitled to basic protection from and recovery assistance for natural disasters.
- Everyone should have a right to health care that meets their needs. No one should ever have to die or lose everything they have worked for because they happen to get sick or injured.
- Everyone should have a reasonable expectation that all products sold in the marketplace meet minimal reasonable safety requirements.
- To compete in the global marketplace, everyone should have the opportunity to do something great. Therefore, everyone should be entitled to a free, quality education that meets whatever they need to become a contributing member of society.W
- No one should ever have to incur high debt in order to get the education needed to become a productive, taxpaying citizen. Therefore, the cost of obtaining an education should be as close to free as possible.
- American businesses make their fortunes from a highly educated populace. Therefore they should be willing to pay for it. Educators should be paid a fair wage, and they should never have to pay out-of-pocket for materials necessary to teach their students properly.
- Every working person in the country should make at least enough money so that his or her family can live well.
- Corporations are fictional persons created for the purpose of protecting individual assets, and should not have rights greater than a real person.
- Everyone should have equal opportunity, regardless of any subjective criteria, including skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or even disability.
- People should be encouraged to work, by providing them with the means to work, such as accessible public transportation systems and free or affordable quality child care.
- Every working person should have the right and the support to unionize and collectively bargain with their employer in every state in the union. “Right to work” laws should actually feature the right to work.
- Every worker has a right to expect a workplace that complies with all laws and rules regarding safety, and which puts worker safety above profit.
- Every worker should expect to work a fair number of hours, be entitled to adequate medical and family leave to meet their needs, and a reasonable amount of paid time off every year.
- Every worker should feel free to report issues about his employer or his company’s clients to authorities without fear of termination or harassment.
- Everyone should have complete control over their own bodies; no one should ever be allowed to interfere with any medical decision between a doctor and patient.
- Marriage is a social contract between two previously unrelated consenting adults, and should not be defined by anyone but the two people involved.
- Everyone who is not a convicted felon should be entitled to exercise all of their basic civil rights. Period. No exceptions.
- Though capitalism is currently our chosen economic system, the goal of any economic system should be to benefit everyone, not just the richest capitalists.
- We should encourage truly free markets, which means markets in which anyone with a product or service, or an idea for improving a product or service, can enter the market freely, without interference, including interference from other market participants.
- Because access to broadcast spectrum and cable bandwidth is naturally limited and owned by the people, license holders should once again be regulated to provide for “the public good.”
- Taxes should be progressive, based on ability to pay. A 20% tax on $2 million per year does not have the same effect on quality of life as 20% on $50,000 per year.
- Every commercial enterprise should be evaluated based on its effect on quality of life, not its ability to make a profit.
- No corporation that makes a profit should ever get away with not paying taxes.
- We need build out a high-functioning, reliable energy grid that uses renewable energy sources to the extent possible, regardless of whether or not it’s profitable. .
- We should encourage energy conservation wherever possible.
- We should transition away from burning things for energy, especially fossil fuels.
- We should make every effort to maximize energy production using any combination of solar, wind, geothermal and tidal power because they will save us in the long run.
- We should build fully functional, clean and reliable public transportation systems in every urban area in the country, as well as between urban areas, through an affordable, reliable high-speed rail system.
- Everyone should have free or cheap high-speed Internet access, regardless of profit potential.
- Everyone should have free or cheap access to a telephone line.
- Not everything is a “free market.” We should nationalize those industries which have become necessary elements to maintaining our quality of life, but which have ceased to act as a “free market.”
- Everything we manufacture and/or consume should be made from sustainable and/or renewable materials whenever possible.
- All commerce should be conducted with an eye on maximum environmental benefit.
- All companies whose business conduct results in environmental damage should be responsible for all costs associated with the cleanup.
- Consumers should receive at least as much protection from businesses as businesses receive from consumers.
- Since government is mandated by the Constitution to regulate commerce to make it fair for all players within that system, regardless of size, we should hold them to that mandate, including strict ethical requirements that put the public interest at a level equal to or above their stockholders’ interests.
- All government spending should be evaluated for its benefit to society as a whole, not to the profits of a few.
- Our approach to illegal drugs, should maximize access to treatment and minimize the negative effects on individuals and families.
- Legal drugs should have to show many years of study before approval, and all advertising should be geared to doctors, not the public.
- All politicians should understand that it is OUR government, not theirs, and that they have to act honorably in the conduct of their office.
- Campaign finance laws should allow every individual to express support for his or her favorite candidate or issue, but no individual or group has more rights than any other individual or group, regardless of the size of their bank account. No one’s support should be marginalized by any other entity.
- All lobbyists should be held to the highest possible ethical standards.
- Everyone in this country is entitled to a presumption of innocence and a public trial, including those no one likes.
- The government always has to prove the guilt of anyone in its custody; no individual should ever have to prove innocence.
- The United States should never, ever start a war.
- The United States should never abuse or mistreat anyone in its care, including prisoners of war.
- The United States should promote peace and democracy everywhere, but it shouldn’t dictate terms to any other country.
If we could adopt these universally, we would have just about every reasonable American on our side most of the time, which means we could dominate politically. And that has to be our goal.
If I have missed any, feel free to make recommendations in the comments.