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John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Friday, February 5, 2016

See Progress: The History of Progressivism

In this piece I'm going to layout what progressivism is and what it isn't and also why I believe Hillary Clinton is the Progressive Democrat running for president and why Bernie Sanders is the Democratic Socialist, whose running for president as a Democrat as well. When you think of Progressive, you should think progress and someone who believes in progress. Moving the ball forward, making things better and yes using government and giving government a role in creating that progress.

But not the only role and you're not taxing people so high that they no longer have to take responsibility over their own lives. Like when it comes to health care, health insurance, education, childcare, pension, housing, whether to join a union or not, or personal freedom choices. Like what to eat and drink, how to spend your money, how we communicate to people and what we say in public. Progressives, helped write the U.S. Constitution and created the American Federal Republic. They didn't oppose it. The Progressive Era of the early 20th Century was about creating a public safety net for the United States, to go along with everything that we already had as a country. Not to completely remake America into some social democracy, or some socialist state.

Socialists, meaning Democratic Socialists and Progressives aren't the same people with two different labels. Lyndon Johnson and Bernie Sanders, aren't the same political animals. Senator Sanders, is much further left than President Johnson ever was. Especially on economic policy, but national security as well. Not to say that Senator Sanders doesn't believe in national defense and wouldn't defend the homeland, but President Johnson was a strong anti-Communist and Cold Warrior. And would never call for the deep budget cuts in defense that Bernie favors. Progressives, created the National Security State. Progressives, created the tools like the United Nations, NATO, Department of Defense, CIA and other agencies, that helped win the Cold War. Socialists, have opposed these things from the start.

The political core of a Progressive is someone who believes that everyone in society should have a quality opportunity to succeed as best as they can. That economic success and freedom shouldn't be tied to the income level of one's parents, but to the individual's work, education and what they're able to create for themselves based on what they invest in society themselves. So Progressives, believe in public education, public infrastructure, a public safety net for people who truly need it. Freedom to Assembly, Right to Organize and the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights as a whole. But Socialists would go much further than that and want a society where the individual isn't so responsible for their own lives. And where the central government assumes a lot of that responsibility. So no one has too much, or too little, in their view.  

Again Progressives, aren't Democratic Socialists and Progressives believe in things like personal responsibility and a strong national defense. That America can't police the world by ourselves, but that we have to play our part. Socialists, tend to be more isolationist and dovish, soft on defense would be a way of putting that. Scandinavia and Canada, are good examples of that. Whereas America, Germany, France, tend to believe in internationalism and working with their allies and even using military force when they believe it can make a positive difference. France, is a big part of the coalition against ISIS right now in Syria and bombing ISIS right now and Germany is also part of that coalition. So the Progressive, doesn't blame society when people do horrible things. They hold person who committed the horrible acts responsible. The Socialist, might say that society is to blame here and give the criminal a pass.

The reason why Hillary Clinton is the Progressive running for president, because she believes in both progress. But also governing and when it comes to our government with checks and balances and separation of powers and divided government, she knows that you can't always have everything your way and that most times you won't. That you have to work with the other party to move the ball forward and make things better. To accomplish progressives goals and live up to your progressive values. Progressives are realists and govern from realism. The Socialist would probably say that moving the ball forward is not good enough. If people still live in poverty, don't have health insurance, are unemployed, aren't getting a good education, etc. And the reasons for this is that government is big enough and doesn't have enough responsibility in these areas. Which is where Bernie Sanders tends to operate from. He being an idealistic Socialist against the Pragmatic Progressive in Hillary Clinton.