So this has been bugging me for a while. I feel like we throw around the term "Progressive" an awful lot these. And, I am starting to wonder if anyone actually knows what it means.
I fear it is becoming (has already become) an empty shell of a word that simply means "Liberal Democrat", which is not at all what it means to be a progressive. In fact, I might even argue that being a "Liberal" or "Far Left" Democrat isn't even a prerequisite for being a progressive but rather, in today's political climate is a RESULT of a being a Progressive.
A progressive believes in a sort of populism that moves away from elitist politics and towards the people. It reflects a spirit of Open Source Democracy (not grassroots, if you say grassroots one more time I am going to smack you). It is about value-based politics based on and BASED IN local communities.
Don't mistake these definitions for being pollyana-ish. They are not. We are just so used to hard boiled politics I think we lose sight of what it is all about. And what it is all about is protecting the values that we hold dear to us. Those include fair treatment in the work place, fair and open food policy, access to government services based on need, taking care of the commons, and I could go on.
What is as important is what Progressivism LOOKS LIKE in practice.
And, I can tell you. If this last round of elections (Tuesday's primary) is any indicator, there is NOTHING Progressive about our current democratic campaign structure. We rely on strategies that are outdated, messaging that ignore values and a top down model of campaigning.
The reason the 50 state strategy was effective is that it provided an opportunity for local voices to be heard For local values to be expressed. If we don't move towards a true Open Source model of democratic campaigning, I do believe we should save our money and energy and concede 2012 today.
Just my two cents.